Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Meaning Through Reduction

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Writers reduce when they write, and readers reduce when they read. The brain itself is built to reduce, replace, emblemize . . . Verisimilitude is not only a false idol, but also an unattainable goal. So we reduce. And it is not without reverence that we reduce. This is how we apprehend our world. This is what humans do.

Picturing stories is making reductions. Through reduction, we create meaning.

These reductions are the world as we see it — they are what we see when we read, and they are what we see when we read the world.

— Peter Mendelsund, What We See When We Read, p. 415-416

A Sacred Indulgence

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Give me a great novel or memoir, some tea, and a cozy spot to curl up in, and I’m in heaven. I love to live in another person’s thoughts; I marvel at the bonds I feel with people who come alive on the page, regardless of how different their circumstances might be from mine. I not only feel I know these people, but I also recognize more of myself. Insight, information, knowledge, inspiration, power: All that and more can come through a good book….

Books, for me, used to be a way to escape. I now consider reading a good book a sacred indulgence, a chance to be any place I choose. It is my absolute favorite way to spend time. What I know for sure is that reading opens you up. It exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold. What I love most about reading: It gives you the ability to reach higher ground. And keep climbing.

— Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure, p. 25-26

Road Signs of My Beloved Books

Friday, June 7th, 2013

I know that my life is marked by the road signs of my beloved books, each one symbolizing who I was when I read it, shaping who I have become. The uninitiated might say that I am lost in my books, but I know I am more found than lost.

— Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer, p. 49

Reading Aloud

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Beginners are more likely to choose to do an activity when they are successful at it and when they get pleasure from participation in the activity right from the start. This is why reading aloud is such a winning strategy in the making of readers. The novice reader experiences the pleasure of stories in a risk-free environment where it is impossible to fail or appear incompetent.

— Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie, and Paulette M. Rothbauer, Reading Matters, p. 45

Beneficent Circle

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Pleasure is the spur that motivates beginning readers to spend the thousands and thousands of hours reading that it takes to become a proficient reader. Readers who become proficient are those who enjoy reading and who do it by choice as a voluntary activity in their leisure time. Children who dislike reading and avoid it whenever possible never get the hours of practice that it takes to become a good reader. With each year, the proficiency gap grows between children who enjoy reading and do it voluntarily and those who dislike and avoid reading.

— Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Lynne (E. F.) McKechnie, and Paulette M. Rothbauer, Reading Matters, p. 45

Talking About Books

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

I do need to talk about books. Because talking about books allows me to talk about anything with anyone. With family, friends, and even with strangers who contacted me through my Web site (and became friends), when we discuss what we are reading, what we are really discussing is our own lives, our take on everything from sorrow to fidelity to responsibility, from money to religion, from worrying to inebriation, from sex to laundry, and back again. No topic is taboo, as long as we can tie it in to a book we’ve read, and all responses are allowed, couched in terms of characters and their situations.

— Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, p. 210-211

Time to Read

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

I have never squandered an opportunity to read. There are only twenty-four hours in the day, seven of which are spent sleeping, and in my view at least four of the remaining seventeen must be devoted to reading. Of course, four hours a day does not provide me with nearly enough time to satisfy my appetites. A friend once told me that the real message Bram Stoker sought to convey in Dracula is that a human being needs to live hundreds and hundreds of years to get all his reading done; that Count Dracula was a misunderstood bookworm, was draining blood from the porcelain-like necks of ten thousand hapless virgins not because he was the apotheosis of evil but because it was the only way he could live long enough to polish off his reading list. But I have no way of knowing if this is true, as I have not yet found time in my life to read Dracula.

— Joe Queenan, One for the Books

Knowing the Unknowable

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

I wanted to know the unknowable and my father, the scientist, the professor, could not tell me. My mother could because she read fiction and fantasy. But it was coded so that it appealed to a part of the brain beyond consciousness, so it carried the feeling of being a right answer without any way to articulate it, in the same way that an aroma of gardenias can reach inside you and find its rightful place, its confirmation, and yet remain out of reach of some literal explanation of its effects. The scent of a gardenia is true even if you can’t articulate it. Or, as Edna St. Vincent Millay put it, “It is a thing that exists simply, like a sapphire, like anything roundly beautiful; there is nothing to be done about it.”

— Laurence Gonzales, Surviving Survival, p. 141

We Are Not Alone.

Friday, February 15th, 2013

But books were showing me that everyone suffers, at different times in our lives. And that yes, in fact, there were many people who knew exactly what I was going through. Now, through reading, I found that suffering and finding joy are universal experiences, and that those experiences are the connection between me and the rest of the world. My friends could have told me the same, I know, but with friends there are always barriers, hidden corners, and covered emotions. In books, the characters are made known to me, inside and out, and in knowing them, I know myself, and the real people who populate my world.

— Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, p. 141

Experience on the Page

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Those two books — and all the great books I was reading — were about the complexity and entirety of the human experience. About the things we wish to forget and those we want more and more of. About how we react and how we wish we could react. Books are experience, the words of authors proving the solace of love, the fulfillment of family, the torment of war, and the wisdom of memory. Joy and tears, pleasure and pain: everything came to me while I read in my purple chair. I had never sat so still, and yet experienced so much.

— Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, p. 139