Monday, December 5, 2011

What is reading (all) about for you?

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"Isn't reading all about learning about OTHER people?"
- Helene November 16, 2011 6:01 AM at Andrew Smith's blog

This quote intrigued me.

I do love to read for the chance to learn about The Other and see things not as much from my own point of view.  When I read a couple of Suzanne Fisher Staples's books about a girl and young woman in Pakistan, I was stunned and amazed at all the things I had never even thought about considering before.  Books are about the only place where I can sort of get out of my own head and try to wrap it around the stories and ideas of others.

I disagree with this quote.

(I tell my students that absolute words like "all" are warnings.)  I think I've learned more about me in books than I have anywhere else.  Maybe some books have shaped me, but I feel like more often than not I've met pieces of myself in many books.  (Oh, that's not a portrait on the wall; it's a mirror.)  Identifying with someone in the book is not an absolute requirement for me to enjoy the book; I'm not a Method reader.  It's just that I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy because they come at reality and humanity from a slant, and sometimes that makes insights easier to see and handle, and sometimes those insights are about real, human me.

What do you think?

If this were a continuum, would you skew more towards the "others" end or the "me" end?  Or do you whipsaw between them?  Skate calmly up and down the line?
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3 comments:

  1. Hrrmmm... it depends on the book? I'm a bit of an omnivore this way, I take whatever comes at me, and sometimes I learn something about myself, sometimes about others.

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  2. I'm very much a "me" reader. I mean, I enjoy reading about others and their experiences and perspectives and learning from their words, but I like it best when what I'm reading helps me to clarify how I feel about something.

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  3. Those convicting aha! moments can be kind of a rush. :)

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