How Reading Changed My Life

How Reading Changed My Life

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by Anna Quindlen

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THE LIBRARY OF CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT is a groundbreaking series where America's finest writers and most brilliant minds tackle today's most provocative, fascinating, and relevant issues. Striking and daring, creative and important, these original voices on matters political, social, economic, and cultural, will enlighten, comfort, entertain, enrage, and ignite healthy… See more details below

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THE LIBRARY OF CONTEMPORARY THOUGHT is a groundbreaking series where America's finest writers and most brilliant minds tackle today's most provocative, fascinating, and relevant issues. Striking and daring, creative and important, these original voices on matters political, social, economic, and cultural, will enlighten, comfort, entertain, enrage, and ignite healthy debate across the country.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this pithy celebration of the power and joys of reading, Quindlen emphasizes that books are not simply a means of imparting knowledge, but also a way to strengthen emotional connectedness, to lessen isolation, to explore alternate realities and to challenge the established order. To these ends much of the book forms a plea for intellectual freedom as well as a personal paean to reading. Quindlen (One True Thing) recalls her own early love affair with reading; writes with unabashed fervor of books that shaped her psychosexual maturation (John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga, Mary McCarthy's The Group); and discusses the books that made her a liberal committed to fighting social injustice (Dickens, the Bible). She compares reading books to intimate friendship--both activities enable us to deconstruct the underpinnings of interpersonal problems and relationships. Her analysis of the limitations of the computer screen is another rebuttal of those who predict the imminent demise of the book. In order to further inspire potential readers, she includes her own admittedly "arbitrary and capricious" reading lists -- "The 10 books I would save in a fire," "10 modern novels that made me proud to be a writer," "10 books that will help a teenager feel more human" and various other categories. But most of all, like the columns she used to write for the New York Times, this essay is tart, smart, full of quirky insights, lapidary and a pleasure to read.
Library Journal
Readers who miss best-selling novelist Quindlen's newspaper column will welcome the return of her engaging voice in this latest addition to Ballantine's "Library of Contemporary Thought," a series of short, inexpensive trade paperback originals. Never stodgy or academic, Quindlen ties her own experience to reading habits in general and the ways they have changed over the last 100 years, including the recent influence of Oprah. She concludes with a series of arbitrary and capricious reading lists that could give librarians ideas: "10 Books That Will Help a Teenager Feel More Human," "10 Mystery Novels I'd Most Like To Find in a Summer Rental," "10 Modern Novels That Made Me Proud To Be a Writer," etc. This little book for book lovers, an excellent choice for reading groups, is recommended for all libraries.--Mary Paumier Jones, Westminster P.L., Lafayette, CO

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Random House Publishing Group
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The Reading Lists from Anna Quindlen's How Reading Changed My Life:

10 Big Thick Wonderful Books that Could Take You a Whole Summer to Read (But Aren't Beach Books)

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Forstyte Saga by John Galsworthy

Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

Sophie's Choice by William Styron

Henry and Clara by Thomas Mallon

Underworld by Don DeLillo

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

10 Non Fiction Books That Help Us Understand the World

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbons

The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam

Lenin's Tomb by David Remnick

Lincoln by David Herbert Douglas

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

How We Die by Sherwin Nuland

The Unredeemed Captive by John Demos

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

The Power Broker by Robert Caro

10 Books that will Help a Teenager Feel More Human

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Lost In Place by Mark Salzman

What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges

The World According to Garp by John Irving

Bloodbrothers by Richard Price

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers

The 10 Books I Would Save in a Fire (If I Could Only Save 10)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats

The Collected Plays of William Shakespeare

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Ten Books for a Girl Who is Full of Beans (Or Ought to Be)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Julius the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes

Betsy in Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank

The BFG by Ronald Dahl

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Catherine Known As Birdy by Katherine Paterson

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Ten Mystery Novels I'd Most Like to Find in a Summer Rental

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P. D. James

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard

Dancers in Mourning by Margery Allingham

The Way Through the Woods by Colin Dexter

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre

10 Books Recommended by a Really Good Elementary School Librarian

The View From Saturday by E.L. Koningsburg

Frindle by Andrew Clements

My Daniel by Pan Conrad

The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick

Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian

No Flying in the House by Betty Brock

My Father's Dragon by Ruth Gannett Stiles

Habibi by Naomi Nye

Mudpies and Other Recipes: A Cookbook for Dolls by Marjorie Winslow

The Story of May by Mordecai Gerstein

10 Good Book Club Selections

Fraud by Anita Brookner

Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton

The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Paris Trout by Pete Dexter

Eden Close by Anita Shreve

10 Modern Novels that Made Me Proud to be a Writer

The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks

White Noise by Don DeLillo

Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser

True Confessions by John Gregory Dunne

The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen

The French Lieutennant's Woman by John Fowles

Falconer by John Cheever

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Information by Martin Amis

Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

10 of the Books My Exceptionally Well-Read Friend Ben says He's Taken the Most From

Herzog by Saul Bellow

Coming Up for Air by George Orwell

Something of an Achievement by Gwyn Griffin

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

The Moon and a Sixpence by Somerset Maugham

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

Heretics by G.K. Chesterton

The Wapshot Chronicles by John Cheever

(With addendum: Now I can't believe I settled for that list. What about
William Maxwell's The Folded Leaf, or Elizabeth Bowen's The House in Paris? )

Books I Just Love to Read, And Always Will

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

My Antonia by Willa Cather

The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Group by Mary McCarthy

The Blue Swallows by Howard Nemerov (poetry)

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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