The Writer Who Couldn’t Read : NPR

The Writer Who Couldn’t Read : NPR:

This fascinating story from NPR (National Public Radio) tells the story of Howard Engel, a Canadian mystery novelist who woke up one morning and discovered that he could no longer read. His brain damaged by a stroke, Engel couldn’t make sense of written words, which looked to him like random squiggles on a page.

Through trial and error, and a lot of effort, Engel taught himself to read and write again by tracing the shape of letters onto the backs of his teeth with his tongue:

Sacks describes Engel’s struggles in a forthcoming book, The Mind’s Eye, to be published later this year. The surprise here is that brains are more plastic than one would suppose; even if one part of a brain is compromised by a stroke, a person can sometimes improvise and get another still healthy part of the brain to substitute and help out.


José Saramago, Nobel Prize-Winning Portuguese Writer, Dies at 87

José Saramago, Nobel Prize-Winning Portuguese Writer, Dies at 87 – Obituary (Obit) –

José Saramago, the Portuguese writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998 with novels that combine surrealist experimentation with a kind of sardonic peasant pragmatism, died on Friday at his home in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. He was 87.

Killer Thrillers: Your Nominations, Please!

Killer Thrillers: Your Nominations, Please! : NPR:

NPR (National Public Radio) seeks your help in compiling a list of thrillers for summer reading. Drop by this site, leave your nominations in the comments section, and see what books others have recommended.

The Psychology of Reading: A Select Bibliography

This list includes some of the books mentioned in a previous post as well as others about the psychology of reading. It is intended as a starting point rather than a definitive bibliography on the subject.

Dehaene, Stanislas. Reading in the Brain: the Science and Evolution of a Human Invention. New York: Viking, 2009. Print.

Fireman, Gary D., Ted E. McVay, and Owen J. Flanagan. Narrative and Consciousness: Literature, Psychology, and the Brain. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003. Print.

Gerrig, Richard J. Experiencing Narrative Worlds: on the Psychological Activities of Reading. New Haven: Westview, 1998. Print.

Gottschall, Jonathan, and David Sloan Wilson, eds. The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern UP, 2005. Print.

Iser, Wolfgang. The Act of Reading: a Theory of Aesthetic Response. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1980. Print.

Iser, Wolfgang. The Implied Reader: Patterns of Communication in Prose Fiction from Bunyan to Beckett. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978. Print.

Rosenblatt, Louise M. Literature as Exploration. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1995. Print.

Scholes, Robert E., James Phelan, and Robert Kellogg. The Nature of Narrative. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.

Tompkins, Jane P. Reader-response Criticism: from Formalism to Post-structuralism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1980. Print.

Wood, James. How Fiction Works. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. Print.

Zunshine, Lisa. Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2006. Print.