BTT 2/25 Reading Books=Insufficient Life??

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This week's question, suggested by Janet, asks:

"I’ve seen this quotation in several places lately. It’s from Sven Birkerts’ ‘The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age’:

'To read, when one does so of one’s own free will, is to make a volitional statement, to cast a vote; it is to posit an elsewhere and set off toward it. And like any traveling, reading is at once a movement and a comment of sorts about the place one has left. To open a book voluntarily is at some level to remark the insufficiency either of one’s life or one’s orientation toward it.'
To what extent does this describe you?"

Interesting question, Janet! My life has been happy and fufilling, so far. Though, like everyone, I have ups and downs-- "life" must go on! I agree with the "movement" aspect -- an mind and soul journey -- of Birkerts' quote concerning but totally disagree with the "insufficiencystatement.

Reading is a passionate part of my life--celebrating learning, imagination, understanding other cultures and ideas, the incredible art of writing (which I don't have) and, of course, fun and escape! I work in the book biz --translating my fascination of books and reading to my career. Got to love that!

The reading "motion' or journey gives me a chance to find out that everyone has an incredible story. Learn it and be amazed! If I can hear, imagine, believe, understand someone else's story, my life is enriched. No insufficiency, here!

Do you agree with Sven Birkerts’ idea? What does it say about reading groups and book clubs? 

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To read is a free choice

To read is a free choice taking years to develop with hits and not-so-great misses over time. Unless it's required reading, assigned for a class or chosen by a book group, you do always have a choice to make if you want to participate in reading and sharing books. I agree that books have the power to move you. They broaden your reach into those areas both close and far away. The experiences of having a book available to read when waiting has nothing else to compare other than a good conversation or a pleasant view.

I agree with you that reading

I agree with you that reading is a passionate part of my life too but that plays no part in making my life insufficient or not!

It's really awesome when you

It's really awesome when you can taking something you love, books/reading, and turn it into something you can do for a living and be surrounded by every day.

I really like your blog, definitely going to go take a look around now :)


I dont agree with the entire quote either, reading is a passionate part of my life as well!
Thats a great point you bring up about reading groups and book clubs. Through these groups, we find and share our passion for books with others. Its a wonderful thing.

What a ridiculous statement

I don't get where this author was going. I think it's all high-faluten' nonsense.

Here is mine


I had to read the quote twice to make sure I understood it correctly. I agree with Bluestocking, it was a ridiculous quote!