Thursday, May 29, 2008

BTT: What Is Reading Fundamentally?

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Suggested by: Thisisnotabookclub

What is reading, anyway? Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks — which of these is reading these days? Are they all reading? Only some of them? What are your personal qualifications for something to be “reading” — why? If something isn’t reading, why not? Does it matter? Does it impact your desire to sample a source if you find out a premise you liked the sound of is in a format you don’t consider to be reading? Share your personal definition of reading, and how you came to have that stance.

I'm a flexible person in theory when it comes to defining reading. Reading technically speaking can be "reading" anything from newspapers, emails, instant messages, lists, blogs, etc.--to the more traditional types of reading--fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audio books. I'm not one of those that say that audio books aren't real books. Let's say I read 300 books a year. (I probably read more...but let's just say that's what I read.) I may use audio books for about five or six of those three hundred. It seems like a minuscule amount in comparison. But I'm not one to judge them as *unworthy* of being books. Some people prefer them because it's more convenient. It gives them something to do while commuting to and from work. It gives them something to do while walking/jogging or getting exercise. iPods and other mp3 players make audio books more convenient than ever. Some people choose audio books because they *need* to, the same way people *need* large print books. I make a point of allowing audio books in all my challenges because I feel it is unfair to exclude them. They are a truly viable option when it comes to reading. Similarly, graphic novels aren't something I read much of. But I do think they are books and they do qualify as books. I also think wordless picture books qualify as reading. Illustrations aren't less important, less valuable than words. You still have to interpret or "read" meaning into it. You still have to piece it together into a cohesive whole.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 comments:

Sarah Miller 5:56 PM  

Pretty much all of the above. Reading is reading, whether you do it with your eyes, your ears, or your fingertips.

Reading is fiction and non-fiction; it's books, ebooks, audiobooks, newspapers, magazines, and articles online.

I'd quibble with you over email and instant messages, though -- to me that falls under the heading of "communication" rather than reading. (Just call me your friendly local hair-splitter.)

John's comments 1:08 AM  

Interesting reflections on the act of reading, I also tended to reflect on what is reading in my post

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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