Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Reader's Bill of Rights

I am guided by Daniel Pennac's Readers Bill of Rights, and I want you to have that option, too.

We have:

1. The Right to Not Read
2. The Right to Skip Pages
3. The Right to Not Finish
4. The Right to Reread
5. The Right To Read Anything
6. The Right to Escapism
7. The Right to Read Anywhere
8. The Right to Browse
9. The Right to Read Out Loud
10. The Right to Not Defend Your Tastes

Aren't they great? Just going over this list brought half-remembered questions flooding back:

"Why don't you want to read it? I loved it!"
"Ew, how can you read that stuff?"
"You're reading it again? Didn't you get it all the first time?"

It also brought back memories:

  • Being forced to read and analyse certain novels at school, that I hated.
  • The delicious aroma of fresh coffee in a US bookstore where they actually encourage browsing with lots of comfy chairs!
  • The discomfort of the hard branch in my girlhood backyard, when I finally pulled my attention away from my book, and remembered I was reading it in a tree.
  • Slowly becoming aware of sidelong glances and amused looks when I sat on the floor in an Australian book shop, and did a thorough but uncomfortable browse.
  • The slack-jawed, blank-eyed stare of a young listener who was totally engrossed in a book I read aloud.
  • The comfort that a great book brought, even when I was sick in bed with flu, and sure I was about to die.
  • The pleasure of re-reading a book for the tenth time - knowing what the character will say next, but still laughing.
 What about you? Did the Reader's Bill of Rights strike a chord? Do you have a memory prompted by your rights as a reader?

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