Booking Through Thursday: What is reading, anyway?

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Suggested by: Thisisnotabookclub

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.

(Two weeks late for Reading is Fundamental week, but, well…)

While I believe for the most part that reading is all of the above: novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks, I do believe that reading in its purest form is reading words on paper in a book. I have a friend who even goes so far as to print off news articles he finds online because he likes to feel the paper in his hands. Personally, I don’t need to go that far, but I respect him for that.

In the electronic age, though, I wonder what the future of books on paper are as libraries are putting more and more resources on computer and the advent of Kindle (to which I will not provide a link, because I’m not a corporate shill). On one hand, I guess e-books are “eco-friendly,” but on the other hand, something seems to be lost when you can no longer feel that paper in your hands.

A sidebar: If the ideas that provide the backbones for the books we read (at least, I hope there are some ideas there) are intangible, is it as important that the actual pages on which we read them are tangible? Perhaps, though, it’s that connection to what we feel as real that makes us feel that the books are still grounded in reality? I’m not sure if this makes any sense. If it doesn’t, please ignore my rambling.

Well, I’m off to review a book (an actual paper book) I read, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, which should be up this afternoon or at the latest this evening, if I don’t get sidetracked like I’ve been most of this day.

4 responses to “Booking Through Thursday: What is reading, anyway?

  1. Pingback: Sunday Salon: Reviewing the week and looking ahead to later today « Just A (Reading) Fool

  2. Interesting reflections on the mediums, I tended to reflect on what is reading in my post

  3. Good point. That’s why I said “I guess.” I really don’t know enough about the subject and only was theorizing…thank you for pointing out another consideration that I didn’t even, well, consider.

  4. EBooks may save paper but what about the petroleum and heavy metals that go into making the readers and their batteries? Happy BTT.