Reading in the dark

book-spines

Mrs. Greengage, Peter’s English teacher in Boy & Girl has some strange methods to get recalcitrant boys interested in books and reading. Here’s an extract. It begins with Greengage talking to a blindfolded Peter during a private lesson.

“Just run your hands along the back of the books. Try to read them with you fingertips.”

Some bindings were flat and cold. Others bulged with their curved backs pressing outwards. Then there was the embossed lettering that climbed the length of the spine. When his fingers strayed, he caught a taste of the pages that lay behind, rough under his fingertips. Moving along a shelf, his index trailing across the spines, he was aware of the difference in size of the books. Some lasted forever, like fat old men planted on a branch. Others were thin and aerial, like fairies that might flit away at any moment.

“Good.” She startled him him. He’d completely forgotten she was there. “Now explore with your nose.”

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