Friday Follies 5-30: book through, fill in…

What is Reading, Fundamentally?

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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…)

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!

Good question! For me, it’s better answered by considering the purpose than the format – mostly. Since I find it harder to concentrate on what I’m hearing than on what I’m seeing, I don’t really enjoy being read to for long stretches, so I’ve never really been very interested in audiobooks. (If I were, I still don’t think I’d ever say I “read” an audiobook; I’d be more technically correct and say I “listened to” it. But that’s just me.) I also don’t really count the number of blogs and articles I read online as “proper” reading, nor am I especially interested in e-books. I guess I’m still old-fashioned that way; I consider “real” reading to involve a printed page.

Having said that, this is where “purpose” comes in – it’s a printed page I’m reading for my own enjoyment, regardless of the content. If it’s assigned for work, or intended as preparation for an exam or something like that, then it’s not “reading,” even if I am reading it (if that makes sense!) If it feels like a chore – and whether we like to admit it or not, some reading material is indeed a chore – that takes the enjoyment right out of it, for me.

If I’m reading it out of interest or curiosity, it’s most likely a book – a novel, a memoir, a history – and it probably has more words than pictures. I’ve never gotten into manga or graphic novels, and I really haven’t read comics since junior high. But it could be a newspaper or a magazine; it depends on where I am, what I brought with me, and what else is going on around me at the time. Once we get past the format and purpose questions, then it’s the content on that printed page that determines what “reading” is.

Friday Fill-Ins #74

Questions courtesy of MindFul Mimi who had some thought- provoking ones this week.

1. For me boredom is the opposite of creativity.

2. Intuition, by Allegra Goodman was the last excellent book I read (the highest-rated book I’ve reviewed here so far this year).

3. I like fill-ins because there are no “right” answers!

4. In nature I like looking at green hills in the springtime.

5. The person with the most popular AND electoral votes should win the US elections (you’re not getting a more direct answer than that right now, sorry!)

6. The last time I laughed with all my belly was …well, I can’t remember exactly, but it was probably at one of my husband’s jokes a day or two ago! (He makes me laugh a lot, so I’m not sure any one time really stands out.)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to seeing my stepdaughter perform in her class musical, Bugsy Malone, tomorrow my plans include shopping for groceries and kids’ clothes for our vacation and Sunday, I want to have some reading time, some writing time, and some family time!

One thing I’ve noticed about doing the Page 123 meme weekly is that it’s making me read a little more actively – that is, faster; I can’t use the same book for it two weeks in a row, so if I’m still reading the same book two Fridays in a row, I have to skip the meme!

  1. Pick up the nearest book, and open it to page 123.

  2. Find the fifth sentence, and post the next three sentences.

I’m currently reading The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond. It’s a gripping and thoughtful page-turner concerning one of those topics that makes any parent anxious – a missing child. I’m finding it particularly resonant because the child goes missing while under the watch of her future stepmother, which it seems to me creates an additional source of story drama.

“What do you think she’s after?”
“Hard to tell. Sherburne’s bringing her in for questioning this afternoon.”

A possible break in the case? Or a complication? I’ll find out soon!

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  1. I’m with you on reading. If it is for work, or school, it’s bot the same as reading for pleasure. I can read 200 pages in one sitting of a novel, but I could never read that much of a textbook.

    By the way, Lost was very good. Quite a few things answered, many questions raised. I think you will like it.

  2. I agree with you… reading is the printed page. You make a good case!

    OBTW, I tagged you for a short meme so if you’re interested come by and get it.


  3. Mike – I’ve heard from a few people that Lost had a great season finale. Looking forward to watching it one night early next week when the kids are at their mom’s house (we have them this weekend).

    Kiva – Thanks! I’ve copied the meme from your post and will put my answers up soon.

  4. I don’t care for being read to much, I admit. I do sometimes wish I had an iPod so I could listen to an audio book while exercising instead of trying to juggle the physical book. Maybe someday . . .

    The weather has been more spring like lately, hasn’t it? I enjoy the green hills in the spring too.

    How was the musical? How exciting for your stepdaughter! I used to love being on the stage–or at least being a part of the production. I’m not sure I ever cared for having all those eyes on me.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Florinda. It’s after midnight now and I am definitely ready to turn in for the night.

  5. I’m with you on audiobooks. I’ve never really felt very interested in them, and would consider them ‘listening’ not ‘reading’. But for me, whether for pleasure or not (and almost all of my reading is for pleasure), reading is reading if it’s text on a page.

    For the fill-ins I love your answer to #3.
    I may borrow the 123 meme with next week’s fill-ins, if that’s ok.

  6. Literary Feline – Sadly, those hills are already turning pretty brown around here – I guess it’s the same out where you are?

    I LOVE my iPod, but haven’t tried audiobooks on it.

    The musical was…an 8th-grade musical. My stepdaughter was one of the chorus girls – I loved their costumes (purple sequined flapper dresses with matching hats). Some of the kids didn’t know their lines quite well enough, and some didn’t have great singing voices, but it was fun and the kids in it seemed to have a great time.

    Tanabata – Help yourself to the 123 Meme! I’ll look forward to checking out what you’re reading next week.

  7. re: fill-ins #6 – one of the reasons i married my husband is that he made me laugh. being a pretty serious person, that was such a wonderful thing!

    i’ll be interested in seeing how you like The Year of Fog once you’ve finished. i saw it at the library last year but didn’t have time to read it.

    have a great weekend!

  8. Alisonwonderland – Humor is definitely one of the hallmarks of my relationship with my husband. I like that I make him laugh too…and most of the time we make each other laugh, it’s on purpose :-D!

    I’ll have a review up soon, but the book is very good so far.