I do not read to think (Stephen Sondheim's escapist fiction manifesto)
Last night, Jerusha and I saw the legend herself, Barbara Cook, in the Broadway show Sondheim on Sondheim at Studio 54. (Yes, they've taken down the cocaine spoon.) In this ingeniously staged review of Sondheim's hits, flops, and almosts, Barbara sang "I Read" from Passion, which so perfectly captures the intellectual reasons for turning to books that are pure escapist pleasure trips.
I do not read to think. I do not read to learn.
I do not read to search for truth
I know the truth, the truth is hardly what I need.
I read to dream.
I read to live. In other people's lives.
I read about the joys, the world
Dispenses to the fortunate,
And listen for the echoes.
I read to live,
To get away from life...
I read to fly, to skim -
I do not read to swim.