How to read?

I have to confess straight off that I thought I’d nailed this particular skill about thirty years ago or so. Apparently not. I have been under a misapprehension and didn’t even know she was there.
‘How to Read Books’ books keep appearing. In itself that seems a bit of a mid bending paradox – if you can’t read, how and indeed why would you buy such a book?

OK, I’m being facetious and deliberately missing the point for effect. Still, there is something here that’s troubling. Reading is simple. At least for those of us who have been fortunate and privileged enough to have been taught how to do it.

See book you think you enjoy. Read. Reflect. Natter about what you thought online or maybe, for a walk on the wild side, even in the real world. Buy or borrow another book. Repeat till death us do part.

What could be simpler? Well, really. Now. It can’t be that simple, can it? Why would we need legions of critics and scholars who specialise in ‘deep’, ‘cross’ (some of them very cross), and ‘against the grain’ reading?

Well, maybe it can be that simple. Nick Hornby takes a well aimed pot shot at ‘cultural snobbery’ of all descriptions in his latest book. Spot on and very entertaining it is too. There’s a good extract over on the every excellent Brainpickings website:

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/08/15/nick-hornby-more-baths-less-talking/

Well worth a read!

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