Thursday, October 30, 2008

Proust and the Squid

Writing friend Maxine Linnell put me on to a book called "Proust and the Squid", which is all about reading. From the hardwiring of the brain, and its plasticity, through to the historical development of reading. (Interestingly, the author writes about the origins of reading, rather than the origins of writing - which is the way I have seen the development described elsewhere).

Critically for me, the book has sections on dyslexia. The dyslexic is rather unflatteringly compared to a slow swimming squid. But the author nevertheless seems to favour the view of dyslexia as difference rather than disability - which won me over as I stood browsing the book in the shop. So I bought it. (See what a push-over I am in marketing terms. Just tell me what I already believe and I shell out cash!)

Though the author clearly warms to dyslexics, she writes in an unforgiving style. Non-dyslexics may find it easy to read, but it took all my concentration to get through the first chapter. I would not read on, but the content is so very interesting that I have to. I will report back when I have finished the book.


sonja said...

Interesting, since kids begin with reading, not writing, and i'd assume that western culture was developed by cultivating reading rather than writing. I'm thinking of era's such as that of Jane Austen, etc.

- sonja

Rod Duncan said...

Hi Sonja,

Thanks for the comment.

Yes, I agree, we develop reading first as individuals.

But as a species, at the very origin of writing, thousands of years ago, the invention of writing and of reading must have come together.