Posts Tagged: reading
Writers sometimes forget the importance of reading. Just about everyone who writes started out as a voracious reader, but working on the craft of writing ends up displacing time previously spent reading. Over at Dead Darlings, Kelly Robertson takes a look at the importance of continuing to read:
It is only by reading a lot can we really interpret what we learned in all of our classes.
More banally we may stand at the luggage collection carousel watching endless bags tumble onto the belt. We hold in our minds a shadowy idea of our own bag. Then suddenly it is there and the effort of “visualizing” ceases. Perhaps we realize that the bag is not quite as we remembered it.
There are many distractions in the modern world like television and listicles. As a result, people aren’t reading in the same way they did a half century ago, opines Oliver Burkeman at the Guardian. All is not lost. Aside from carrying a book around all the time, Burkeman suggests turning reading into a ritual:
…such ritualistic behaviour helps us “step outside time’s flow” into “soul time”.
Often I wouldn’t be able to keep up, like with Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, but it made it feel like a whole new world of books had been opened up to me, dangerous and menacing and completely appealing to my teenage self.
Photographer Lawrence Schwartzwald finds people reading just about everywhere. He’s been going around New York City, snapping pictures of people reading books in unlikely places. Slate caught up with Scwartzwald, who explains his fascination with people and their books:
You just get a visceral reaction, like writing a great story or reading one for that matter, there’s an emotional, psychological component to it that you sense and occasionally you’re able to capture it because sometimes you may have literally one frame to get it off and you either get it or you don’t.
Reading a book is wholly antithetical to the purpose of a bar. The purpose of a bar is to socialize, be it with friends, lovers, potential lovers or complete strangers.
Sean Manning is endorsing quite an unpopular position over at The Huffington Post: as romantic as it sounds, bars are good for writing, but not for reading....more
But if a novel starts well and descends into trash, then it seems to me that it’s worth continuing to see if it gets better, or to see where the writer went wrong. And if it was bad from page one, then the whole “should I drop it?” issue is secondary.
New data shows that when the movie version of a book comes out, kids actually go read the book. The book versions of The Hunger Games, The Lorax, and The Giver all gained new readers around the releases of their movie adaptations....more
Are we right to be nostalgic for a time before the internet when we could just read? Katy Waldman, writing for Slate, wonders if we might be misremembering things.
I also realize, typing this confession of pathological distractibility, that I may be pining for an Eden of immersive focus that never existed.
Literary criticism suffers from elitism, claims Elisabeth Donnelly over at Flavorwire, and the solution is introducing a poptimism revolution. The term poptimism originated in the music world as a reaction to stodgy music reviewers’ love of Bob Dylan and “argues for a more inclusive view of what matters and what’s pleasurable in music.” Donnelly insists that book reviewers and literary culture could stand to benefit from a wider audience by embracing popular books....more
Writer Michael Harris discusses digital distraction and reading War and Peace at Salon:
But there’s a religious certainty required in order to devote yourself to one thing while cutting off the rest of the world. We don’t know that the inbox is emergency-free, we don’t know that the work we’re doing is the work we ought to be doing.
When she first began so long ago, long before she knew how many days every day could be, she’d worried. Had she chosen the right story? Would it retain its power over time? Would she be able to read it again and again, once a day every day?
As the number of Americans who read books has declined, those who do read have begun wearing t-shirts, carrying tote bags, and sticking magnets on their fridges declaring their love of reading. Some book lovers even perform “book stunts,” reading through the encyclopedia or the dictionary over the course of a year....more
Why is offering book recommendations so hard? People solicit book recommendations from their well-read friends all the time, but too often we’re left seemingly stumped to provide them with the best book possible. Swapna Krishna over at BookRiot points out its not because we don’t know about good books, but the opposite:
The fact is that there are just too many good books out there, and I want to recommend all of them to the person at a party who asked a question they thought was innocuous.
Inspiration comes from many sources, including the books we read. As we internalize other authors’s work, they inevitably influence our writing (often without us ever knowing). The novelist Kim Triedman explores the relationship writers have to the books they read at Beyond the Margins:
As writers, we read and are enriched, see possibilities for language – syntax and rhythm, repetition and rhyme and enjambment – where before there were none.
Is it possible to read War and Peace on an iPhone? In the Pacific Standard, Casey Cepp considers whether apps can actually help us become better, more thoughtful readers:
This literary diet will not be for everyone. But the emancipation of digital reading habits, like those of the printed book before them, allows us to choose the way we read.
Up on your wall behind your office desk is a small sheet of paper, gold-leaf embossed, an emblem in the bottom right hand corner—it reads: The University of Something-or-Rather in authoritative print. But is the paper just filling space? You miss the seminars, the depth, the charged discussions…
Have a look at this article from the Huffington Post for some information on how to have a successful book club....more
Reading is a private activity, even as it allows us to commune with the mind and imagination of an author we will probably never meet. Yet because reading a great book can be so overwhelmingly gratifying and transformative, many of us yearn to share the experience with the people we care about.
In her deeply personal essay on The Millions, Allison K. Gibson explains some of the intense literary cravings she experienced during her pregnancy. Some of them were unexpected, even violent, but all were led entirely by intuition.
“Now I had a voracious appetite to consume certain books I’d read long ago, revisiting passages that had always been especially moving.
According to a recent Pew poll, 23 percent of Americans didn’t read even a single book last year.
That number has been rising steadily, from 8 percent in 1978, to 16 percent in 1990, to the current figure.
The Atlantic‘s Jordan Weissman says “the downturn might be over”—but the prognosis isn’t looking great....more
The folks over at BOOKish have a wonderful idea: add reading to your list of New Year’s resolutions. They have helpful hints for how you can accomplish this:
“Read a new author
It’s so difficult to determine which authors are “new” to which readers, so we’re recommending reads by a slew of recent fantastic debut authors.