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Is reading a social or solitary experience? January 27, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in 2666, reading.
Tags: , , ,

This article from the New York Times last weekend includes a quote from none other than Matthew Bucher, organizer of the Spring 2666 group read of Roberto Bolano’s novel 2666 (which just started – there’s still time to catch up!). He said that he still reads, at night, at home and on his own, but the discussion of what he read the next day only enhances his experience.

I feel the same way – audiobooks notwithstanding (they have their own place) I don’t want to read in a group; I read by myself. However the article includes quotes from other readers who indicate they are somehow disappointed to know that anyone has ever read the same book as them. They feel that the world of the novel is their own secret place, and for someone else to read the book is like an unwelcome intruder in that world.

While I have felt connected to some of my favorite books, even so much so with some of my favorites as to imagine they went on without me everytime I put them down, I have never felt the imaginary world to be mine exclusively. Rather, when I found a particularly special world, I was (am still) eager to share that world with friends who I know would also appreciate it. (Just ask any of the individuals I continually press my latest reads upon.)

So what do you think? Solitary or Social Activity? Do you like to share books?



1. pupfiction - January 27, 2010

I think it’s definitely a combination of both – thus the success of movies turned into books. While we like to have our own vision of the book it is also fun to share a vision – like Harry Potter’s world.

2. RhodeyGirlTests - January 27, 2010

I love sharing books I’ve read with the world, but I hate when those same books become movies. For example… The Time Traveler’s Wife. I had such a strong image of that story and it was MY world. I hate that they turned it into a movie that was so far from how I saw the story unfolding and the images I saw in my head.

3. mike - January 27, 2010

It is solitary for me, but I always thought that a book discussion group at a library would be fun.
On the other hand, the public reading of 2666 seems like an event, so I want to stay tuned and see how it develops.

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[…] just pointing out that it is in man’s nature to want to share the things he finds interesting (at least that’s how it seems to me).  Whether it is through Facebook or Twitter, or even e-mail, sharing links to interesting stories […]

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