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Reading as an Addiction

March 5, 2010

From the Guardian comes a very interesting piece by a writer who gives up books for a week. Her conclusion: it sucks. I’d agree. Along with her personal experience, she writes about the history of reading as an escape or pleasurable activity, including a few interesting gems.

Quoting St. Augustine speaking of St. Ambrose, who was apparently one of the first to read silently:

“When he read, his eyes scanned the page and his heart sought out the meaning, but his voice was silent and his tongue was still. Anyone could approach him freely and guests were not commonly announced, so that often, when we came to visit him, we found him reading like this in silence, for he never read aloud.”

She also mentions “reading epidemics” that plagued Germany in the 18th and 19th centuries, which were probably connected to the Werther effect. The piece is worth a read for the bookish.

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