Thursday, May 29, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: What Is Reading, Fundamentally?

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Today's Booking Through Thursday asks:

What is reading, anyway? Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks — which of these is reading these days? Are they all reading? Only some of them? What are your personal qualifications for something to be “reading” — why? If something isn’t reading, why not? Does it matter? Does it impact your desire to sample a source if you find out a premise you liked the sound of is in a format you don’t consider to be reading? Share your personal definition of reading, and how you came to have that stance.

Do you have something to say about this? You can post on your own blog and leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments at Booking Through Thursday—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Cereal boxes, classified ads, the bathroom walls, War and Peace: yes, it's all reading. Whatever the format, yes, it's reading. But I do have my preferences. First of all, there must be something to read. If I must sit in one place for more than a couple of minutes and there is no one next to me with whom to converse, I must have reading material. I prefer to have something of substance, but I'll read newspaper ads if that's all that is available. I'll even pick up a scrap of paper on the floor of the van to read if I don't have a magazine stashed away.

The format is important. I prefer traditional print text, hard copy. I haven't yet been able to read entire books online, and I print out short-stories and often e-books. The whole kindle thing excites me not in the least. I think this might be a relationship thing for me: I like the relationship between book-in-hand and eyes. Could be related to my terrible vision. Along the same lines, I appreciate audiobooks and do consider this as "reading," but all has to be right in order for me to fully appreciate one. For example, a couple of years ago, I drove the 14-hour trip to New York with my 3 kids. The younger two sat in the back and watched DVDs much of the time, but my teenager and I listened to The Jungle the whole way there and nearly the whole way home. There were no distractions, no extraneous noises. But I couldn't just listen to an audiobook on our daily drives about town; I need that long stretch of highway.

I'm not into comics, manga, etc. Never have been. I'm way too much of a word lover, big blocks-of-text lover. But I certainly consider in reading. Just not for me.


BooksPlease said...

I have to have something to read as well, although I don't like newspaper ads. I find that if I'm listening to an audiobook when driving I have to switch it off when I don't know the route or I can't concentrate on driving and listening at the same time.

Chrisbookarama said...

I love all these diverse answers.

Anonymous said...

I felt the same way about Kindle until I saw and used it. Now I can't live without it.

I still read paper books too. Don't you get depressed when you get down to the last pages? I have to have a back close by.