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Today's quote:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Asking me if I like reading is like asking me if I like breathing


The building of private prisons is a huge growth industry. And they need to plan for that future growth: how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be in ten, fifteen years from now?

They found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based about asking what percentage of ten- and eleven-year-olds couldn’t read. And certainly couldn’t read for pleasure.

When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world, and people it and look out through other eyes.

You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed.

And this magic of reading can only be experienced with a physical book. As Douglas Adams said long before the Kindle showed up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. The reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is. Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath resistant, solar operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them. Certainly in my library - see here .