1. The right to not read.
2. The right to skip pages.
3. The right to not finish.
4. The right to reread.
5. The right to read anything.
6. The right to escapism
7. The right to read anywhere.
8. The right to browse.
9. The right to read out loud.
10. The right not to defend your tastes.
—Pennac, Daniel, Better Than Life, Coach House Press, 1996.
For my first Weekly Geeks, I’m actually doing last week’s prompt. (It’s not my fault they haven’t put up a new one for this week. … I think.) Anyway, this is an extremely interesting topic. I had not heard of the Readers Bill of Rights before, and they’re certainly fitting. My focus is #6: The right to escapism.
I love to read (obviously). I enjoy seeing where the books take me, and leaving behind my mundane life in favor of quests, dragons and damsels to be rescued (even if they’re vampires needing rescue from were-unicorns).
The first time I was accused of using books as a means of escapism, I was confused. Was there something wrong with wanting to escape a little? To see yourself doing things only possible through the imagination? Especially considering how harmless books are as a means of escapism, there are worse choices. Even as I started to doubt the good of books and escapism, I could never fully avoid them. (My book loving nature is faintly genetic. My mother reads just about anything, and she’s far less picky than I am.) Working now in a book store part time means I’m constantly in contact with people who have that same appreciation for books as I do. And all the writing workshops and lit classes at school means, there’s no chance of staying away from books ever.
Now I’ve come to appreciate escapism. For some it may be negative, but as life gets busier and people continually demand more and more of me, books are a means of relaxation I wouldn’t give up.
(And the friend who initially started it all can’t say anything. She spends all her spare time watching dramas as her means of escape.)