Archive for June 9, 2010

The 10 Inalienable Rights of the Reader

June 9, 2010 1 comment

 These rights have been described by Daniel Pennac, in his book “Comme un roman” (literally “Like a novel” translated by “The Rights of the Reader”). This book is about reading and here are the 10 inalienable rights of the reader :

1) The right to not read,

2) The right to skip pages

3) The right to not finish a book,

4)  The right to reread,

5) The right to read anything,

6) The right to “Bovary-ism,” a textually-transmitted disease

7) The right to read anywhere,

8  The right to sample and steal (“grappiller”),

9) The right to read out-loud,

10)  The right to be silent.

What it means to me :

  1. Reading is neither a daily obligation or something one must do to be a good or accomplished person.
  2. I admit I skipped some pages of description of the Napoleonian battles in War and Peace and some pages in Naked Lunch. And I’m not ashmed of it.
  3. Reading Naked Lunch reminded me Daniel Pennac had written about the 10 inalienable rights of the reader, among those the right to give up reading a book.
  4. This puzzles my husband. “How many times have you read this book?”.
  5. Yes I both like Philip Roth and Anne Perry. I don’t expect the same thing from them, that’s all.
  6. By this right, Daniel Pennac means the right to read thrillers or romance, books that talk to our senses more than they talk to our brain.
  7. I always have a book in my handbag.
  8. Daniel Pennac means the right to pick up a book on a shelf, read one passage or two, and take another one.
  9. This is something adults don’t do very often, except to read to children. Maybe we should reinvent reading evenings like in 19th century novels.
  10. You’re not obliged to talk about what you read.
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