One word, multiple experiences

There are many ways of reading, but they won’t lead to the same experience.

Silent reading brings worlds through words to life, to be enjoyed secretely, to be cherished in the palace of one’s own mind.

Social reading creates bonds of intellectual and emotional depth, the roots of a common language bursting out of the sounds of a shared idiom. Reading to a live audience also creates culture in ways that are most tangible and urgent.

Reading an audio book lays claims to one’s capacity to focus. For it is hard to keep the mind riveted to a voice without a face. The psychotechnology of recorded text leads to cognitive effects whose extent is yet to be fully explored. Our sense of perception is multi-sensory, we look, hear and feel. Texts have a certain feel to them, but they are hardly a match for solid bodies parading before our eyes.

Reading an e-book has its own challenges. In the age of simulacra, it feels printed texts are preparing a mutiny of their own. Hard copies are facing a comeback. There is a hierarchy of reading experiences being acknowledged everywhere.

Finally, reading in another language, in a language of acquisition is an experience in itself. In it, one realises the full extent of word elasticity, its capacity to kick back and resist courtship. It is a kind of reading that takes even the seasoned reader back to the basics of reading.

One thought on “One word, multiple experiences

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  1. I tried ebooks, but it just wasn’t for me. I enjoy – particularly with older books – the feel of a book in my had, a textural aspect you simply don’t get with electronic.


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