- Fizzy Thoughts: What is reading?

What is reading?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

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.

I don’t consider myself a reading snob. This kinda ties into my loathing for history snobs, which I sort of talk about here (I swear I've ranted about it elsewhere, but I can't find the post...basically, I took one grad class in history, and spent most of my time pissed off about the ivory tower, fiction and comic books aren't worthy of being read for history, attitude). If comics, or manga, or newspapers, or heck, cereal boxes, inspire someone to read, then I’m all for it. The only thing that I don’t consider to be part of this group is audio books, because I don’t equate listening to a story as reading. But I will confess that I’ve never listened to an audio book, because, well, I know my limitations. I’m a visual learner, not an auditory learner, and I just can’t concentrate well enough. It’s like music…I love listening to it, but ask me to sing along? Hah! That would mean I’d actually paid attention to the lyrics at some point. Besides, trust me, you don’t want to hear me sing.

Anyways, I’m off topic, as usual. Basically, if it involves words and eyeballs, then it’s reading. I think that with all of the variety out there, combined with the short attention span problem most people seem to suffer from these days (me included, unless I’m lost in a good book), you need to be creative to engage people in reading. But for me personally, I’ll be sticking with novels. Of course, if they throw a picture or illustration in there occasionally (like Apples are from Kazakhstan and Special Topics in Calamity Physics) that makes it even better.

And I don’t even want to get into the whole genre issue…be it lit-er-rah-chure, sci-fi, mystery, romance, whatever…it’s all good.

4 comment(s):

M said...

I agree, it is all good. Everyone of us who loves to read started out reading something which is not officially a book!

Tami said...

Ditto above, and we all need to practice to read!

John's comments said...

Interesting reflections. I reflected on definitions to try and tackle the topic and lets read anything we enjoy

Charli and me said...

I agree with you. Anything that gets someone reading is great! I enjoyed reading your post.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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