“Some people simply refuse to dance with a book—won’t allow themselves to become ‘transformed’ by the literature, made to become the ‘other partner’ of the literature. They resist being the characters, seeing the setting, discovering the themes, anguishing over the actions. In a small way they don’t even feel a bit of joy when little Corduroy gets his button (or pocket), or when Sylvester comes back alive from being a pebble, or when Harry the Dirty Dog takes a bath and is discovered to be his old self, or when The Little Engine That Could, can, or when Eloise runs though the halls of the Plaza scraping a stick along the walls and doors and making a great ruckus. No, some people resist the happy feel of a book, the charm of a book. They fight it. Not Reading is a statement that hollers out to the world: ‘I will remain the same. Don’t give me the stick with rock; I just want the rock!’ Or maybe they want even less, they just want to beat their head against a great big rock . . .
People who refuse to read conquer a book by not reading it. As we all know, being ignored is the worst snub. A book is sucked dry of its rhythm and blues, its hokey-pokey, its two-handed waltz when the owner shoves it onto the shelf.
Gantos spoke at the National Book Festival. You can watch a webcast of his talk here. He was having to compress and rush to fit his material to the time allowed so do go hear him if he is ever nearby