word craft


The privacy of reading

There is no argu­ment that we live in a world of dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Com­merce, day to day activ­i­ties, pro­fes­sion­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion, per­son­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion, even-for many –the sto­ries we read, the cin­e­ma we watch, and instruc­tion and learn­ing we receive—all by way of tech­nol­o­gy. You can think of more, I am sure. I am writ­ing this on a com­put­er. You will read it on a com­put­er. On it goes …

At the same time we are dai­ly informed about hack­ing, infor­ma­tion theft, being spied upon, and oth­er forms of intru­sion in our pri­vate lives—or what used to be pri­vate. That is to say, much of our—what used to be pri­vate worlds—is now open to oth­er eyes, oth­er interests.

reading by lamplight

It is thus worth remem­ber­ing that when you read a book, the com­mu­ni­ca­tion between you and the author—is pri­vate and will remain pri­vate. No one knows what you are think­ing, expe­ri­enc­ing, feel­ing, unless you tell them.

Well yes, these days, no doubt there is a dig­i­tal record of the book you bought or bor­rowed. Order a book about bak­ing pies, and Ama­zon will tell you about five pie-mak­ing books you can buy. How did they know you liked to bake pies?

BUT no one will know which pie you baked, and how much you enjoyed it. No more will they know what you thought about that best­seller, or obscure book you read, late at night in your read­ing chair. That is for you and you alone unless you share it with anoth­er person.

Read­ing. Know it for what it is, a very spe­cial privacy.

Trea­sure it.

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