Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Creativity of Reading

"A Woman Reading," Claude Monet, 1872
[In an article about video games, playwright Lucie] Prebble wrote that gaming "is creative, in comparison to the passivity of watching a film or reading a book. You are making choices and, often, are even designing the world yourself."
    It's too early to tell whether video games will become an art form to rival novels or theater or movies. But Prebble is clearly wrong to say that playing a video game is creative, whereas reading a book is merely passive. If you read intelligently--that is, if you learn how to read in the best way--you are making choices every moment. You are thinking about what matters in the sentence in front of you, about how the book hangs together, about how the author has done his or her work. Noticing as many aspects as you can of an author's art makes you the partner of the author, not the passive receiver of text. You work with the words of the book as you figure out what strikes a chord with you and why. There's a technique to your choices about how to respond to a book, just as there's technique required in any activity that you need to learn, from ballroom dancing to playing music to drawing. (David Mikics, Slow Reading in a Hurried Age, 2013, p. 26)

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