Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The reading rules

There is a great article in The Guardian by D.J. Taylor on the current craze for books about how to read books with John Sutherland’s How to Read a Novel already out and John Mullan shortly bringing out How Novels Work as the main two examples cited. Taylor points to the reading groups as part of where the hunger for knowledge about guides to reading. Certainly when I went to see Sutherland talk to an audience at the London Review of Books shop in London the other month one of the most disappointed exchanges came from a reading group member who had hoped for more tips on reading and was unsatisfied in being told to just do their own thing.

Sutherland said that reading should be instinctive and not taught by rote but with more books than ever before coming out and a hunger to get through as many as people can it is understandable why people want tips to make reading something they can get better at. The hunt for the reading rules will no doubt continue with more books following those already out or planned, but they must at some point, despite the resistance to nanny state and mimicking 19th century teaching techniques, provide the sort of answers most readers are looking for.

1 comment:

Dom said...

Simon - i can;t beleive your powering through Proust. I was supposed to read it for my degree course and i intended to get through it the night before the lectures started. I almost passsed out when i saw the size of the first volume and, needless to say, spent the day in bed instead.Good luck with the rest of it