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An Illiterate Writer...

An Illiterate Writer...

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/92872186/92875621" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

So mystery writer Howard Engel wakes up after a stroke one day and realizes that he has forgotten how to read. That's what his memoir Man Who Forgot How to Read is all about, well not quite, but you get the idea.
This captured my imagination from the moment I heard the pitch. I think the reason is that I recently heard an episode of WNYC's Radio Lab about a man who woke up one day and had "forgotten" how to walk (I'm sure that I'm butchering the scientific description of the loss of proprioception, but who doesn't?)
Moving on: so my first question was, if you forget how to read, can you still write? And if so what's the difference between reading and writing? When you forget how to read is it that you forget how to string letters together, or is it that you forget what a letter "Q" looks like?
Those are my questions, the first of them anyhow. What are yours?
And as an aside: I know this is a bit of a high-concept show for a Thursday afternoon, but stick with me... These conversations are incredibly compelling. Remember the interview we did about Mike May and his story about going from being blind to having sight Crashing Through. it was amazing!

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