Here’s a handmade response to “The Symbolic Reader,” a chapter in Alberto Manguel’s A History of Reading. In this section, Manguel is describing the power of the presence of a book to influence our perception of the person holding that book: “The assocation of books with their readers is unlike any other between objects and their users. Tools, furniture, clothes–all have a symbolic function, but books inflict upon their readers a symbolism far more complex than that of a simple utensil. The mere possession of books implies social standing and a certain intellectual richness;” (214). I take a book to read when I’m at the fitness center, walking the treadmill or riding a bike. How do the gym rats perceive me?