Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Responsible Reader

Reading thuRsday

In some respects, today's note is the most difficult to write because I'm not as sure about what it means to be a responsible reader.

It should go without saying that one should not read and drive, but apparently that fact that those are mutually exclusive activities is no longer clear in this shiny new age of texting.

A more useful notion of responsible reading might be the willingness to give a book a chance. I know of some people, for example, who will withhold judgment until they've read at least 50 pages. This is not to say that you should read everything uncritically, rather if you choose to read something you should give it "the old college try" before giving up.

Similarly, a responsible reader is willing to do a bit of work if the author seems to be doing his or her part. The responsible reader isn't put off by names that may be difficult to pronounce or ideas that may take some thought to understand. The responsible reader shouldn't have to do all the work, but like a good partnership they should be willing to do some of the work.

At a broader level, I think a responsible reader is like a responsible eater. In the same way that a healthy diet has variety, a responsible reader is willing to try new things.

What else do you think a responsible reader should do?

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn /

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