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We Read

November 12, 2011


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We know that we are reading even while suspending disbelief; we know why we read even when we don’t know how, holding in our mind at the same time, as it were, the illusionary text and the act of reading. We read to find the end, for the story’s sake. We read not to reach it, for the sake of the reading itself. We read searchingly, like trackers, oblivious of our surroundings. We read distractedly, skipping pages. We read contemptuously, admiringly, negligently, angrily, passionalte, enviously, longingly. We read in gusts of sudden pleasure, without knowing what brought the pleasure along….We read in slow, long motions, as if drifting in space, weightless. We read full of prejudice, malignantly. We read generously, making excuses for the text, filling gaps, mending faults. Amd sometimes, when the stars are kind, we read with an intake of breath, with a shudder, as if someone or something had “walked over our grave”, as if a memory had suddenly been rescued from a place deep within us-the recognition os something we never knew was there, or of something we vaguely felt as a flicker or a shadow, whose ghostly form rises and passes back into us before we can see what it is, leaving us older and wiser.

-Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2011 8:36 am

    Ah, the genius of Manguel! There really is nothing to add to what he says in the passage you quoted.

    Have a great weekend, Eva!

  2. November 12, 2011 10:00 am

    Thanks for reminding me about this book! It has been on my to-be-read for a while now.

  3. November 12, 2011 10:28 am

    Love it all. The image especially. Posting on my Tumblr now.

  4. November 12, 2011 10:29 am

    Manguel always says it perfectly, doesn’t he?

  5. November 12, 2011 11:38 am

    This quote is perfect!

  6. November 12, 2011 10:57 pm

    Inspiring, enjoyed this post. For some reason I like to see art and photos of people reading.

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