Saturday, 12 September 2009

Book about Reading

Finished September 12
How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen
Quindlen is one of my favourite writers, and this book only adds to that feeling. In four short chapters, Quindlen talks about reading and the effect it has had on her life. The first chapter talks about the joy of reading and of being a bookworm. The second chapter talks about the development of reading in her life, the books that she started with and how she came across them. It emphasizes reading as a way to experience the other, to travel without going anywhere, to escape while still being present. The third chapter talks about the various functions of reading from literature to entertainment and the questionable idea that popularity is in inverse proportion to talent. She talks about the importance of books that lessen isolation, that make the reader feel they are not alone in their experiences. She talks about books that have been controversial and what that means. The fourth chapter discusses rereading, indicating that it is not only children that go back to favourite books again and again. She also talks about the inspirations for writing, and how it is not the "geniuses" like Shakespeare that inspire, but the authors who make one feel that "I can do that". She discusses what authors lead her to write and inspired her to keep writing. This chapter also discusses progress and the false predictions about the demise of different writings that are occuring now as well as those from the past.
Following this she includes several book lists that are both interesting and useful.
I could relate to most of what she wrote here, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This will definitely be one of my rereads, as are one or two that she mentions as favourites.

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