• Proust and the Squid

  • The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
  • By: Maryanne Wolf
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 08-26-08
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 (220 ratings)

Regular price: $23.07

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Publisher's Summary

Interweaving her vast knowledge of neurology, sociology, psychology, and philosophy with fascinating down-to-earth examples and lively personal anecdotes, developmental psychologist, neuroscientist, and dyslexia expert Wolf probes the question, "How do we learn to read and write?" This ambitious and provocative new book offers an impassioned look at reading, its effect on our lives, and explains why it matters so greatly in a digital era.
©2007 Maryanne Wolf (P)2008 HighBridge Company
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Critic Reviews

"Wolf's alarm about the spread of semi- literacy among the young is obviously justified, and her book provokes thought about it as only reading can." ( Sunday Times London)
"Blindingly fascinating...detailed and scholarly....There's a lot of difficult material in here. But it's worth the effort....For people interested in language, this is a must. You'll find yourself focusing on words in new ways. Read it slowly--it will take time to sink in." ( The Sunday Telegraph)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Sara on 02-17-15

Learning To Read & Write

A fascinating exploration into how the brain learns to read and to write. This is not dry science but a mix of stories and complex theory on how the brain works and why things go wrong as in dyslexia.

I think the title has to do with the contrast between the high functioning exploration of thoughts and detail, the Proust part of the title, and the base, more automatic functioning of a simple creature like the Squid. Much of reading and writing is a mix of these two ends of the spectrum. An interplay of the automatic and the carefully focused and dwelt upon. Just a thought.

I throughly enjoyed the book and Potters narration. Recommended if you like seeing things you do each day explored and explained by an expert.

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26 of 27 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Roy on 06-28-09

Worth the Effort

"Proust and the Squid" is the title of this book, but I am not certain why. Here, Maryanne Wolf sets out to describe how reading came into being, the human brains adaptation to accommodate that process, and how children learn to read. This is well worth the listeners' time and will reward the effort, but it has little to do with Prouse (or squid for that matter).

That said, there are passages which are technical. Those are handled well by Wolf and I hope that she will continue to write for the general public. Over time, she will develop a lighter style. Her topic is certainly important to all of us and she needs to heard.

I personally want to hear more about her theories concerning how access to Google, the World Wide Web and other technology will change our culture and how we process information. She hints at changes that might be on the horizon, but left me wanting to hear more.

The second half of the book is devoted to dyslexia. I benefited greatly from hearing what she has to say. However, the second half did really link to the sections which preceeded. The first and second sections were related to "reading" but could have been separate works. I hope that she will develop a book on dyslexia alone. She speculates that the human brain has adapted to accommodate reading. The dyslexia is a through back to the past. I would like to know more.

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13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By S. O'NEILL on 06-24-10

Read this?

I found this book fascinating. It's very scientific, and you do have to concentrate hard, but the author really explores how we learn to read, what happens in our brains when we do; how reading developed; and then goes on to explore why these things go wrong and what causes dyslexia etc. I would have given it 5 stars - but it is a book that is, unsurprisingly, written to be read rather than listened to. This occasionally leads to the frustration of being asked to read a passage and see what happens - when, of course, all you can do is sit and listen (and Ms Wolf is clear to point out that listening fires different centres in your brain to those fired up by reading). If you are interested in what goes on in the little grey cells when you pick up a book - and it is quite literally mind blowing - then this is an accessible and fascinating listen.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Kevin on 07-10-09

Inspiring Science!

Being a sucker for a quirky title I was instantly drawn to this book only to find there is more hard science in it than would normally be to my taste. Admittedly much of the scientific terminology does pass me by but the author makes very clear the potential implications of the science which is the bit I'm interested in.

I find the authors concern for literacy a little worthy as her own analysis of would seem to suggest we are heading for a new form of literacy rather than some form of "sub-literate" state. It's not a barrier though and the the book is both informative, moving and inspiring.

Other texts which touch on dyslexia I find a little patronising whereas this one is not.

A wonderful listen that I'd recommend to every educator, parent and person interested in language and reading (for the educators I'd make it compulsory).

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By pooheadpope on 07-05-17

So inspired!

Never before have I gone out to buy a book directly after listening to the audiobook. So many great sound bites that I can't wait to share with colleagues.

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