Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Booking Through Thursday - Why You Read

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?
I don't travel because I'm searching for something or escaping something. I travel to remind myself that yes, there are other worlds out there - some wonderful and magical, some dark, exotic, dangerous, depressing - but I am thankful for where I come from, and travel separates me from my place so that I can see my home and my life with new, appreciative eyes. I believe that's why I read --  to visit for a while, not for any insufficiency, but for a renewed commitment to the life I'm living.

What do you say?


Jan von Harz said...

I think this describes me quite well. I read voluntarily because I like traveling to other places and meeting characters, whose lives are so very different or similar to my own. I make connections through my reading and send my mind searching through the words and messages that author place within the pages of their books. However, I do not read because of the "insufficiency" of my life, but rather my "orientation" to it. Interesting quote.

Pam said...

After reasding several responses this morning I'm coming to the conclusion that the author was either confused about the word "insufficient" or he had a terribly hard life he thinks others share in. I, too, see enrichment rather than escape in my reading. Ah, nothing like a communal upheaval to get a Thursday morning started!

Lori said...

I agree. It is to travel and escape without ever leaving the house. Cheaper too. :) Here's Mine

Jennifer said...

An excellent answer. My BTT:

Janet said...

It's funny how we all react defensively to "insufficiency" (myself included). But isn't "enrichment" a way of adding to life -- making it more "sufficient"?

I'm not being critical... My answer is very similar to yours!

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Unfortunately I think the quote was taken totally out of context and I read his article to see exactly what he meant. He argues for the act of reading physical books versus electronic media. Reading is more fulfilling and an active process versus the passivity of electronics. Taken the quote in of itself - no reading isn't because of insufficiency. Not reading causes insufficiency in my book.(no pun intended)

My post is up now.

Cathy Ikeda said...

Robin, thanks for looking up the original text. Like Jennifer, I do love the smell and feel of books versus digital media.

Perhaps in reading in digital media, we are too quick to judge without the luxury of pondering by engaging all our senses.

Barbara said...

lots of different ideas. got people thinking -- that's what reading is about!

Here'e my answer.


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