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Wednesday, 14 November 2007

"We learn to read collectively"

Via if:book, the blog of the Institute for the Future of the Book, a link to an audio interview with Junot Díaz in which he talks about "reading as a collective enterprise":

Nobody learns to read outside of a collective. We forget--because we read and we read alone--we forget that we learn to read collectively. We learn with our peers, and a teacher teaches us.... When you read a book--and especially like this book, where there's gonna be Spanish, there's gonna be historical references, there's gonna be nerdish, as they say, forget the elvish, the nerdish, there's gonna be fanboy stuff, there's gonna be talk about Morgoth, about dark side, about John Brunner's science fiction books, about Asimov, about Bova, about Andre Norton, about E. E. Doc Smith's Lensman, you know all this weird esoteric stuff, amongst all these Dominican references, Caribbean references, urban black American references, all this nerd talk, all this kind of hip "we went to college" speak--the reason that's all there in one place is the same reason that reading is a collective enterprise. When we did not know a word when we were young and learning, we would ask someone. We forgot--I think many of us forget--that praxis, that fundamental praxis. What I want is for people to read and remember that reading, while we may practice it alone, in solitude, it arose out of a collective learning and out of a collective exchange....

(My copy of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao arrived two days ago; I've been reading it hungrily--though solitarily--in the evenings.)

(Three Díaz posts in a row!)

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