The Rhythm of Reading

karmen-mackendrick

Karmen MacKendrick

For a child from an extended family that loved both children and books, there is a sensory rhythm built into reading, an indulgence of words, pages that turn with a satisfying swish (or, later, a delicate onionskin crinkle), the voices that go with warm laps. One of my particular childhood favorites was Dorothy Haas’s A Penny for Whiffles. Penny is a girl with copper colored hair, and that she was Penny-like in two senses at once was almost too much of a pleasure. Whiffles is the onomatopoetic pony who, without knowing it, has been searching for Penny all along. His gratifying name, such a pleasure to say, made me want to pet his velvety nose. Continue Reading ›

Romance: not just a love story

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 09.50.34

Donald Hair

When in 1842 Elizabeth Barrett published a series of periodical “notices” that were her history of English poetry – a history that has been mostly ignored by her critics – the plot she chose to order her materials was romance.

Continue Reading ›

How Books Drove Me to Drink

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 10.12.06

Deborah Toner

Since embarking on the doctoral research that would eventually become my book, Alcohol and Nationhood in Nineteenth Century Mexico, I have been asked dozens, maybe even hundreds, of times how I ended up working on this subject. Continue Reading ›