Monday, September 17, 2007

Proust and the Squid

It has been a slow week for squid news, so I thought that I would read something that is only tangentially related to cephalopods. The question this week is about reading. Proust and the Squid: the Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf examines the human tendency to read, and comes to some interesting conclusions. The basic argument of the book is that reading is not natural, and thus must be encouraged. With our society turning more and more digital, Wolf argues, reading becomes less and less important. Since reading is not instinctive our brains must rewire themselves to allow us to understand the printed word. It is an interesting book, although it is difficult to read, which struck me as a bit ironic. Personally, I am not worried that people are losing the ability to read. We will always need the printed word to tell us what is on tv.

1 comment:

M L said...

I'm currently reading the equivalent about music: "Your Brain on Music." The neuroscience is mixed in with stories of the author's life in the music industry in SF in the 70's, so any time it gets heavy going there's a good anecdote to break it up.

I appreciated your comments on "On Chesil Beach." I keep looking at it in the bookstore and thinking I should buy it, that it would be good for me, like eating brussel sprouts. Unfortunately, I find reading about repressed British sexual dysfunction slightly less exciting than eating brussel sprouts. And though I liked Amsterdam and found Atonement somewhat suspenseful during the drive out West this summer, your comments just backed up the reviews I'd seen. No brussel sprouts for me this season. I'm sticking to the local BC lit at Bolen's for the rest of the month.