I have been thinking about talk over the last few weeks as I work on the talk I will give at the opening session of the ALAN Workshop in less than 2 weeks (eek!). I did this talk 4 years ago (and I can recall how long it has been because I had a Sarah Palin joke in it that I hoped I would not have to remove after the election results). I do not recall much from the talk except some people liked it (got a HUGE bear hug from a friend as I left the podium). I read through that talk last night. I wanted to revisit it for a couple of reasons. First, I did not want to repeat myself. But second, I wanted to go back and see what still might resonate as I drafted this current talk. It was in this re-visiting, this re-reading if you will, that I saw something I had not noticed before. something that will wend its way into this talk, too.
But the talk I suspect I wanted to discuss (the talk I would talk about?) has to do with books and talk. Right now I am reading three different books using Subtext. Three separate groups, three different books. One book is familiar to me due to repeated readings. One is sort of familiar; the third is new. I am going to be curious to see what I have to talk about in each case. Even more curious about what my fellow readers will talk about, too. That is the value of talk when it comes to books. It just never seems to fail that, as I listen to someone else talk about a book I have read, I have those "AHA!" moments when I think, "Gee, that's a new way of looking at it!" Thanks to book talk I have seen things in books I missed first time through. That is why I have loved my time on selection committees. As I sit and listen to someone passionate about a book, I find myself able to reconsider it, see it with fresh eyes: the eyes of the passionate reader. And when the passionate reader is one of our students? Well, those are the moments we live for, right?