Our Craft is More Modest
Happily, most readers fall between these two drastic extremes. Most of us neither shun books in veneration of literature, nor shun literature in veneration of books. Our craft is more modest. We pick our way down endless library shelves, choosing this or that volume for no discernible reason: because of a cover, a title, a name, because of something someone said or didn’t say, because of a hunch, a whim, a mistake, because we think we may find in this book a particular tale or character or detail, because we believe it was written for us, because we believe it was written for everyone except us and we want to find out why we were excluded, because we want to learn, or laugh, or lose ourselves in oblivion.
-Anne Fadiman, Rereadings