Devouring books - good or bad?

According to this article in Aeon, I have "unwholesome appetite." I devour novels, at least the good ones. What about you? What do you think about the connection between food and reading?


Is ‘devouring’ books a sign of superficiality in a reader?


Last year, a reporter in the Guardian described how the Man Booker Prize judges spent ‘a summer… devouring novel after magnificent novel’, culminating in their selection of ‘a (baker’s) dozen’. This is nothing unusual. The language of eating is often used to describe reading habits. If pressed for an explanation, one might say that to ‘devour’ books is to do something positive. It implies intense appreciation on behalf of the reader, and suggests that books in themselves are enjoyable and delicious, like warm pastries.

This metaphor, however, hasn’t always seemed so benign. Two hundred years ago, describing someone as ‘devouring’ a book would have been an act of moral censure.



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