Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.
How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen
Nonfiction - Essays
1998 Library of Contemporary Thought
Read in September 2000
Rating: 3/5 (Good)
Publisher's Blurb:A recurring theme throughout Anna Quindlen's How Reading Changed My Life is the comforting premise that readers are never alone. "There was waking, and there was sleeping. And then there were books," she writes, "a kind of parallel universe in which anything might happen and frequently did, a universe in which I might be a newcomer but never really a stranger. My real, true world." Later, she quotes editor Hazel Rochman: "Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but, most important, it finds homes for us everywhere." Indeed, Quindlen's essays are full of the names of "friends," real or fictional—Anne of Green Gables and Heidi; Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen, to name just a few—who have comforted, inspired, educated, and delighted her throughout her life. In four short essays Quindlen shares her thoughts on the act of reading itself ("It is like the rubbing of two sticks together to make a fire, the act of reading, an improbable pedestrian task that leads to heat and light"); analyzes the difference between how men and women read ("there are very few books in which male characters, much less boys, are portrayed as devoted readers"); and cheerfully defends middlebrow literature: Most of those so-called middlebrow readers would have readily admitted that the Iliad set a standard that could not be matched by What Makes Sammy Run? or Exodus. But any reader with common sense would also understand intuitively, immediately, that such comparisons are false, that the uses of reading are vast and variegated and that some of them are not addressed by Homer.
My Original Thoughts (2000):
Pretty good, but not as good as Ex Libris (Fadiman). A little dry and boring in spots. A few good quotes and passages. 11 great reading lists.
My Current Thoughts:
I own seven books (fiction and nonfiction) by Anna Quindlen, which I've read and loved, but this fell short of my expectations. I wish I had written down some of those good quotes and passages. Ah, well. I can probably borrow a copy from the library and see if my opinion has changed over the years.