Now in paperback, a delightful collection of essays on the transformative power of reading In The Book That Changed My Life, our most admired writers, doctors, professors, religious leaders, politicians, chefs, and CEO s share the books that mean the most to them. For Doris Kearns Goodwin it was Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August, which inspired her to enter a field, history writing, traditionally reserved for men. For Jacques Pépin it was The Myth of Sisyphus, which taught him the importance of personal ...
Now in paperback, a delightful collection of essays on the transformative power of reading In The Book That Changed My Life, our most admired writers, doctors, professors, religious leaders, politicians, chefs, and CEO s share the books that mean the most to them. For Doris Kearns Goodwin it was Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August, which inspired her to enter a field, history writing, traditionally reserved for men. For Jacques Pépin it was The Myth of Sisyphus, which taught him the importance of personal responsibility, dignity, and goodness in the midst of existentialist France. A testament to the life-altering importance of literature, this book inspires us to return to old favorites and seek out new treasures. All proceeds go to The Read to Grow Foundation, which partners with urban hospitals to provide books and literacy information to newborns and their families.
As a teenager in a Parisian expatriate's bookstore, James Atlas found Gwendolyn Brooks's Selected Poems and realized that "poetry could emerge out of the geography of your own experience." Jacquelyn Mitchard named a baby after the struggling heroine of Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged "jarred" Nelson Demille into "thinking outside the box"; Michael Stern was transported to unknown worlds by the Sears catalogue; while Sen. Joe Lieberman, an observant Jew, was molded by the Bible. In this uneven collection of often predictable musings about their favorite books by a catchall of writers (including PW's editor, Sara Nelson), one of the few standouts is by Frank McCourt, who tastes a line from Shakespeare's Henry VIII when he's a 10-year-old typhoid patient and remembers "it's like having jewels in my mouth when I say the words." Unfortunately, by stuffing 71 writers into a slim volume, bookseller Coady and editor Johannessen all but ensure prosaic snippets of random thoughts rather than developed essays. The format also allows for repetition (J.D. Salinger; Harper Lee) and self-promotion (Carol Higgins Clark's inspiration was her famous mother; Anita Diamant showboats about her own novel The Red Tent in a piece about Virginia Woolf). (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
This reviewer is downright nosy when it comes to learning what people are reading. If you also share the trait of asking virtual strangers, "What have you been reading lately?" and then listening intently, following up with questions, and possibly pulling out an old pay stub to jot down their response, is this ever the book for you. Bookseller Coady and editor Johannessen have a mission: to elicit the personal recollections of famous people in various walks of life-writers, actors, chefs, politicians-and find out what qualifies as "the book that changed [their] life." Together, the two have compiled a wonderful cross section of contributors and a wildly diverse group of books. From the Bible (Sen. Joseph Lieberman) to To Kill a Mockingbird (author Wally Lamb), the contents of this book will encourage quick perusal, a checking of titles, or the generation of a must-read list. Most moving are the recollections of books that "saved" someone and made him or her feel less alone or less strange (e.g., book critic Maureen Corrigan on David Copperfield). With a handy reading list that includes title, author, and contributor and all proceeds going to the Read to Grow Foundation (www.readtogrow.org), this book is recommended for most collections.-Jan Brue Enright, Augustana Coll. Lib., Sioux Falls, SD Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Roxanne J. Coady is the founder of R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut, which hosts over two hundred author events each year, and won the Publishers Weekly Bookseller of the Year Award in 1995. Joy Johannessen has been an editor/executive editor at Grove Press, Oxford University Press, HarperCollins, and Delphinium Books.