The Rhythm of Reading


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

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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.

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How Books Drove Me to Drink

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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 ›