BTT: What is Reading?

Booking Through Thursday. (Suggested by Thisisnotabookclub.)

What is reading, anyway? Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audio books — 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.

Novels and ebooks are the formats that qualify as reading as far as I'm concerned. In case of comics, graphic novels and manga, I feel that the images play a greater part in the storytelling than the words themselves. Audio books certainly do not fall into the category of "reading" material. I mean, how can listening and reading be the same thing?

Novels, of course are the most important form of reading for me. And also the most comfortable. I guess nothing beats the feeling of holding a book in your hands.

A lot of people might disagree with me about classifying ebooks as reading. Staring at the computer screen for hours isn't nearly as good as curling up with a novel. But living in a place with a not-very-good library and not even one bookstore that sells novels means that I do sometimes have to resort to this format. If it hadn't been for Project Gutenberg, I'd never have been able to read so many books by H Rider Haggard or Jules Verne. Most of the classic books in the library look like they were bought at the time when the books were written. (I even came across a 75 year old copy of an H G Wells book once.) I'm much better off sitting in front of the monitor than trying to make sure the book I'm reading doesn't fall into pieces.

I might sound a bit opinionated here, shrugging off graphic novels, audio books and comics as not being reading material. No offence to people who love these formats. I've never read a graphic novel or listened to an audio book and I haven't read comics for some years now. Maybe I'll change my opinion once I've had an opportunity to sample these formats, but for now I won't say I've "read" a book if I've only "listened" to it.

I can't really give a proper definition for reading, but the most important conditions for something to qualify as reading is that it should use words to convey information and that the person "reading" it should be well... reading.

By my definition, then, a lot more things could be added to the list. Magazines, newspaper, Google Reader, blogs. I feel all these can be called reading too. What about you? Would you call this reading? What's your definition of reading?


pussreboots said...

Audio books are listening, not reading. Happy BTT.

Jaimie said...

We don't have a very good library either and it never seems to be open. I haven't had much luck with e-books, I think I just need to get used to the format.

John's comments said...

Interesting reflections, I came to diffrent conclusions as I started from different definitions of reading

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