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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Do You Like to Read?

Here is a question posed by another blogger. I find myself uninterested in many forms of reading. I prefer reading for a few minutes and then writing, or thinking, or ruminating on what I have read. Of course, I have read and enjoyed it in the past. Every year I would re-read LOTR or Catch-22, or The Cave by Robert Penn Warren. Most literature professors were kids who loved to read, and I was also that kid, but at a certain point I lost my taste for the kind of reading in which I was "lost in the book." I needed the stimulus of another language, preferably one I don't know completely, or of a text that is ostensibly dull, like a novel by Henry Green.

I am often not crazy about being subject to an author's control. I like reading every other page, or starting on page 100. I like some of the techniques described in Ron Padgett's book Creative Reading. I'd love to teach a course on that.

I still say that having read more than anyone else is a good way of beating out the competition. I know I've read things few other people have. What I'm saying is that I don't have the pure pleasure of immersion. And of course, reading scholarship in my own field is often tortuous.

6 comments:

Andrew Shields said...

Most literature professors got into what they are doing because they started out with a love of reading. And by the time they become professors, most of what they read is student writing ... (I believe it was Jonathan Culler that I'm stealing the idea from).

profacero said...

I am perverse in that while I do not tend to read literature for pleasure, I read literary history and criticism the way some read novels.

Clarissa said...

I don't watch television or listen to music, so reading is my only entertainment. :-)

Thomas said...

"To read and be conscious of the act of reading is for some men (the writer among them) to suffer. I loathe the operation. My eyes are geared for the horizon. Nevertheless I do read for days on end when I have caught the scent of the trail. And I, like any other tired business man, read also when I am 'sunk', when I am too exhausted to use my mind to any good purpose or derive any exhilaration or pleasure from using it." (Ezra Pound)

profacero said...

Great quotation and I see there is more in that book that would be fun to revisit. Recreational research instead of recreational reading? I think I'd check that box.

Thomas said...

Yes, I can definitely recommend it. It's kooky at times but also, like you say, fun.