The Art of Reading: 'omnivorous and inspiring'

I was recently reviewed and interviewed by UK journalist Sarah Ditum for In The Moment magazine. It was an absolute corker of a conversation--Sarah was a pleasure to chat with. (In fact, there wasn't room in print for the whole rollicking discussion.) Here's an excerpt: Taking a cynical view, a book about how to read books could sound like the ultimate in redundancy: if you can read it, you might reason, then you don't need it, and if you can't read it then it's definitely no good to you. After all, you know how to read. You probably learned in your first years at primary school, or even before. What more to it is there? Quite a lot, actually, and Damon Young's purpose in this elegant volume

TLS: why be a reader?

The Art of Reading was recently reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement. In 'Another Heart Beating', Jenny Hendrix considers my book alongside two others: Ann Hood's Morningstar and Michelle Kuo's Reading With Patrick. An excerpt: become a good reader is not that different from developing what used to be called “character”. As Young puts it, “Reading artfully requires a fragile poise between proclivities: thought and feeling, spontaneity and habit, deference and critique, haste and slowness, boldness and caution, commitment and detachment” – in other words, it asks for a balance of reason and desire, a kind of moderation. Like Aristotle, Young calls this balance “virtue” – in classic

A guide for hungry bibliophiles

I wrote a feature on our hunger for reading for The Independent in Ireland: 'A guide for hungry bibliophiles'. Starting with the voracious literary appetites of Albert Camus, I discuss how we can eat well, so to speak. Camus consumed words, and then digested their fantasies of comedy and heroism, metabolising them until they were him. His desire for life pushed him to fight, to hammer, to kick - and crack those cloth spines, with their scent of ink and glue. When I picture my own boyhood and youth, it is, among other things, less savoury, an endless meal of these literary courses. Like Camus, I was as starved for text as I was for salt water swimming and fried chicken and, later, a glimpse o

The Art of Reading: "an invitation to dance..."

There was a generous and elegant review of The Art of Reading in Bookanista this weekend: 'A biblical paradise', by Mika Provata-Carlone. At the very end of the book, having offered us rare instruction into the art of reading, colourful admonition against its pitfalls and resounding paeans about its vital necessity, Young bequeaths us no less than a full-sized library: in his last chapter, ‘The Lumber Room’, a title he borrows from Saki, Young feels his way across the volumes that have marked him as a reader and as a thinker, shaped his perception and his sensibility. Not only for their content, but also for their physicality and aesthetic beauty, introducing us to quartos, first editions, “

All along the (comics) watchtower

I recently had a great chat to Jeremy from Comics Watchtower about comics and general geekery. You can listen to the conversation here. We begin with The Art of Reading, and my picture books, then learning to read with Asterix (and why I'm a better parent than my parents). Then onto the Dark Knight: the death of Robin, which introduced me to an adult world of mortality (or so I thought), and Batman's Nietzschean beauty. We chat about the Punishers: from the 'eighties hero of gadgets and quips, to the numb, 'naughties Punisher of Ennis. What might become of a killer like Frank Castle, this 'experiment in the psychology of hate'? And why is the less gory Punisher more 'sick'? Then I hold forth

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