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Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World
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Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,272 ratings  ·  260 reviews
The author of the acclaimed Proust and the Squid follows up with a lively, ambitious, and deeply informative book that considers the future of the reading brain and our capacity for critical thinking, empathy, and reflection as we become increasingly dependent on digital technologies.


A decade ago, Maryanne Wolf’s Proust and the Squid revealed what we know about how the
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ebook, 288 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Harper (first published August 7th 2018)
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Kim Hoag Since a different neurological reading process has evolved with devices, the author does tell you what would happen if you read it electronically.…moreSince a different neurological reading process has evolved with devices, the author does tell you what would happen if you read it electronically. (less)

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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  1,272 ratings  ·  260 reviews


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Lisa
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dear Fellow Reader,

In the spirit of the book, allow me to address you in the old-fashioned way of a personal letter, directly pointing at You, Goodreads Reader, who by your very presence on this site already embrace the new biliterate reading brain Maryanne Wolf suggests for our digital era. I have a faible for Wo(o)lfs in literature, and after Virginia and Christa, Maryanne is the third bright star in my collection of influential Wolfs. Reading her Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science
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Carmen
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Have Read the Amazon Preview And Still Want to Continue
The unsettling reality, however, is that unbeknownst to many of us, including until recently myself, there has begun an unanticipated decline of empathy among our young people. 50

This quote is a good jumping-off point for the review - it not only demonstrates Wolf's "OMG, think of the CHILDREN!" pov but also shows of her writing ability or lack thereof.

Wolf never uses 15 words where she can use 60. She never uses a 'common' word when she can use a longer, lesser-known one.

Her whole schtick is
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Rose
Jul 26, 2018 added it
DNF. I'm sure a lot people will enjoy this book and its insights into the brain, but it just didn't work for me. I'd probably enjoy it far more as a podcast series...which I'm sure says something damning about my brain the digital world.

I don't dispute that Wolf has very valid concerns about our brains' development in the digital age but this reads like a shallow literature review. Telling me what Wendell Berry, Marcel Proust, Emily Dickinson, and Deitrich Bonhoeffer thought and said are great.
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Bon Tom
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This whole book is a tribute to something called Deep Reading. That's the skill, real magic you once had, probably as a child, when membership in local library meant entry to the worlds beyond the senses. That was your first pay-per-view service. Except, you didn't have to pay for any cheap shit entertainment, and you didn't actually view. You imagined. Hours passed. You ventured into the story and you came back, changed, more creative, with new materials for real, organic play under the sun and ...more
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Maryanne Wolf is a neuroscientist and teacher with a strong literary bent. Her writing is warm and idealistic and geared for bringing back the kind of immersive reading practices that lead to the deep and contemplative life of the mind. She has misgivings about what digital culture is making such practice and habits of the mind harder and harder and worries that we will lose something vital if it goes unchecked. She worries about the effects of digital media on both Children and Adults but ...more
Kathryn Bashaar
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I kind of proved this book's point by my reaction to it. First, I felt like Wolf was taking too long to make her point in each "letter" (each chapter is written in the form of a letter to her reader). I am used to business communication, which is all about bullet points, visuals and not wasting your executive's time. Second, I skipped the chapters about children because I am not a teacher, nor currently the parent of a young child.
Which just proves her point. I am a voracious reader and yet
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May Ling
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Summary: From her last book, I think she was asked to write a book that was more in line with what the masses could understand. In this regard, she dumbed her intense thinking down a lot. Still 4 stars, but a prefer Wolf unfiltered.

Reader, Come Home is a series of letters on various topics. To me, these were a bit obvious platitudes about feelings on how the digital age is destroying critical thinking, reading deeply and more. If you need that type of thing for your research or understanding of
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Abby
“When you read carefully, you are more able to discern what is true and to add it to what you know. Ralph Waldo Emerson described this aspect of reading in his extraordinary speech ‘The American Scholar’: ‘When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion. Every sentence is doubly significant.’ In reading research, the cognitive psychologist Keith Stanovich suggested something similar some time ago about the development of
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Carol Tilley
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: education, reading
This book pissed me off.
Manzoor Elahi
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading is an act of contemplation... an act of resistance in a landscape of distraction ... it returns us to a reckoning with time.
—David Ulin

The question isn’t what will books become in a world of electronic reading. The question is what will become of the readers we’ve been — quiet, thoughtful, patient, abstracted — in a world where interactive can be too tempting to ignore.
—Verlyn Klinkenborg

The average person consumes about 34 gigabytes across varied devices each day. Basically, that is the
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Robin Bonne
Aug 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This was agist and biased. Eeee.
Young people still read, though this author tried to convince me that people my age don’t read anymore.
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Andy
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, library, non-fiction
Whether you agree with Wolf or not, her new book is important and not just for educators, librarians, and those with children.
Thomas
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, audiobooks, science
I agree with many of the points Wolf makes, and I share her love of reading, concern for a lack of deep thinking and attention, etc. Unfortunately, I just don't think she adequately establishes a connection between the skimming habits of digital reading and the impending collapse of democracy (for example). People are terrible readers, and democracy may indeed be collapsing, but it's not always straightforward to connect the two. The link between something like "good" reading and society/culture ...more
Lissa
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edelweiss
I wanted to read this book immediately after I saw it listed because I am a devoted reader and a fan of this author's other work, but to be honest, what I got out of it instead was a wakeup call. As the parent of three school-age children, I encourage reading and definitely lead by example, but the siren call of the IPad can at times overrule. According to this book, we are definitely not alone with this dilemma. Maryanne Wolf's writing is not always easy, and requires the deep reading that she ...more
Melissa
This is fine. It’s better than Wolf’s previous book, IMO, in how she describes the science and research into “the reading brain.” But I can’t shake the feeling that a) it’s a bit Chicken Little/the-sky-is-falling at times, b) there’s a weirdly elitist bent to certain sections (why choose the deepest Herman Hesse deep cut for a re-reading faux experiment?), and c) if we’re worried about KIDS not being able to develop “deep reading” or the ability to critically evaluate new information due to ...more
GONZA
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book about the author was about reading in generale and the way reading makes a path in our brain and how the difficulties of reading can create a different path. This one, that comes after 10 years, devolves in the way digital reading is making new changes in our brain and in our way to read. I found this book better than the first one, more interesting, but I cannot avoid to say that sometimes the author and I came to very different conclusions, but I'm sure it is my fault. That said ...more
Donna
The author discusses how a change in what we read and how we read is affecting the brains of both the young and old.

It took me four months to finish this book but overall, I'm very glad I did. I have never in my life (prior to this), while reading the library book, felt the need to go out and buy the book just so I can make pencil lines and comments. There were just so many 'ah-ha' moments!

Here's the biggest points I'm taking out of the book: Part of the reading process includes learning words,
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Katie/Doing Dewey
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: booksonbooks
While I love books about books, it seems like books on reading generally make me grumpy. While I'd like to learn to read better, but the books on the topic have made me realize that I'm attached to my own approach. Many of the techniques these authors suggest don't work for me and their tone often strikes me as smug or condescending. This particular book is about the differences between reading electronic and print versions of a text and about the way reading online may be changing our reading ...more
Alicia
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’m a bit disappointed that it didn’t keep my attention (and there’s some irony to that!) as much as the messages in the first book so many years ago. There was an understanding that our brains are changing in this future era of reading so is it because I’ve already read a bit about it that I want as engaged?

I know I didn’t like her formatting approach. Writing letters with subheadings was a way to organize it and showcase certain elements from the past yet it didn’t get the point across as
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Ana Calabresi
So much to think about! I loved the reflection. She talks about things that have bothered me for some time now, like our diminished capacity to remember things and focus.
Keith Akers
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dear people worried about the digital revolution:

The author is also well-known for Proust and the Squid, which was about how reading changed our brains. I hadn't read that book, but this book seems to pick up where that one left off. As she finished that previous book, she realized that just during the time that she had been writing it, the "reading brain" had changed because of the internet and social media. And, for the worse.

Wolf's book, written as a series of letters, is just one of
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Nazrul Buang
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I once came across an article by the author on The Guardian, about how skimming is the new form of reading, and the pernicious effects it will have on the current generation. I decided to read the author's book to fully understand her stance on the need for 'deep reading'.

With the advent of technology, different mediums have emerged and now people are spending more time reading off screens, perhaps more than on the pages of a book. And, as technology is bombarding us with more information within
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Becky Pliego
Interesting and engaging. The author made some very important points that I had already noticed had been happening in my own reading life--and it was good to see that I need to make some changes in my reading habits.

She starts and ends her book standing on the evolution of species, which is, of course, a totally different ground from where I stand.
Lovely Loveday
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reader Come Home by Maryanne Wolf focuses on the reading brain in a digital word. A book that reveals how much technology in today’s world has impacted the way we read and comprehend. Many readers only skim the pages, not reading every word and not fully comprehending what they are reading. The reason many readers only skim is because life pulls them in so many directions that they do not have time to sit down and savor each word in a good book. So, they skim read, only retaining what they ...more
Jeri
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book should be given to every prospective parent along with their prenatal vitamins. It should be required reading in every teacher education course. I expected something along the lines of the usual "we're losing our attention span" diatribe, but I was so wrong. Wolf writes a thoughtful, persuasive and far-reaching analysis of how our distracted, online lives impact our ability not just to focus, but to build stores of internal knowledge that affect our ability to make analogies, ...more
dv
This is an important book to be read today because it stresses the importance of reading in forming a "well-shaped" person able to walk into the world with civic sense, compassion, empathy and critical abilities, exactly what we're currently about to lose because of the speed and superficiality of the new medias. The book is nicely constructed as a series of letter and even if it predictably indulges a bit too much (at least for me) in neuro-science data, it does well its job and should be a ...more
Charlene
Apr 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I was disappointed in this . . . have been trying to read it for months now but never got beyond page 36 so have finally, officially, given up for now.
I heard Maryanne Wolf speak several years ago & she was excellent then at conveying her interesting ideas about how the switch from oral to print and now to digital changes the very nature of our brains (as well as our culture).
Maybe my own brain has been affected because I can't follow the long paragraphs & find the information
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Christine Fitzgerald
Written from the perspective of a true lover of literature who enjoys celebrating the human-driven achievement that is the reading brain. I would summarize this informative book as a cautionary tale of what is happening to readers these days or lack of readers. Enjoyable read but sometimes I felt my brain having a rough time handling the complex text, I’m sure that is some reflection of my 21st century brain.
Sara
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Once again, Maryanne Wolf has produced a fascinating read, grounded in extensive research and her own ethically-minded questioning of how digital media is impacting the way we now read and the way in which young people are being taught to read in both print and digital forms. Good stuff.
Brian
Nov 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
I do not recommend this book.
I actually disliked it so much in fact – thought it was so biased and self-righteously written – that I was driven to create a special “not-recommended” tab for my bookshelf on Goodreads.

I’m going to start my review with “letter four” from the middle of this book. Letter four is truly, deeply bad. This author’s elitism cannot be excused. It all started earlier as she constantly addresses the reader with “we, the expert readers” know/believe/trust/expect/etc. I
...more
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Maryanne Wolf received her doctorate from Harvard University in the Department of Human Development and Psychology in the Graduate School of Education, where she began her work on the neurological underpinnings of reading, language, and dyslexia. Professor Wolf was awarded the Distinguished Professor of the Year Award from the Massachusetts Psychological Association, and also the Teaching ...more
“In childhood, he declared, the word-rich get richer and the word-poor get poorer, a phenomenon he called the “Matthew Effect”41 after a passage in the New Testament. There is also a Matthew-Emerson Effect for background knowledge: those who have read widely and well will have many resources to apply to what they read; those who do not will have less to bring, which, in turn, gives them less basis for inference, deduction, and analogical thought and makes them ripe for falling prey to unadjudicated information, whether fake news or complete fabrications. Our young will not know what they do not know. Others, too. Without sufficient background” 3 likes
“I still bought many books, but more and more I read in them, rather than being whisked away by them. At some time impossible to pinpoint, I had begun to read more to be informed than to be immersed, much less to be transported.” 3 likes
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