This weekend there was an article in the New York Times about how reading seems to have changed from being "among the last remaining private activities" to a "relentlessly social pursuit" in the age of Facebook and blogs.
I have to admit, I never found reading to be an inherently private activity - not in th sense the article means, anyway. The article quotes Rebecca Stead, author of this year's Newberry-winning When You Reach Me: “For me, as a kid, a book was a very private world,” she said. “I didn’t like talking about books with other people very much because it almost felt like I didn’t want other people to be in that world with me.”
For me, reading was and still is a solitary activity - but the idea of wanting to keep a wonderful, beautiful book to myself is totally foreign. One book, Empress of the World, changed my life in an incredibly private way - yet I excitedly told every single person I knew about it for years. Admittedly, I didn't always discuss why I was so touched by the book - though I'm sure some people figured it out pretty quickly - but I wanted to share it with people and eventually discuss it.
I find it interesting that Laura Miller, a staff writer at Salon and an author herself, speculates that it is the more casual reader who is drawn to the more social aspects of reading, while it is the truly bookish who are more private about their books. I fail to see how it is casual readers who are pouring over the minutiae of Harry Potter or Twilight. Some of these fans may not be the heaviest readers, by which I mean that they may read little outside of these blockbuster series, but clearly they have hunkered down with these massive books and applied some serious brainpower to them.
I know that most of my followers here are fellow bloggers, which the NYT hypothesizes means you're all like me and think this notion of reading as "private" is bunk, but I'd still like to know what your experiences are!