Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


****Remarkable Reads

34 Writers and Their Adventures in Reading

edited by J. Peder Zane

Reviewed March 29, 2005.
W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2004.  261 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (028.9 REM).

I can relate to Doris Betts, one of the essayists in this book.  She says, “Like all true reader-addicts, I have had to resign myself to two inescapable truths:  Life produces so many interruptions that I can’t spend all my time reading; and life is also so short I can’t read everything that I want to, which is everything.  So I feel both famished and discouraged whenever I gawk at a library’s vast, packed shelves.”

This is a book about reading and a book about other books that stood out—the most memorable, enchanting, dangerous, daunting, and devastating books these writers ever read, among others.

Each writer wrote an essay about a remarkable book that he or she read.  Some categories were quirky—Most Scottish, Most Fragile, Most Luminous, Most Smokin’, Hippest, Maddest, Most Double-D-Daring, among others.  Other categories seemed more standard—Most Important, Wisest, Most Disappointing, and Most Beautiful, for example.

Of course, it did make me want to run out and read many of the books mentioned.  (Just what I didn’t need—a longer list of books to read!)  But the essays themselves made lively, interesting reading, reading about the mystical interaction between a book and its reader.

I’m glad I spent the time to read this book.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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