How to Read Now

How to Read Now Essays

An exploration and manifesto investigating the power of reading--and our potential to become radically better readers in the world--by an acclaimed novelist. How many times have we heard that reading builds empathy? That we can travel through books? How often have we were heard about the importance of diversifying our bookshelves? Or claimed that books saved our life? Of course, these beautiful words are sometimes true. But reading is—and can be—more powerful, more relevant, and more vital than we currently let it be. What do the cliches and good intentions we rely on to talk about the warm fuzzy feeling of reading gloss over or sell short when it comes to the critical skills reading fosters, and the range of emotions reading allows us to explore? Castillo illuminates—and insists upon—our potential to become better readers, readers who will wield the power of reading ruthlessly, effectively, and to startling result to enact equity, kindle authentic connection, and clear space for voices to be heard. As Castillo interrogates and reflects on the stale questions and uncritical proclamations that so often sub in for vital discussion, she takes readers on deep dives through everything from anime to the overlooked novels of Peter Handke to the art of the mix tape, all while mapping the paths toward more lively, more urgent, more inclusive reading. By widening the lens of reading to include the ways we digest all media, Elaine Castillo brings fresh philosophical and moral clout to our discussions of the power of reading.
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