Is reading anti-social?

Laura Miller of Salon says yes, probably, in this look at how various “social reading” apps have failed to excite significant reader interest. I am with Laura, not only about the necessarily solitary aspect of reading itself (as opposed to the almost-as-pleasurable practice of discussing what one has read), but also about the related one-to-one nature of the author-reader relationship. I believe most of us are uninterested in “participating” in stories or contributing to the directions they take, as one does in, say, video games. That’s a different medium and a different experience. And reading fiction and other narrative work is very different than the reading one does for the purpose of gathering information. Reading stories is all about that unique encounter with the imagination and expression of the writer. The solitary aspect of this encounter is not a bug, it’s a feature–the feature of the reading experience.

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