What’s a book and what’s a text? Having a clear understanding of the differences between the two will change our relationship and our engagement with both.
When I was coming up with ideas for The Critical Reader’s Handbook I felt there was one important point I needed to make in order to allow more of my audience to feel represented, and identify as true readers, but confident of the critical reader abilities in all of us.
The fact that many people are traumatized by the assigned, forced and tested readings in school, makes many develop a limiting belief that it’s simply not true. Just because a person doesn’t feel particularly inclined to pick up a physical book to read, that doesn’t mean he is not a reader.
Knowing a book is not the same as a text opens a whole new horizon of critical reading possibilities.
I felt the need to empower others, especially those that view reading as something they just aren’t good at, and books bring up bad memories, when I realized that texts are not bound to one surface.
The definitions of text and book may be interchangeable, but in essence, they are quite different. A book is a tangible object. Bound within the book are pages, and written on those pages are the intangible ideas, thoughts and emotions of a writer, the text.
The text is the actual living spirit in between the front and back cover.
The hard surfaces of a book are there to protect the valuable content within. And at one time this technology was the most advanced for its safekeeping and convenient transportation, and even today they hold off from anything short of falling into the water, but hey, so does my tablet!
Where the book is the vessel, and has acquire the level of decorative item. It doesn’t have to be read to be “placed” or look “pretty”. But unless is filled with plank pages, its content, the text, is most alive when it’s being read. You may love to keep most of your books in your personal library, as I do, but every day I’m leaning more toward sharing and donating my books, thinking of the valuable content within as a message that was meant to be spread, not silenced.
Our world is filled with text.
As critical readers of our world we engage with a diversity of texts found:
In the mass media we consume as we drive along the highway.
In the information we read as we browse the web.
In the murals and graffiti that enliven our city walls.
In the digital media we interact with and the content we produce.
In the symbols many dote on their bodies.
In the words (and brands) on the clothes we wear.
The text is free! If you believe this to be true, I welcome you to the cause. Spread the word by sharing this post with your friends and followers. Let’s Free The Text!
#Foodforthought: The Bible is the text that is most alive as it is daily read around the world by thousands of followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.