Musings & Meditations

Reading is Not for Everyone

Posted in Books, Reading by Pam Keesey on January 25, 2008

In its silence, a book is a challenge: it can’t lull you with surging music or deafen you with screeching laugh tracks or fire gunshots in your living room; you have to listen to it in your head. A book won’t move your eyes for you the way images on a screen do. It won’t move your mind unless you give it your mind, or your heart unless you put your heart in it. It won’t do the work for you. To read a story well is to follow it, to act it, to feel it, to become it — everything short of writing it, in fact. Reading is not “interactive” with a set of rules or options, as games are; reading is actual collaboration with the writer’s mind. No wonder not everybody is up to it.

 — Ursula K. Le Guin
“Staying Awake: Notes on the Alleged Decline of Reading”
Harper’s Magazine, February 2008

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