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Monday, January 10, 2011

Reading in the New Year

picture credit
I've been thinking a lot about reading lately.  Why is literature important?  Why do we read it?  In the face of all these new media for getting information, why do we read at all?  Can literacy change the world?

As a continuation of September's DIY MFA project, I would like to dedicate Mondays to all things reading-related.  Some things I'd like to talk about is the purpose that fiction and literature serve in our society.  I also want to discuss the close relationship between reading and writing and why you can't do one without engaging in the other on some level.  Most importantly, I want to look at how we can learn to think beyond the page.

Story-telling--which is basically reading and writing at the purest level--is a unifying part of the human condition. Think about it, despite cultural or racial differences, people all over the world have engaged in story-telling for the past thousands of years.  That we know of, no other species on the planet engages in story-telling the way people do.  Sure, birds might communicate by flashing their feathers and whales might call to each other.  Chimpanzees might even learn basic sign language, but none of this is the same as story-telling, which humans have been doing since cavemen painted on walls.

I know.  Heavy stuff, right?  Before I sign-off for the day, I'll leave you with the following:
 Writing is the ultimate form of manipulation.  Reading is the supreme act of defiance.
Agree or disagree?

8 comments:

salarsenッ said...

So that quote is making me think. I'm glad you're devoting time to this subject. Personally, I think reading and writing is a form of therapy for our society. It gives us an open view of ourselves and others and how we act/react in different situations.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss gabi! mostly i get what your saying specially on story telling. but on that last question i got no answer cause i dont have not one idea what youre talking bout. ack! im gonna ask my more older brothers cause their just really smart.
...smiles from lenny

gabi said...

Sheri--Cools! I totally love your comparison of reading and writing to therapy and how it helps to open us up to the world!

Lenny--Don't worry, I'll be writing more posts about the last part to explain it better, so stay tuned!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I took my boys to some local petroglyphs this weekend. The marks are 500-1000 years old and were carved by the Pueblo Indians. It's amazing to me how deep the needs to communicate and connect run. This is the essence of storytelling and is one of the most profound things I know.

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Lynda Young said...

It's all a form of communication and teaching

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Mmm, love that quote! And fantastic about more posts about reading. I'm excited! :D

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

Writing is a way in which the writer draws the reader with his words into whatever direction he chooses. I guess that's manipulation.

Reading being an act of defiance. That I don't get.

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