Thursday, February 25, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Why You Read

Booking Through Thursday's question suggested by Janet:

I’ve seen this quotation in several places lately. It’s from Sven Birkerts’ ‘The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age’:

“To read, when one does so of one’s own free will, is to make a volitional statement, to cast a vote; it is to posit an elsewhere and set off toward it. And like any traveling, reading is at once a movement and a comment of sorts about the place one has left. To open a book voluntarily is at some level to remark the insufficiency either of one’s life or one’s orientation toward it.”

To what extent does this describe you?

If I'm understanding this quote right, it is saying that people read because they don't like their own life. Right? Well, I think we pretty much ALL say that part of the fun of reading is to escape. But does that necessarily mean we don't like our lives? I don't think so. So I'm not liking this quote so much. When I open a book, it isn't to say "life sucks!" (Some days, maybe, but most days, not.)

It IS to say, I enjoy stories. I enjoy words. I enjoy learning about different countries, cultures, and settings. I enjoy character relationships. I enjoy the amazing ability authors have to create new worlds and new situations. I enjoy talking and discussing book reactions with others. I enjoy bonding with books and their stories and their characters.

So to answer the question, this quote may describe me on those bad days when I truly want to run away from life, but for the most part, it misses the mark on why I REALLY read.


  1. that quote has a lot of people thinking and discussing. That's what books do!

    here's mine (short and sweet)

  2. I agree with you completely! Yes books are to escape but in so doing, it is not because our lives suck, it is to enrich them further!

  3. Hello Suey.. I have an award for you.Hope you like it..

  4. That quote made me a little uncomfortable because there is a bit of truth to it in my case, but as with most of us, that's not the whole uh, story.

  5. I was talking to someone the other day about books and she mentioned that she really liked Shannon Hale. I asked her how she liked The Actor and the Housewife (I ask a lot of people what they think of that one because the opinions on it seem to be very polarized) and she said she didn't really like it. Her explanation was that she knows what life is like as a Mormon housewife so she doesn't like to read about them. I found that pretty interesting. I'm sure she wasn't saying that her life sucks but she is doesn't want to read anything that reminds her of her own life.

  6. I wasn't too impressed with this quote, either.
    and if I can react to Kim's comment - I don't especially like book that have protagonists that are female and my age and are anything I might 'relate' to, either. interesting.



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