I had planned to have a review of one of my Banned Books Week selections ready to go for today, but alas, unpacking dominated my Tuesday. The quiet afternoon of bookish bliss I had planned was instead spent opening boxes and sorting possessions. Ah well.

The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac (cover)In place of said intended review, I’d like to share with you a quote that I think is both interesting and rather appropriate for Banned Books Week. It comes from a book, which I discovered while unpacking, entitled The Rights of the Reader. Written in French by Daniel Pennac in 1992, the edition I have was translated by Sarah Adams and published in the US by Candlewick Press in 2008. (I should also mention that it was illustrated by Quentin Blake, which immediately makes me think of Roald Dahl.) I will, when I finish the book, dedicate another post to it, as there’s lots of good stuff in there. But for today, I’ll just pass along a quote I particularly like. (Please note that my copy is an advanced reader’s edition and, therefore, may differ from the actual published text.) From about halfway through the book:

Reading is an act of resistance. Against what? Against all constraints.


A well-chosen book saves you from everything, including yourself.

But, above all, we read in defiance of our own mortality.

Yesterday, The New Dork Review of Books published a post entitled “A Reasonably Short, Fairly Impassioned Defense of Reading Fiction,” and I think it also speaks to the topic addressed by Pennac. Really, why do we read? What are the deeper reasons we turn to books again and again? I’m still mulling over the question.

What do you think?

Join the Conversation


  1. I believe that humans are storytelling creatures. Even the most supposedly uncreative among us know a good joke or enjoy a good movie. We tell stories to make sense of our world, to perpetuate our own beliefs, and, sometimes, to just while away the time. Humans love stories; that’s why we read.

      1. I agree with both of these! I think it’s amazing that fiction (and nonfiction too) can encompass so much important stuff that it can help us “perpetuate our own beliefs” and “make sense of the world and ourselves.” Great answers, thanks for stopping by and giving me more to think about !

    1. I hope to get to it soon! I’m marking so many passages that it’s taking me forever, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to get it down to just a post, either. It might have to be a miniseries!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *