Incantations: The Magic of Reading Aloud

 

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The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (Lovecraft cover art) by Gervasio Gallardo (b. 1934)

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I have read this very strange novel to myself and once to my then 3 year son, who loved it when I read him anything. I have complicated relationship with this book as it has some very gruesome imagery and troublesome ideas about people of other than white skin. All mostly going over my 3 year old’s nutty little head. He is now in his thirties and seems well adjusted, at least as much as most sane people are these days. So I think probably the book did not have a huge effect on his developing mind. He loved the picture on the cover of the book probably as much as the words, but most of all he just loved words read aloud. When I was reading to him, he would for a short time not be talking, except to ask questions (usually about what a certain interesting sounding word meant).  Mostly what my children got from me reading to them was not great ideas or even good stories but the ability to imagine and think about words and the power to create or evoke images and ideas with sounds and symbols for sounds. It is a magical thing: marks on paper are symbols for sounds that when put together in the right sequence transfer meaning from one mind to another. It is debatable whether the meaning will be what the author intended. But, it doesn’t matter, as long as the magic works, words and combinations of words mean something to all readers, each will come away with some different flavor of what the author thought he was saying and that is magic enough. 

This entry was posted in Being Human, Books, Check this out, Fiction, mindworks, my life, my museum of inspiration, personal history, philosophy, Teaching and Learning, thinking in words, Word play and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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