Four prominent contemporary writers came together to wax historical on their own personal relationships with books and reading. There was little doubt in my mind what the real message behind this seminar should have been: the increasingly apathetic and negative sentiment towards reading literature as a generational trend; but strangely, it received little consideration.
The overall lack of attendance from people closer to my age seemed to confirm my fears, but it wasn’t clear to me that they missed anything important. The talk was set up like an interview, the bulk of which ranged somewhat narrowly from whether or not the writers were read to as children, to what made them start writing. The effect was a few anecdotal yarns with as much valuable insight as a segment on Oprah.
Former UK Poet-Laureate Sir Andrew Motion made the case for reading as a means for helping us “recognise things that we already know,” and novelist Antoni Jach offered that “reading gives us insight into how other people think,” but the disappointing layout of the event seemed to betray what should have been implied in the title ‘Why I Read’.