Something Walter Benjamin said has interested me for a while now:
If centuries ago [writing] began gradually to lie down, passing from the upright inscription to the manuscript resting on sloping desks before finally taking itself to bed in the printed book, it now begins just as slowly to rise again from the ground. The newspaper is read more in the vertical than in the horizontal plane, while film and advertisements force the printed word entirely into the dictatorial perpendicular.
— One Way Street (1928)
If Benjamin’s right, then this is a reading revolution that’s still underway — expanding from film, advertisements, and newspapers to television, computer, and telephone screens. Even though we’re using all these different devices, they just might be participating in this dyad of vertical vs. historical reading.
I’ve become something of an amateur anthropologist of how people read — watching people read books or papers or from their phones or laptops in public places — but I’m curious: how do you read?
* What kind of device(s)?
* Where is your body?
* Where is your reading material?
* How do you prefer to read?
* How do you read most often?
* Where/how is it hardest for you to read?
* What are your reading surfaces — desks, tables, a bed, your own body?
* Do you use any prosthetic aids — glasses, something to raise your laptop upwards?
* How did you read as a child? Ten years ago? What’s changed?
Send pictures or movies even! Images of reading!