Lost in a Book: The Psychology of Reading for Pleasure

Victor Nell, Author, V. Nell, Author Yale University Press $42 (336p) ISBN 978-0-300-04115-6
People read either to dull consciousness or to heighten it, according to psychologist Nell. ``Type A'' readers rush to a book as an island of tranquility amid a sea of personal anxiety, fear and guilt. In contrast, ``Type B'' readers yoke their imaginations to the author's, enriching their inner lives by reenacting daily experiences. This provocative theory seems to imply that an abyss separates escapist trash from serious literature, yet Nell, who teaches at the University of South Africa (where he conducted the behavioral research underpinning this study) derides such notions as elitist prejudice. Instead, he maps different levels in readers' change of consciousness, from absorption all the way to entrancement. While some sections of his report are for specialists, bookworms will enjoy his discussions of mass reading tastes, how readers choose material, the spellbinding powers of narrative, and the ways reading resembles dreaming, hypnosis and fantasy. Psychotherapy and Social Science Book Club alternate . (August)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-0-300-04906-0
Show other formats
Discover what to read next