Stumbling over books

Review of Proust and the Squid: the Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf for the Telegraph

"We were never born to read." A curious beginning for a book. Curiosity, though, and the desire to pass beyond the limits of what we know, is at the heart of the notion of reading proposed here.

Wolf's first sentence is clarified in the next: "No specific genes ever dictated reading's development." Nor is there anything, as she goes on to explain, in the structure of the brain that suggests the ability to read and write came to us other than by the forced modification of our grey matter, and the millions of pathways and connections responsible for dictating which parts of the brain send signals to which others, how and when.

Arguably, though, "being born" for something - whether reading, parliamentary politics or tax accountancy - and having the genes for something are two different things...

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