“Reading… is, or should be, a moving between the solitary encounter and something more social. Even when the ‘more social’ thing is just an entry in a private diary, it constitutes a step away from the silent absorption in a text, an attempt to account for and therefore make one’s response more intersubjective, that is, connected to, interacting with, the experiences of others. To write a letter to a friend, or participate in an online debate, or join a book group, are all ways of seeking this social dimension of reading, which almost everyone needs to some degree.
But I think I have to insist that these various ways of reading with others are not reading proper, but rather accompaniments to reading. They cannot substitute for the solitary encounter. (Even when we read comments on blog posts, we usually do so silently, and if we’re really interested in what the person is saying, we won’t want to be interrupted as we read.) These accompaniments change the reading experience in multiple ways: they can force us to reevaluate what we have read, and they can alter our orientation to a text when we go back into our cone of silence. Encounters with other readers can be a vital source of improvements in our judgments, particularly, I think, in teaching us not to be too quickly dismissive: when we hear that others who have been more charitably disposed to a book have gotten something out of it that we missed, we may well be moved to be more charitable ourselves in the future.”
— Alan Jacobs, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction