10 November 2007

Never alone

Junot Díaz in conversation with Michael Silverblatt:
JD: What I want is people to read and remember that reading--while we may practice it alone, in solitude--it arose out of a collective learning and out of a collective exchange. And that if somebody encounters a word--sure, you can go to Wikipedia, that's the short-circuit. If you encounter a word you don't know, or a phrase, that's a short-cut. That's ok. But part of me is hoping that that will encourage people to look up some of the books that this book is referencing, the book is mic-checking. Ask people what some of these things mean, return to the notion that it's not just you, a monk alone in a chamber--that it's you reading out of a collective, from a collective, you know. And I love that idea 'cause I never forgot how I learned to read.

MS: How did you learn to read?

JD: With a group of people--with teachers. I learned to read in kindergarten when I first moved to the United States, watching other kids make mistakes, do things right, and having access to a group of teachers who were committed. That moment--in A Wonderful Life--do you remember? The husband of the teacher punches him and he goes, "My wife taught your children to read!" And it is a debt--reading is a debt we owe to a collective, while we may practice it alone.
It's a marvelous interview, and this segment immediately reminded me of one of the reasons litblogs are so vital these days. It's about conversation, sharing--reading in conversation with other books and other readers as well. (John Donne has been right all along.)

(via Counterbalance)

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