“I didn’t really understand what reading was for. If I wanted a story, the thing to do was to get my grandmother to read it to me. Then listening to her voice, her story-reading voice which always sounded a little incredulous, marvelling, yet full of faith, bravely insistent, and watching her face, its meaningful and utterly familiar expressions—lifted eyebrows, ominously sinking chin, brisk little nods of agreement when, as sometimes happened, a character said something sensible—then I would feel the story grow into life and exist by itself, so that it hardly seemed to me that she was reading it out of a book at all; it was something she had created herself, out of thin air… But one summer I had the whooping-cough, and afterwards I could not go swimming or jump off the beams in the barn or boss my little brother, because by that time he had the whooping-cough himself. My grandmother was off somewhere, visiting other cousins. So I swung on my swing until I got dizzy, and then for no reason in particular I took the Child’s History out of the bookcase in the front room, and sat down on the floor and started to read.” Alice Munro writes about A Child’s History of England, the first book she ever read.
Nobody wants to be a Hufflepuff! Over at The Atlantic, David Sims defends the oft-maligned Harry Potter house for their egalitarian ethos and general goodness. At The Millions, Michelle Dean’s essay about the value of J.K. Rowling’s Potter series will have you wanting to give them a re-read.
“I hate the idea that you must write every day because I really can’t do that. Sometimes the aching bones in my body will not allow it.” Electric Literature interviews three writers—Keah Brown, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Jillian Weise—about disability, publishing, and accessibility. From our archives: Wang’s 2016 Year in Reading entry.
“Of course the evening ends with Abbi and Ilana in the bath, together, passing their ‘weed’ from one mouth to another. But I am chilled, less comforted somehow. How are these people anything less than confused, every hour of every day? How on earth, how in all of Eros, do women know which vote to cast, which life to elect as their own?” The Diary of Anaïs Nin While Watching Broad City courtesy of Laura Eppinger at The Rumpus.