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Is ‘devouring’ books a sign of superficiality in a reader? By Louise Adams

Last year, a reporter in the Guardian described how the Man Booker Prize judges spent ‘a summer… devouring novel after magnificent novel’, culminating in their selection of ‘a (baker’s) dozen’. This is nothing unusual. The language of eating is often used to describe reading habits. If pressed for an explanation, one might say that to ‘devour’ books is to do something positive. It implies intense appreciation on behalf of the reader, and suggests that books in themselves are enjoyable and delicious, likcCe warm pastries.

This metaphor, however, hasn’t always seemed so benign. Two hundred years ago, describing someone as ‘devouring’ a book would have been an act of moral censure. The long, turbulent relationship between reading and eating is invisible to modern eyes, yet in our media-soaked culture, it is more pertinent than ever. The unexamined language of ‘devouring’ idealises one kind of reading at the expense of others, leaving readers impoverished.

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Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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