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“People who don’t read can also be very happy”

Argentinian novelist César Aira says,

I don’t believe that literature is so important for society. On the contrary, I think that literature has always only been important for a minority, for a handful of people. And I think, when it comes to literature, that people should be free to read what they please. Lots of my fellow writers like to proclaim loudly that literature has to have an obligatory character, that young people should be made to read it. I don’t like that. Everything in our society is starting to feel obligatory – we should let people decide for themselves whether they want to engage with literature or not. People should read if they want to. It will give them many joyous moments in their lives, but people who don’t read can also be very happy. It has become very fashionable to encourage people to read, there are even foundations for it. I suspect that the people who are paid good money to work there, never read. We, the real readers, are moving away from propagating reading. Perhaps because we have learned that it is the freest activity that one can possibly engage in.

An interesting interview with Aira in BOMB is here. Courtesy of signandsight.com.

1 thought on ““People who don’t read can also be very happy”

  1. i agree with this fully; i have also always insisted that there is nothing inherently better about reading that watching tv or movies if you’re reading crap. if you read three best-selling mystery/thrillers a week you may as well be watching every version of CSI back to back.

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