Books in her Voice


When the Grasshopper reads, I wonder what she hears.

When I read, I used to hear the words in my head as if I was speaking with the voices of the characters, as if they were telling the story to me in my own voice.  I would carefully pronounce strange names in my mind and almost whisper the dialogue.  By middle school, I lost that.  Too many books, too fast, and my reading pace increased from a clip to a run.  Now, I don’t hear voices at all when I read.  A cousin of mine in Japan talked about reading Kanji, how it is like an instant data dump of information into your mind.  For me, so is reading English.  I don’t have time to hear the words or the voices.  The book simply connects with my brain and we sync our data.  I like the intimacy of this.  The words disappear and instead of letters and punctuation, I see colors and hills and people living their lives.  I step into an alternate reality like Neil Stephenson’s Metaverse.

Still, looking over at my daughter reading, her lips whispering the words, I wonder.  Does she hear the words in her head yet?  Do the characters speak to her in her own voice?


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