Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Simple Act of Reading' edited by Debra Adelaide

Let's start with the title. The act of reading is anything but simple, as Fiona McFarlane and Gabrielle Carey both point out. Eyes, brain, and mind cooperate to create from a series of symbols with no intrinsic representative value a coherent message, or some amusing nonsense, or a persuasive argument, or a boring anecdote, or a parade of transparent lies.

Debra Adelaide has collected several previously published essays, and added to them several more written especially for this project, which might be described, succinctly, as writers on reading. As she explains in her introduction, the object of the book is to support young readers and writers through the Sydney Story Factory, and many contributors have chosen to write about their formative reading experiences.

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