Monday, May 27, 2013

Learning to read

You would think that after ten years of writing this blog that I would have learnt how to read! In the preface written by Walter Kaufman he explains that Buber wants to teach us how to read. I think this is more relevant than ever for today where attention spans are so short and we have so much to read on a daily basis.

He explains that most people learn how to read and then struggle through an unprepared section of their life, searching out things to read. Most settle on an unsatisfying diet of newspapers and magazines that are written with only one purpose - the rubbish bin. They scan and read quickly and most of the content is ephemeral.

So what does it mean to read?

"We must learn to feel addressed by a book, by the human being behind it, as if a person spoke directly to us. A good book or essay or poem is not primarily an object to be put to use, or an object of experience: it is the voice of You speaking to me, requiring a response."
from Walter Kaufman - preface to 'I and You'

2 comments:

MorningAJ said...

I have a problem with the idea that newspapers are only designed for the bin. A well-written newspaper feature (or even a news story) can be a satisfying read as well as being educational.

igneos geos said...

Perhaps I was a little bit too forceful with Buber's opinion. Of course, in a general sense all newspapers are written for one day and then disposed of. Some newspapers are valuable but you must admit that given the deluge of reading material we are exposed to each day, you can't expect all of it to be of high editorial value.