All things bookish!

Spectator Reading

When I was in High School I was in the top English class.  My teacher was a mousey woman named Mrs Brown.  I’ll never forget her – she praised my writing and encouraged me to read outside my comfort zone.  One of her suggestions was that I read The Spectator. I tried.  In fact, I subscribed to the publication.  But, at 14 or 15, I simply couldn’t get through it and the magazines gathered dust until my mother threw them away.  I was left feeling guilty and slightly deficient.

Fast forward to me, aged 38, exploring my Kindle.  I learn that one can subscribe to magazines via the device and wonder if any of my current titles are included.  They’re not.  But The Spectator is.  And there’s a month’s free trial available.  I’ve already proved that I can’t read (what I consider to be) high-brow publications – haven’t I?  I play with the idea for a while.  Yes, I’d like to read something ‘news-y’ on the Kindle.  Yes, I do watch the news a lot more now than when I was 15.  Yes, I can cancel after the first, free month if I want to.  Yes, I’m going to click ‘Subscribe’ eventually so why not just get on with it?

A few moments later, I’m reading the first article.  I understand it and can follow the argument.  I move on to the next.  And the next.  And the next.  And I realise I’m reading The Spectator and, moreover, I’m enjoying it.  It’s not long before the magazine is finished and I’m wondering what the next publication date is.

It seems that my ability as a reader has developed over the past however-many years and this is encouraging me to revisit texts I’ve previously discarded.  I learned last year that I can read Shakespeare and now it seems I can manage another sector of the written world.  I wonder what I’ll try next?

How has your reading developed over the years?


Comments on: "Spectator Reading" (4)

  1. I think that many of us are influenced by teachers when we are in our later teens. Likewise, I was influenced by a teacher, who was senior master called Mr Tanner. He loved reading all the Orwell texts and got me to really think about what the characters really represented. Between Mr T and the help if Miss Russell who taught me history and greatly influenced my love of history, I flew through my O level Eng Lit and History. Also I think now our reading is influenced by the people we each become, which is a result of the people who help us on the way to adulthood.

    Incidentally, when we first moved here there was a huge rambling antique shop on the site of a former hotel. On a rummaging visit I found a lovely, but not undamaged edition of the Spectator for 1715. It is a beauty, and does have damage to the front cover. If you are interested I can always lend it to you.

    • laura0141 said:

      Hi Julie

      Thanks for commenting. I’m thinking that we all carry things from childhood or adolescence over into adulthood and I know I tend not to question those things. But I am starting to wonder how many of them are actually true. Maybe 2011’s the year I’ll find out?

      How lovely to have such an old copy of the magazine – I’m sure it’s very precious to you. Please don’t post it in case it gets lost but I’d love to see it if we get the chance to meet up at some point in the future.


  2. Your self observation holds true for me, too. There are a couple books that I began at one point and had to set aside because I just couldn’t ‘get into them’. After a few months – or most likely years! – I tried again. I’ve been able to get through two of the ‘problem’ books. I haven’t tried again with “To Know Christ Jesus” by F. J. Sheed, probably cuz I don’t want to fail again. I’ll get up the nerve again … I hope it coincides with my ability to concentrate more fully on the work!

    A family friend always gave me classic novels as a teenager. I remember her very fondly. My English teachers were also supportive and favorite teachers, but I remember them as encouraging writing more than reading. Maybe because I didn’t need encouragement to read. However, I sure wish they or hte book-mobile ladies had pointed out classics to me as a middle and high school student. I’ve always felt that I wasted a lot of time reading ditsy romance novels when I could have been reading Emma or Pride & Prejudice much earlier in life.

    Thanks for your prayers, BTW. I do appreciate any and all.

    • notjustlaura said:

      Thanks so much for visiting, Suzie.

      I guess I was lucky with my teachers – I do remember being encouraged to read more stretching books when I was still reading well loved Pullein-Thompson pony books but was capable of more.

      Take care 🙂

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