Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Monday, January 15, 2007


(edited to fix the link)
From the lovely essay by Zadie Smith in last Saturday's Guardian:

"Reading, done properly, is every bit as tough as writing - I really believe that. As for those people who align reading with the essentially passive experience of watching television, they only wish to debase reading and readers. The more accurate analogy is that of the amateur musician placing her sheet music on the stand and preparing to play. She must use her own, hard-won, skills to play this piece of music. The greater the skill, the greater the gift she gives the composer and the composer gives her."

I love the image of reader as musician, interpreting the text in front of her with whatever skills she has. In fact, I am going to share it with my students. The essay as a whole repays close attention, in fact; I need to practice reading it, read it again, think about it more. This is just a start.

Linked from (among others, no doubt), Light Reading and educating alice.


  1. cool - I'll read it tomorrow, when I can pay it proper attention. Did you ever read any of her books? I've read On Beauty... it was good, I think, but I should read it again (like everything).

  2. I didn't know that she had a book (or several?) It will top my reading list as well!