Booking Through Thursday: What is Reading, Fundamentally?
Suggested by Thisisnotabookclub: What is reading, anyway?
After finishing Proust and the Squid, which is all about the neuroscience of reading (review coming possibly later this week!), I would have to say that reading is the interpretation of visual symbols–that is, words–and gleaning some sort of meaning from them.
Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks — which of these is reading these days?
If the definition above is to be taken at face value, then everything except for audiobooks would be considered reading.
Are they all reading? Only some of them?
Definitely not audiobooks. That’s listening. Your eyes aren’t doing anything.
What are your personal qualifications for something to be “reading” — why?
“Reading” means interpreting words, visually. This includes reading road signs like “Next Exit” or “Springfield 20 miles.”
If something isn’t reading, why not? Does it matter?
The iffy ground here, I think, is that of graphic media like comics etc. where words are juxtaposed with pictures. If you are reading the words in such media, then yes, you are indeed reading. But if you are only looking at the pictures, then that is not reading. For example: reading to kids. The adult who is reading the book out loud is the person who is reading because the adult is the one interpreting the words. The child is the one listening, not reading. I would only consider the kid reading if he/she was also looking and interpreting the words printed on the page.
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?
If something only exists as an audiobook, I might listen to it. I’m not too big on audiobooks, though, because oftentimes, the narrator can either make or break it regardless of how well the prose is actually written. I would not subject myself to a voice I can’t stand.
Share your personal definition of reading, and how you came to have that stance.
I think I pretty much outlined my definition above. Reading is the visual interpretation of words. How I came to that stance–probably because I’ve always associated reading with books.
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The Thursday Threesome: Life Goes Faster Than You Think
Onesome: Life Goes Faster– than you want it to sometimes. Is anything moving just a little too fast for you lately?
Yes. Everything is going too fast. Too much to do. Lots of deadlines.
Twosome: (Faster) Than You– can pull a search? …anyone know where the subject and title for this week’s T-3 came from off the top of their head? No? It’s worth a quick search…
Er, Google says it comes from the lyrics of a Kenny Chesney song called “Don’t Blink.”*
Threesome: Think– ing about Summer? Time at the beach? Vacation plans? …or not: has the fuel price thing put a hold on some plans? …or are you thinking of alternate forms of travel for Summer fun?
I’m traveling next week, but not for fun, exactly. It’s more like professional development. As for later this month, I am going somewhere more vacation-related. Where precisely? I’ll blog about that later. Meanwhile, you can guess.
*These questions involving song lyrics are not very interesting because they are always out of my expertise. And it’s especially not interesting if it involves Google. Any idiot can Google.
You are right…any idiot can Google. I like to Google. Does that make me an idiot?
I’m not saying that people who use Google are idiots. My point is that Google is easy. If people are going to put forth questions for memes, they should at least involve some thought.
What about blind people and Braille? Isn’t that reading?
I suppose it is, although this is where the line dividing “reading” and other types of communication get sort of fuzzy. Because if Braille is mediated through touch, some people might start arguing that language through the other senses (such as hearing via audiobooks) and sign language might constitute reading too.
Interesting firm reflections! I came to diffrent conclusions as I started from trying to understand definitions of reading