One paragraph from this New York Times article particularly caught my attention this afternoon:
“I think, historically, there has been a stigma attached to the bookworm, and that actually came from the not-untrue notion that, if you were reading, you weren’t socializing with other people,” Dr. Levinson said. “But the e-reader changes that also because e-readers are intrinsically connected to bigger systems.” For many, e-readers are today’s must-have accessory, eroding old notions of what being bookish might have meant. “Buying literature has become cool again,” he said. (Paul Levinson, professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University)The focus of the article is on how e-book reading devices make people who dare read in public more accessible - like that's necessarily a good thing.
I read a good bit in public, generally when I'm catching lunch on the run somewhere or when I'm forced to cool my heels in some doctor or attorney's waiting room. Rather than sit like a lump of inert clay (the way so many others seem to do) I take advantage of the time to read a few pages in whatever book I have handy.
So lets get something straight, Professor. I don't want to be accessible; I want to read. I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me because they think I'm some nerdy guy with so few real friends that I substitute books for people. I feel a kinship with others whom I spot reading in public, often making eye contact and sharing a quick smile and a little nod with them. Sometimes we even lift our books so that we can share the titles being read - but very seldom do we really talk because that's just not necessary. Readers understand each other; if the general public does not get it, perhaps the "stigma" rests on their own shoulders and in their tiny little minds.