Bookworms : great writers and readers celebrate reading

by Laura Furman

Other authorsElinore Standard (Author)
Paper Book, 1997




New York : Carroll & Graf Publishers, c1997.


Presents a variety of excerpts from nineteenth and twentieth-century British and American authors that describe the joys of reading.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Laurenbdavis
A terrific collection of essays, poems, letters and quotes about books and reading from such folks as Alan Bennett, Zora Neale Hurston, Tobias Wolff, Jane Austen, Eudora Welty, Anthony Trollope, Frederick Douglass, Richard Wright, Miep Gies . . . well, the list goes on. It's a well-thought out collection, beginning with a section on "The Young Reader" and then moving through "Sorts of Readers," "Reading Aloud", "Reading Ahead", Queen Lear," and "The Privileged Pleasure".

I do think parts might have been shortened. I found myself losing interest a wee bit in the "Reading Aloud" section. However, the "Queen Lear" section was terrific. It was prefaced by this brief statement: "In times of difficulty, readers often turn to literature to understand the wordless world around them. It is also the case that sometimes reading leads to more, and worse, trouble." The section is named for an essay by David Denby, in which he examines King Lear in light of what it has to teach him about his relationship to his supremely difficult mother. It's a fantastic piece, and one which I (having a difficult mother of my own) found wonderfully inspiring and useful.

Although I had read some of the pieces before - such as those by Richard Wright (a beautiful examination on how books awakening him), Frederick Douglass and others, I didn't mind revisiting them, as I might any old friend. Then, too, Leslie Marmon Silko's piece, taken from "Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit" highlighted by being lifted out of the longer work, looked utterly new and surprising to my eyes, although I read the book from which it was taken years ago.

Of course, for someone who loves books, reading about how much other people love them, how they came to discover this love, and what it has meant to their development and there lives, is always a hugely satisfying pleasure, since one likes to feel one belongs in such great company. Books and reading are an open invitation to join the Great Conversation.

I suggest the interested reader (and I hope there would be many of you), let this book rest in a place in your home where you'll pick it up often, reading a piece today, another tomorrow, paced at the level of your curiosity. Skip if you feel like, but give each piece a chance. You might be surprised by your discoveries.
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