In case you hadn’t heard, Maryanne Wolf’s Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain is a “blindingly fascinating” book — as William Leith explains in the Telegraph:
Its point is that, when you sit on a chair and pick up a book, a huge amount of stuff is happening. And that stuff …. is some of the most important stuff you can imagine.
Reading, says Wolf, changed history. More than that, it changes the brain. It creates new pathways in the brain, and, by doing this, makes us think in new ways. When you read, you see letters written on a page, then you recognise them as representations of sounds made by the human voice, then you join the sounds together to make words, then you fit the words together into sentences.
This takes an amazing amount of ultra-fast processing. Brains that do this are different from brains that don’t.