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Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain (2007)

by Maryanne Wolf

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,434409,214 (3.7)101
A developmental psychologist evaluates the ways in which reading and writing have transformed the human brain, in an anecdotal study that reveals the significant changes in evolutionary brain physiology throughout history.

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» See also 101 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Just added this to my DNF shelf. I know this has gotten high ratings from quite a few people, but after reading the first chapter and then skipping around to places that looked like they could have been interesting, I just couldn't go on. Dry, dense, textbook-like and perhaps suitable for experts in the field or educators, but definitely not for me. ( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
Just added this to my DNF shelf. I know this has gotten high ratings from quite a few people, but after reading the first chapter and then skipping around to places that looked like they could have been interesting, I just couldn't go on. Dry, dense, textbook-like and perhaps suitable for experts in the field or educators, but definitely not for me. ( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
Pop linguistics always sounds good to me, then lets me down. Tremendously digressive, full of overstatement, and weird use of Strawman arguments. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
The author first discussed the invention of writing with emphasis on alphabetic systems. Then she went into the details of the reading brain and the neuroscience of the pathways used when a person reads. The central sections focused on how children learn to read and the necessary background they need in order to be successful. The last chapters are about dyslexia, what it is and why it occurs and the research about it. Very good.
  hailelib | May 3, 2019 |
This is a fascinating look at how humans developed reading and writing and what reading does to the brain. It is divided into 3 sections: the first a history of the development of reading, the second a look at how children learn to read and how it changes the brain, and the third looking at learning anomalies such as dyslexia and what they further tell us about the brain.

I really liked this. The language can be a bit dense and scientific, especially in the latter sections, but it was very interesting. One of my big takeaways was the idea that reading is not an inherited skill but something that each human attempts to learn from scratch. I also was very interested to read about the way the skill of reading changes neural pathways and the implications for how these pathways can lead to a deeper way of thinking in many ways.

Wolf briefly addresses her concerns about how an increasing digital age may again change our neural pathways, much as happened when the Greeks discussed the move to written word away from "dialogues" and memorization for oral retelling. This was a big concern for Socrates, at the cusp of this mental shift. ( )
  japaul22 | Mar 1, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maryanne Wolfprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stoodley, Catherine J.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
I dedicate this book to all the members of my family... past, present, and still to come.
First words
I have lived my life in the service of words: finding where they hide in the convoluted recesses of the brain, studying their layers of meaning and form, and teaching their secrets to the young.
Quotations
"Words and music are the tracks of human evolution." —John S. Dunne
"Knowing how something originated often is the best clue to how it works." —Terrence Deacon
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A developmental psychologist evaluates the ways in which reading and writing have transformed the human brain, in an anecdotal study that reveals the significant changes in evolutionary brain physiology throughout history.

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HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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HighBridge

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

» Publisher information page

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