Oh, Reader Magazine: Reading in Another Tongue

I’ve just finished reading the brilliant Walking (走路) by the Taiwanese writer Lung Yingtai (龍應台) and the book was an absolute delight: an account of small journeys on foot and small encounters, both funny and moving. It’s been a while since I’ve read any book-length works in Chinese, and so this was the ideal book to ease myself back into a more regular Chinese reading habit.

Reading in a second or third language is always a challenge. But it brings with it all kinds of extra delights. So I’m really pleased to have a piece in the most recent issue of the delicious _Oh, Reader _magazine about the unexpected pleasures of reading in languages in which you are not yet fluent. In the piece I write about Saint Augustine and Saint Ambrose, about the childhood experience (miraculous at the time) of learning to read in my head, and about how reading in another tongue lets you journey back upstream to childhood experiences of reading, when words were things, strange and opaque.

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