This book is a collection of vignettes about writers and books that they love. It's kind of a fun book to read because you don't have to read it from beginning to end - you can jump all over. Here are some of my favorite parts from the book:
Nicholas A Basbanes: Something else Professor Berkelman preached in all his courses - and I took eight with him over four years, quite possibly a Bates record - was the merit of reading favorite passages aloud, a practice I use to this day, most productively with my own writing. When my daughters were children in the 1980s, it became customary for us to read their literary assignments together at night, and to discuss what we had just learned as we went along. Shakespeare's plays were by far the most fun for us. We selected our roles, assumed what we thought were appropriate voices, and visualized the scenes as if we were directors staging our own productions. We tinkered with blank verse, examined the language, shared our perceptions. Most of all, we allowed reading to enter our lives, and to work its magic.
I wonder if this is one reason I love reading books with Peirce so much - because we always read aloud. There's something special about reading aloud!
Benjamin Cheever: When a friend sticks a book in my hand and crows, "It changed my life," my heart plummets. They never say, "It changed my life." They sing it out, as if boasting about intellectual suppleness, while not talking about the book at all. As if change were easy, welcome.
I know better. Sure the Renaissance was change, but so was the Ice Age.
Plus, I'm not intellectually supple. When one of those books does come along, it knocks me over. I'll read it twice. If I can possibly get a recording of the book, I'll do so. I'll run with it in my iPod, wash the dishes with it. I'll dog-ear and underline my copy. I'll quote endlessly from the text in e-mail. I'll bore my neighbors, embarrass my friends, infuriate my family.
I think I like this guy. I love his description! I love how he loves books. :)
Claire Cook (her favorite was the Nancy Drew series!): She talks about how she grew to love Nancy Drew. Her mother had died and she relished getting lost in the world of a book, rather than living in her own. Nancy, interestingly, also didn't have a mother. She talked about helping kids love reading, and says: The truck is, as I came to see it, is that once you fall in love, really in love, with that first book, you'll never be able to stop. There will still be plenty of time to introduce the classics. I give Nancy full credit for that teaching epiphany.
That's so true! That's my goal with the kids I teach...and with my own kids :)
An author named Sark (no last name....just Sark) said she was touched by Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. She said she was abused and while reading the book she had an epiphany. I went to hear Maya Angelou speak at the same library where I'd found her book, and clearly saw her invincible spirit as she talked to the group. Right there, sitting on that folding chair, I decided to have no more shame about the abuse that had happened to me. That is amazing. Books can bring miracles!
Then there are a few books I noticed, that I'd love to read. One of them being by Maureen Corrigan. It is called "Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading." Now that is right up my alley! I also learned some strange facts. Like, did you know: Sherlock Homes is....the only fictional character ever made an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry because of his contributions to forensic investigation. A fictional character! LOL And I learned some funny things about some authors I love....like Jack Prelutsky. He said: When I was in junior high....I fell in love with Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton. I hid the book in an obscure place in the school library so it was always waiting for me, and read it a couple dozen times. I wonder why he didn't just sign it out? LOL