I’ve seen this quotation in several places lately. It’s from Sven Birkerts’ ‘The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age’:
“To read, when one does so of one’s own free will, is to make a volitional statement, to cast a vote; it is to posit an elsewhere and set off toward it. And like any traveling, reading is at once a movement and a comment of sorts about the place one has left. To open a book voluntarily is at some level to remark the insufficiency either of one’s life or one’s orientation toward it.”
To what extent does this describe you?
I’ve never really thought of reading as a conscious rejection of reality, and I don’t think that describes my reading at all.
As a fantasy and science fiction fan, I love invented and strange worlds, but I find it very comforting to be able to look up from a particularly terrifying passage and realize I am safe and warm at home. As someone who likes to read historical fiction, I love to see how they lived, but I wouldn’t want to be a woman living in particular time periods. I read to read a good story, not to escape.
But, I suppose, this may be because I’m also a student actress, and acting can be seen as the ultimate form of escapism–there are some evenings where I’m not Clare at all, but Norma or Maggie or Harleen.