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Reading Is The Best Brain Implant

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This week, io9 celebrates the written word in all its forms with a special series of posts called Book Vortex. We know why you need the time and space to read great books, comics, and short stories.

Books are stealthy and portable and will outlast the data apocalypse. With a book, you can hide in the middle of a field with no electrical outlet and still escape to Barsoom or Downbelow Station or Dune. The written word implants a story in your brain, but lets you imagine all the details of how people look and move and speak. Even a comic book leaves room between panels for you to fill in an entire world of your own devising.


Pundits call the internet the first interactive, social medium, but we all know that is a lie. A book invites you into a collaboration from the very first sentence, where you're given words but must call upon your imagination to stage every scene in your mind's eye. The dragons and spaceships and aliens you see - those are yours. Every single person who reads a book sees something slightly different when they're immersed in it. Authors know that, and play with it. They create ambiguous worlds and design phrases with multiple meanings, trying to draw you out and get you to build your own interpretations.

That's why when you read, you get to play creator too.

We celebrate the ancient art of written storytelling this week, treating you to tales of yore and stories to come. We'll bring you reading lists, essays, and interviews with creators of books and comics. There will be agonizingly bad book covers, achingly beautiful comic book illustrations, and worldbuilding so awesome it will make you cry. Plus every day we'll show you places to find free books and stories to read online.


We hope Book Vortex inspires you to read something this week - something you never would have tried reading before. So break out the books and get started.

Photograph via gadl, who also created the image we modified for the "book vortex" logo.