An ulterior existence

We do not get swept up as readily as might be by the big-screen excitements of film. But if we do read perseveringly we make available to ourselves, in a most portable form, an ulterior existence. We hold in our hands a way to cut against the momentum of our times. We can resist the skimming tendency and delve; we can restore, if only for a time, the vanishing assumption of coherence. The beauty of the vertical engagement is that it does not have to argue for itself. It is self-contained, a fulfilment.

- Sven Birkerts, 'The Own Has Flown', The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age, p.76