What is Reading, Fundamentally?

btt button

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 ‘œreading’ ‘” 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’¦)

To me these are all forms of reading, even audiobooks where the words come into your head through the ears rather than the eyes, as I hear the words in my head when I read with my eyes. I also picture the images the words evoke, so pictorial images such as comics, graphic novels and manga are all reading too. The difficulty in this line of thought is that I don’t count watching films and TV  as “reading”. Watching is a passive activity, whereas reading is active and involves using your imagination and working out your own interpretation.

Audiobooks are good because you can listen whilst doing something like ironing (watching TV and ironing is a bit tricky, although I do that too), using the exercise bike, which I find immensely boring, and listening in the car. They must be a godsend if you’re blind (going blind is one of my worst nightmares).

I used to enjoy reading comics as a child as much as reading books. I haven’t actually read a graphic novel, but going off other people’s recommendations they seem to be worth trying at least. The format doesn’t stop me from reading them – I just haven’t picked one up to look at it as there are so many other books that I want to read. I don’t often buy a newspaper but I read on-line and I only read magazines now and then, apart from the Radio Times which I read every week. I used to read lots of magazines but the number of adverts made me think they weren’t worth buying and as they cost as much as a book, I prefer to buy a book.

I prefer reading physical books to reading e-books, partly because it’s less tiring on the eyes, but also because I enjoy the physical sensations of reading a book – the weight, the feel of the paper, its smell, its actual presence and ease of use. This may be because I’ve enjoyed reading books from an early age, and I’m used to it. Although I hope I would cope if e-books were the only form of books available, I would be very upset if physical books ceased to be published. I think reading newspapers on-line is not the same as the articles are shorter and I can cope with that. So it follows from this that the format doesn’t stop me from reading but it may lessen my enjoyment .

15 thoughts on “What is Reading, Fundamentally?”

  1. I so agree with you, Margaret! I too find it straining reading e-books, and moreover it is not as convenient as reading a physical book where we can just pick it up anytime. I haven’t try reading audiobooks though, and I don’t think I’ll make this a habit since I still find physical books the best amongst all. 🙂

    Like

  2. I do agree that the format doesn’t matter most of the time. Still, physical books would always be my preference. I’d read a pamphlet if it’s interesting ahaha.

    Like

  3. “I prefer reading physical books to reading e-books, partly because it’s less tiring on the eyes, but also because I enjoy the physical sensations of reading a book – the weight, the feel of the paper, its smell, its actual presence and ease of use.” Beautifully said. I am the same way.

    Like

  4. I haven’t tried an e-book so I’m not really in a position to say, but I can’t imagine getting any pleasure from looking at a screen for hours on end, whereas the physical pleasure of being in contact with paper and ink is endless.

    Like

  5. I too prefer physical books, but I’ll settle for an ebook when I’m really desperate to get something good to read. That happens a lot because the library here is not very good.

    I’m not sure about calling comics and graphic books as reading because they convey a lot through images and not exactly through words.

    Like

  6. “If physical books ceased to be published” – what a horrible thought! I’d be devastated! I think if that happened, I’d just have to start manufacturing my own books like the ones I put together as a child.

    Like

  7. I love the physical feel and the smell of a book…so E-books do not enchant me. I guess I am liberal about what is reading only because I don’t like to judge other folks.

    Like

  8. Well said! Although I can’t get behind the idea of audiobooks as reading…but that’s just me, because I zone out whenever I try to listen to anything.

    Like

  9. reading means reading…my answer is different. the act of reading, there is no mystery. If it has symbols, and you are looking at it to gain knowledge, it is reading….even if it is a cereal box, or hieroglyphics.

    Like

  10. I like you love the physical feel of a book. I also like to be comfortable when I read and that is difficult sitting at a computer or driving etc while trying to read or listen to a book. Nice post.

    Like

  11. I agree wholeheartedly about the tactile nature of reading a “real” book as opposed to an ebook or audio book. I love the smell and feel of pages, and sometimes part of the enjoyment of a story can actually be found in reading a particular edition, with its own unique smell, page stock and texture of the cover. My overall experience of a book will be linked to those things as well.
    I like audio books because they mean you can absorb a story while doing something else (for me it’s driving). But there in also lies the drawback – it’s hard to give your full attention.

    Like

  12. I don’t know which would be worse going blind or deaf. I so, so love audio books, but the companies don’t offer all the ones I want to read. I don’t mind reading on the computer. Along with blogs, I have read some short stories, and really enjoyed them. I think it helps if you have a beautiful monitor. :<)

    Like

Comments are closed.