Booking Through Thursday #12 – Reading Fundamentals

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.

(Two weeks late for Reading is Fundamental week, but, well…)

This weeks question comes to us courtesy of This Is Not A Book Club. And I must start by saying that I really like this question because I’ve thought about this and I must also say that my answer is rather fluid because it’s been in flux over the past year or so. I’ve been re-examining my definition of reading over the years, expanding what I would have included in reading and what’s been excluded. Some of the reason for that is due to my participation in this book blog (Bblofia) community. I’m also excited about this question because it should bring about some good discussion.

To simply come up with a definition of reading is difficult and is probably best done by looking at the things we read. This is where the second part of the question comes in, “Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks — which of these is reading these days? Are they all reading? Only some of them?” The quick answer is yes, they are all types of reading but we should expand the list by including encyclopedias, newspapers, textbooks, newspapers, I’m sure I could go on. Anything that places words into sentences that a person reads that combination of words. Our blogs should also be included in that list of what we read, many websites require some type of reading. For many north Americans websites are the only reading many people do these days.

I used to exclude comics and graphic novels from my definition of reading but since I’ve been reading them I’ve come to realize that there is more to this genre than I originally thought.  I find that the combination of illustrations and words bring the stories alive in a way that a typical novel just cannot do.  It’s almost a cross between film and novel I’m glad that I was introduced to this genre because now I cannot get enough of it.  I actually came across a pop-up graphic novel of Moby Dick at the Festival that I’d really like to get sometime.

I’m interested to see what everyone else has to say on the subject.  What is reading for you?

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11 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday #12 – Reading Fundamentals

  1. I know some readers don’t consider comics, graphic novels or manga under reading, but IMHO I think they are still storytelling but just portray in another different way. Now to read something like road signs or a cereal box etc is not reading IMO. 😉

  2. I recently started reading manga and graphic novels and I’m fascinated by them. I don’t always understand them, but I think that is sometimes a generational thing! I love the fact that my reading experiences can expand.

  3. I count all forms of books right from the easiest readers all the way up to…?

    The only thing I count as “not really reading” is magazines, although I usually read every article.

  4. when i crave reading anything will satisfy me, even the back of a match book! i think if a collection of words is written down and others can see it, hear it or feel it (for the blind) then the act of seeing it hearing it and feeling it is reading.

  5. Mary: I agree with you, I didn’t take into consideration the blind and that for some people feeling is required for the act of reading.

    Bybee: I’m curious to find out why you don’t include magazines.

    Chris & Gautami: Manga is very similar to graphic novels. I’ve looked at some but they don’t interest me as much other graphic novels.

    Ann: I read graphic novels but I don’t read traditional comics, such as DC.

    Melody: I would include road signs and cereal boxes in the reading category because it passes on information to the person looking at them.

  6. I like your say–and appreciate your broad definition! I really do agree. I considered audiobooks this week because I just finished listening to a great one. It’s a different experience than reading the physical book, but I still enjoy it!

    I’ve never tried “grapic novel” and I’m not sure I will, but it does sound like a different, interesting experience.

  7. I just read my first graphic novel, Watchmen, and it is certainly a reading experience. I found myself getting absorbed in the words and missing most of the illustrations, and then having to go back and put things back together because, like you said, the combination brings the stories alive.

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