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Jamie Iredell, What Happens When You Read

Jamie Iredell, founding editor of New South and fiction editor of Atticus Review, on the evolution of a reader:

What happens when you’re a reader is that you get married and you have a kid. And when that kid’s born, in her first half hour out of the womb, when she’s but this squirmy jostled thing wrapped in a blanket and crying in your arms, you begin to tell her the story of poor Prince Hamlet, who couldn’t decide. And she calms at the sound of your voice. And almost a year later, one night putting this little girl to bed, you pull out a book to read to her, one your mother recently brought from home when she visited last spring, and it’s a children’s book you forgot, but remembered once you saw the illustrations: Hush Little Baby. And you sing the words and show your little girl the pictures: Papa’s going to buy you a mockingbird. And you tell this little baby hush, so that she too can go to sleep that night, you begin teaching this girl at too early an age how to read, because you believe that it’s never too early.

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