The Anatomy of Reading

By snurfson / Posted on 01 November 2010

‘We were never born to read. Human beings invented reading only a few thousand years ago. And with this invention, we rearranged the very organization of our brain, which in turn expanded the ways we were able to think, which altered the intellectual evolution of our species. Reading is one of the single most remarkable inventions in history; the ability to record history is one of its consequences. Our ancestors’ invention could come about only because of the human brain’s extraordinary ability to make new connections among its existing structures, a process made possible by the brain’s ability to be shaped by experience. This plasticity at the heart of the brain’s design forms the basis for much of who we are, and who we might become.

This book tells the story of the reading brain, in the context of our unfolding intellectual evolution. That story is changing before our eyes and under the tips of our fingers. The next few decades will witness transformations in our ability to communicate, as we recruit new connections in the brain that will propel our intellectual development in new and different ways. Knowing what reading demands of our brain and knowing how it contributes to our capacity to think, to feel, to infer, and to understand other human beings is especially important today as we make the transition from a reading brain to an increasingly digital one. By coming to understand how reading evolved historically, how it is acquired by a child, and how it restructured its biological underpinnings in the brain, we can shed new light on our wondrous complexity as a literate species. This places in sharp relief what may happen next in the evolution of human intelligence, and the choices we might face in shaping that future’ […]

Proust and the Squid, The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, by Maryanne Wolf



Books, Literature




There are 2 Comments about this post

  1. Tuku says,

    Libraries at Night is an interesting book about reading.


    on 01 November 2010 / 8:48 PM

    • snurfson says,

      The book Library at Night is by A. Manguel.


      on 13 November 2010 / 4:48 PM


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