Particularly like the view espoused by Maryanne Wolf (Zipes, p.31):
‘a neuronally and intellectually circuitous act, enriched as much by the unpredictable indirections of a reader’s inferences and thoughts as by the direct message to the eye from the text….Biologically and intellectually, reading allows the species to go “beyond the information given” to create endless thoughts most beautiful and wonderful. We must not lose this essential quality in our present moment of historical transition to new ways of acquiring process, and comprehending information’.
The quote speaks to me of the individually of meaning making and of the importance of fostering depth in our interpretations – even when perhaps the mode for presenting meaning may be different from those valued traditionally/culturally…
Wow! Love too the idea of reading being the implement by which the very functioning of our brains can be shaped – The way we think is different because of reading – we have , “altered the intellectual evolution of our species” (Wolf cited by Zipes, p. 31) through the unnatural act of reading.
Le Guin refers to books as “social vectors” in another beautifully expressed definition that stresses the reader as an active collaborator with the writer in the context of the “civilizing process” (p. 39):
‘In its silence, a book is a xhallenge; it can lull you with surging music or deafen you with screeeching laugh tracks or fire gunshots in your living room; you have to listen to it in your head. A book won’t move your eyes for you the way images on a screen do. It won’t move your mind unless you give it your mind, or your heart unless you put your heart in it. It won’t do the work for you. To read a story well is to follow it, to act it, to feel it, to become it – everything short of writing it, in fact. reading is not “interactive” with a set of rules or options, as games are; reading in actual collaboration with the writer’s mind’ (cited by Zipes, p. 38).
Are we producing readers for the market-economy or for the benefit of humanity??? We need to reflect of the notion of “progress” which certainly does not equate “globalization” as our culture seems to push…
With the shame of feeling I sound like everybody else of an “older generation” it still needs to be said – Our children have lost that art of being still (Reading Street, 2013)…yes parents are concerned with children not using time profitably, (the marketplace mentality) – “Let them be bored” I say! Maybe then they may rediscover and take the time to concentrate on longer-form texts…to pause…to reflect…to connect…to find meaning…to be creative!