Audiobook Review: Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf

by Kim on November 3, 2010 · 22 comments

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Title: Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
Author: Maryanne Wolf
Genre: Nonfiction
Year: 2007
Acquired: From the library

Review: From what I can remember about the audio, I’m confident that Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf would be a well written, informative, and interesting book. But it just didn’t work well for me as an audio book, despite really lovely narration by Kirsten Potter.

Part of that is my problem – I listened to the book in two separate long drives and definitely forgot most of the first part by the time I got to the second drive. Since the book is a continually building argument about the evolution of the reading brain, not being able to remember the early parts of the book was a disadvantage.

But more broadly, it also seems odd to listen to a book that’s all about reading; there’s some weird cognitive dissonance there that I couldn’t quite get over. Wolf includes a few examples – asking the reader to read a passage and then reflect on it – that just don’t work on audio.

Still, the reason I’m pretty confident that it will be a great book to read is that the last few chapters, which focus on dyslexia research and mysteries of the human brain as it acquires reading, were fascinating — I was totally enthralled with what our brains have adapted to do, and I knew that I wanted to go back and get the full book myself.

I finished the audio book, but on looking back I sort of wish I’d just stopped and decided to read the book later. Luckily, I already have a paperback version, which means I’ll be sitting down to actually read it when the mood strikes.

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

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