How Reading Shapes Us

Reading literature doesn’t take place in a vacuum, nor does researching it. Both are situated activities, shaped by personal experiences, (emotional) memories, and the worlds around us. Indeed, the desire to explore narratives is often sparked early on, and critical thinking is fostered over time. The storyworlds we encounter over the years engage us as we critically engage with them, trying to understand how and why it is that they can impact us so deeply.

In an era marked by discourses that aim to diminish and disparage some shady and unfathomable ‘Other,’ we are interested in how and why scholars engage with ethnic American literatures in their work. That’s why we ask them to share with us when and how they first engaged with literary texts and how their experiences have shaped them.

The personal reading stories we hope to collect here help us better understand where different researchers are coming from and how they encounter storyworlds as a result of that. Our great thanks goes to all the scholars who participate in our project!

How Reading Shapes Us: Kareem Tayyar

It begins with Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!, by Dr. Seuss. You are three, maybe four years old, and even though it will be another few decades before you learn of the book’s veiled references to the Nixon Administration, you are already enchanted by the alluring strangeness of the world Seuss has created. It is the suburbs’ answer to Wonderland ….

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How Reading Shapes Us: Lan Dong

My earliest memory of reading and literature is associated with pocket-sized picture-story books (known as “Lian Huan Hua” in Chinese). When I was young, my mother read the stories to me; when I learned to read enough words, I read as many picture-story books as I could get my hands on. The majority of these books are illustrated adaptations or abridged versions, usually in narrative form.

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This blog was curated by Mario Grill and Marijana Mikić during their time on the project.