This weeks topic: Why You Read
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 have to admit that when I first read this quote this morning I was really insulted. In fact, I didn't think I was going to reply this week because I was so annoyed. I read because it is, quite simply, something that I love to do. I love all differnet genres and find something redeeming in each. I read fiction and nonfiction. I like to read about places other than where I live and cultures differnet from my own.
There are also times I read to escape. And thinking about this fact alone is what made me decide to reply today. When I was a child I read to escape an often abusive environment - definitely 'an insuffiecient life' at times. I read and thought about the possibility of my future. Now, my life is quite a bit like what I wanted when I was young - in terms of the family I've created with my husband and children. There are days though, that are just so stressful, that I do want to escape into the pages of a great book at the end of it. I love my life though, and I'm not trying to escape it any longer; but rather relax into it.
Reading is a pleasure and a privilege that I find ultimately satisfying.