What Is Reading For?

Robert Bringhurst

Bringhurst’s small pamphlets (always lovingly designed and printed) are among my favorite things. This one is, unsurprisingly, a full-throated defense of the book.

A Reader on Reading

Alberto Manguel

A series of essays from the author of A History of Reading that explores the reader’s perspective.

Days of Reading

Marcel Proust

Proust’s meditations on reading, and the gifts that writers leave their readers. Best read slowly.

Orality and Literacy

Walter J. Ong

Perhaps the only book I’ve discovered that carefully and thoroughly addresses the differences between oral and literate cultures.

Proust and the Squid

Maryanne Wolf

Wolf addresses the ways in which the brain adapts—or fails to adapt—to reading.

A History of Reading

Alberto Manguel

Manguel’s lifelong dedication to reading plays itself out in a work that follows reading from clay tablets to present day.

While You’re Reading

Gerard Unger

Directed at the layman instead of the serious typographer, Unger’s book is a breezy overview of the science of reading.