“To read, when one does so of one's own free will, is to make a volitional statement, to cast a vote; it is to posit an elsewhere and set off toward it. And like any traveling, reading is at once a movement and a comment of sorts about the place one has left. To open a book voluntarily is at some level to remark the insufficiency either of one's life or one's orientation toward it.”And then BTT asks "To what extent does this describe you?"
Well, to begin with, I'm not even sure I fully agree with that whole statement. I'll go along with the part about reading (volitional reading, that is) being "a movement" and a setting off toward another, new and different place. But I don't think it necessarily follows that the act says anything about the "insufficiency of one's life." That's sort of saying that only malcontents, misfits, and nerds are out there doing all the reading. And I just don't believe that's the case.
Not that there's anything wrong with being a malcontent, misfit or nerd. (Some of my best friends . . . yada, yada, yada.) And maybe the statement does say something about Sven Birkerts life - I wouldn't know about that.
Of course, I agree that one reason we engage in voluntary reading is to escape our everyday existence, and experience new places and situations. But I like to think of it as an enriching process, and an adding to - not as filling in or making up for life's "insufficiency." I read because I love the experience, the process, and the benefits I derive from reading. I read because I love the voyage of discovery I take every time I open another book. I read because I can't imagine not reading, and I suspect many of my fellow readers (and book bloggers) would say the same thing. Isn't that the bookworm's creed?