What Is Reading Anyway?

If you note the sidebar, I'm currently "reading" Dan Brown's latest. I put reading in quotes like that because I'm not really reading it so much as skimming it. And you know what? I'm halfway through and I don't think I've missed a thing -- ask me about the characters, the storyline, whatever, and I can tell you pretty much everything that's happened. Sure, I may not be soaking up all the info dumps, but I can live with that. (For those curious, I'm reading The Lost Symbol because it is arguably one of the biggest books published this year, and while I'm not a fan, I figure as someone who enjoys and writers thrillers, I should at least be able to say I've read this year's biggest thriller ... even if it is godawful.)

But what is reading, anyway? Just because I'm not reading every word, every line, every sentence of this book, I'm still reading it. Right?

The same with audio books -- are they considered reading? I think so. Right now I'm listening to The Turnaround by George P. Pelecanos, and while I have the actual book somewhere around here, I saw the audio version at the library and figured life's too short and picked it up. And I'm glad I did. It's great so far. A book I wish I could read but which I'm very happy to be listening to anyway -- and besides, I'm following along perfectly with the story, with the characters, even if my eyes aren't tracking words on a page.

And then you have the graphic novel, which seems to be the bastard child of literature. That, some people would say, is not actual reading.

Well, why not?

I mean, seriously, what is reading anyway?

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Thanks to everyone who entered the "Doomsday Giveaway." Our randomly selected winner this time around is ...

Cate Gardner

Cate, e-mail me your address at robert (at) robertswartwood (dot) com and I'll get a copy of the magazine out to you pronto.

Here's hoping everyone's Monday isn't sucking too badly yet.