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?