Why You Read

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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?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

55 responses

  1. Oh, fun! I can’t wait to read everyone’s!

  2. http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/btt-why-you-read/

    LOL. That’s the kind of quote that makes my brain hurt this early in the morning! LOL. 😛


  3. WOW – the more I thought about this quote, the opinionated I became. I hope my passionate response makes at least some sense 🙂

  4. I had to think about this one a lot, and I’m still processing it, but here are my thoughts so far:


  5. Wow – good, thought provoking question!

    Here’s my answer:

  6. To me, reading fiction is not just about escaping, but about expanding my horizons. Some time ago, I wrote about 7 reasons why everyone should read fiction, and 5 of those 7 reasons have to do with personal development. In particular, I read fiction to find patterns in it that will enlighten and expand my own life, which is why I prefer life-expanding fiction over escapist fiction— Don’t get me wrong: I still enjoy Janet Evanovich from time to time, but her work doesn’t move my life like Sheila Williams’s or Holly Lisle’s.


  7. Amen Tim!

    I agree with the statement this week {though it took me a little while to understand what it means}. Here is why I agree with it:


  8. I don’t have a high opinion of this man’s intelligence.

    Here is mine

  9. Wow. What an intriguing quote. Thanks for sharing it, Janet. Here are my rambly thoughts on the subject:


  10. Ok, maybe I’m misinterpreting the quotation but here’s mine:


  11. So philosophical a question! My answer is up. 🙂

  12. A little harder to wrap my head around, but I gave it a shot anyway, lol.


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