I gingerly fold open the browned and stained cover of my mother's 1962 edition of The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. The title page rests despondently unattached. Dementia first stole my mother's ability to read and then slowly took her life. I cannot ask her about the annotations she made throughout this text. Still, I can read with my mother through its inscribed pencil-written notes. An object blurring the borders between happiness and suffering, presence and absence. In this essay, I contemplate how the physical object of a book and embedded traces of another's reading evoke emotions, memories, and selves.
Reading with My Mother: Books as Objects
Caryn E. Medved is Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Baruch College, City University of New York. I would like to express my gratitude to Mary Catherine Euting, my mother, who gave me her love of words. Thank you as well to Heather O'Neil and the members of my writing seminar at Sackett House, Brooklyn, NY. Correspondence to: Caryn E. Medved, Department of Communication Studies, Baruch College, City University of New York, One Bernard Baruch Way, New York, NY 10010, USA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Caryn E. Medved; Reading with My Mother: Books as Objects. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 1 June 2019; 8 (2): 44–52. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/dcqr.2019.8.2.44
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