You are what you read

I was thinking recently about the ways in which we often talk about our reading habits in terms of eating and degustation: we’re said to have a ‘voracious appetite’ for books, which we ‘consume’ like candy, or, in the case of something ‘unsavoury’, brand it a production we simply can’t ‘stomach’. This thought naturally reminded me of an ad that used to be on tv when I was a kid and which, luckily, I was able to dig up in Youtube. Part of a campaign to encourage kids to eat healthily, it reminded them that, ‘You are what you eat’. Derrida might say that every book we read (and even some of those we don’t!) enters into our individual consciousness and thereafter shapes the way we think, read, write, and generally perceive. So, in a very real sense, we are what we read….

An interesting point I’ll be remembering next time I hit the bookshop…

Have a good weekend! – Tina

2 Responses to “You are what you read”

  1. scarndt Says:

    Catherine Ross has an excellent article on the metaphors of reading in the Journal of Library History. She says that these metaphors help us tell stories about the texts we read. She also discusses how the idea of consuming texts (like food) emphasizes reading as passive reception of the active text. This means that some types of literature are always either good or bad, like salad and ice cream, instead of ambiguous.

  2. Tina Says:

    Thanks for the suggestion, scarndt! I’ll have to read Ross’ article.


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