Reader’s Advice

What would it be like to be a secondary school literature student again? When that thought crossed my mind, I briefly thought about whether I might have anything useful to tell the younger me.

The first idea was simply, ‘Be a good reader.’ This seemed a clear and simple enough behest – yet a challenging enough one – for someone apt to over-analysis.

The second idea seemed more dangerous. I was tempted to tell me, ‘Think about what reader each text demands.’ It is at once so easy to get wrong, yet so automatic for us to do, and so crucial to any experience of ‘getting it’. But I also liked how it contained the potentially productive problem of figuring out how to be one of the many ‘good readers’ it is possible to be, and perhaps even how to be several at once. (I guess I still think there’s value in trying.)

Just a thought – in this case, actually, about what one could or should be thinking about…


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