Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments

Overview

In these playful, erudite, and idiosyncratically personal essays from the Washington Post Book World, Michael Dirda shares some of the pleasures of the reading life. His subjects range from classics in translation to fantasy and crime fiction; from children's books to American and European literature; from innovative writing to neglected novels; from the dark joys of collecting first editions to the untroubled pleasure of P. G. Wodehouse. Dirda is a writer's reader and a reader's writer. He is a sure guide to ...
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Overview

In these playful, erudite, and idiosyncratically personal essays from the Washington Post Book World, Michael Dirda shares some of the pleasures of the reading life. His subjects range from classics in translation to fantasy and crime fiction; from children's books to American and European literature; from innovative writing to neglected novels; from the dark joys of collecting first editions to the untroubled pleasure of P. G. Wodehouse. Dirda is a writer's reader and a reader's writer. He is a sure guide to good reading from the casual to the scholarly, and his columns are always diverting and informative, always worth coming back to. Readings presents many of his most memorable essays, including "The Crime of His Life" (a youthful caper), "Bookman's Saturday" (the scheming of a book collector), an annotated list of 100 comic novels, "Heian Holiday" (on The Tale of Genji), reflections on sex in literature, "Mr. Wright" (an exemplary high school teacher), "Listening to My Father," "Turning Fifty," and "Millennial Readings." In all these, and in 40 other pieces, Michael Dirda shows us books as sources of aesthetic bliss, comfort, and not least, amusement.
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Editorial Reviews

Annie Proulx
“Michael Dirda may be as close to the ideal as we are likely to get.”
Harold Bloom
“Michael Dirda is a superb literary essayist, and Readings should provide deep delight for discerning readers.”
Library Journal
Since 1993, Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic Dirda, senior editor of the Washington Post Book World, has been beguiling readers with charming tales of a passionate life spent among books. This collection of Dirda's monthly "Readings" columns ranges over topics as diverse as book collecting, classic children's books (he is the former children's book editor at Book World), the intoxicating delights of reading The Tale of Genji, and the guilty pleasures of omnivorous reading. In rich and elegant prose, Dirda pens a poignant paean to his father, waxes wistful about turning 50, and muses mirthfully on the stories of P.G. Wodehouse and other comic writers. From the storehouse of his accumulated literary learning, Dirda happily shares a number of gems about the reading life. For example, on the pleasures of book reviewing he writes, "to open a new book tentatively, with indifference even, and to find oneself again yet again in thrall--to a writer's prose, to a thriller's plot, to a thinker's mind. Let the whole world crumble, so long as I can read another page." Dirda both instructs and entertains with his delightful wit and his zestful insight. Anyone who loves books is bound to love Dirda. Highly recommended.--Henry Carrigan, Lancaster, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A delightful compendium of Dirda's most memorable Washington Post Book World essays revels in seven years' worth of bibliophilic passion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393324891
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/19/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 859,874
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Dirda is a writer and senior editor for the Washington Post Book World. For three years he was a board member of the National Book Critics Circle. His essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications. In 1993 Dirda received the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
The Crime of His Life 1
The Quest for Scrivener 4
Talismans 9
Maxims, Etc. 14
Heart of the Matter 19
Bookman's Saturday 23
Supplementary Materials 28
Listening to My Father 33
Romantic Scholarship 38
Weekend with Wodehouse 43
An Abecedary 48
Mr. Wright 53
Heian Holiday 58
Childhood's End 63
The One and the Many 68
Commencement Advice 73
Four Novels and a Memoir 78
The October Country 83
Bookish Fantasies 86
Pages on Life's Way 90
A Garland for Max 95
Read at Whim! 100
Comedy Tonight 105
Light of Other Days 112
Data Daze 117
Four-Leaf Clovers 122
Sez Who? 127
Lament for a Maker 132
Clubland 137
The Learning Channels 140
Guy Davenport 145
Eros by Any Other Name 150
Frank Confessions 155
Mememormee 160
Tomes for Tots 164
Three Classics 169
Vacation Reading 173
One More Modest Proposal 177
Shake Scenes 179
After Strange Books 184
Awful Bits 189
Turning 50 193
Blame It on Books 198
On the Road Not Taken 203
Excursion 208
Millennial Readings 213
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2005

    bound to please . . .

    If you are a reader, you will swim happily through commentary of unassuming erudition and will wish you could be,for a moment, this smart if you are not a reader,you will become one and get smarter and smarter.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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