How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen: B

From the back cover:
“Reading has always been my home, my sustenance, my great invincible companion. ‘Book love,’ Trollope called it. ‘It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live.’ Yet of all the many things in which we recognize some universal comfort—God, sex, food, family, friends—reading seems to be the one in which the comfort is most undersung, at least publicly, although it was really all I thought of, or felt, when I was eating up book after book, running away from home while sitting in [a] chair, traveling around the world and yet never leaving the room. I did not read from a sense of superiority, or advancement, or even learning. I read because I loved it more than any other activity on earth.”

—from How Reading Changed My Life

This book was really short, so I reckoned on being able to get through it quickly. Turns out I got bogged down quite a bit in the beginning, but eventually made my way through it. There were many observations that resonated with my own experience, including a hypothesis for why women in particular seem drawn to fiction and this bit here:

While we pay lip service to the virtues of reading, the truth is that there is still in our culture something that suspects those who read too much, whatever reading too much means, of being lazy, aimless dreamers, people who need to grow up and come outside to where real life is.

How often I have encountered that perception!

There were a dozen or so top ten lists of recommendations at the back of the book. I took the time to comb through all of the unfamiliar titles and ended up adding about twenty to my “must read someday” list. This book might not’ve excited me with its ruminations upon reading, but at least it came from someone who loves the act as much as I do and who could direct me to books I’d not previously discovered on my own.

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