Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Great Quote on the Activity of Reading

There was a long and twisting pathway to get to this quote - Lorcan Dempsey saw it on William Gibson's blog who had kiped it from Boing-Boing who'd grabbed it from Michael Leddy who had heard it on KCRW Radio. Following bread crumbs from blog to blog...The point is that author Zadie Smith was the one who said it originally:

"But the problem with readers, the idea we’re given of reading is that the model of a reader is the person watching a film, or watching television. So the greatest principle is, 'I should sit here and I should be entertained.' And the more classical model, which has been completely taken away, is the idea of a reader as an amateur musician. An amateur musician who sits at the piano, has a piece of music, which is the work, made by somebody they don’t know, who they probably couldn’t comprehend entirely, and they have to use their skills to play this piece of music. The greater the skill, the greater the gift that you give the artist and that the artist gives you. That’s the incredibly unfashionable idea of reading. And yet when you practice reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it. It’s an old moral, but it’s completely true."

I'll stick the other links into this entry when I can get to it some time late in the holiday weekend. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!