Stephen L. Carter was a math-science nerd at Ithaca High, when his 10th-grade English teacher, Judith Dickey, taught him to read — read the hard stuff.
I read voraciously, but my choices were filling my head with junk. My mind was agile but not disciplined; quick but not reflective; I was much better at snappy answers than thoughtful ones.
. . . she offered me a deal. She would read any three books I gave her if I would read any three books she gave me. Then we would get together after school to talk. I agreed.
Best deal I ever made.
He began reading serious literature. In college,…
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