Kurt Vonnegut on reading

“Reading is such a difficult thing to do that most of our time in school is spent learning how to do that alone. If we had spent as much time at ice skating as we have with reading, we would all be stars with The Hollywood Ice Capades instead of bookworms now…

Are we foolish to be so elated by books in an age of movies and television? Not in the least, for our ability to read, when combined with libraries like this one, makes us the freest of women and men – and children.

Because we are readers, we don’t have to wait for some communications executive to decide what we should think about next – and how we should think about it. We can fill our heads with anything from aardvarks to zucchinis – at any time of night or day.

Even more magically, perhaps, we readers can communicate with each other across space and time so cheaply. Ink and paper are as cheap as sand or water, almost. No board of directions has to convene in order to decide whether we can afford to write down this or that. I myself once staged the end of the world on two pieces of paper – at a cost of less than a penny, including wear and tear on my typewriter ribbon and the seat of my pants.”

— Kurt Vonnegut (via Palm Sunday)