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Is a book the same book—or a reader the same reader—the second time around? The seventeen authors in this witty and poignant collection of essays all agree on the answer: Never. The editor of Rereadings is Anne Fadiman, and readers of her bestselling book Ex Libris will find this volume especially satisfying. Her chosen authors include Sven Birkerts, Allegra Goodman, Vivian Is a book the same book—or a reader the same reader—the second time around? The seventeen authors in this witty and poignant collection of essays all agree on the answer: Never. The editor of Rereadings is Anne Fadiman, and readers of her bestselling book Ex Libris will find this volume especially satisfying. Her chosen authors include Sven Birkerts, Allegra Goodman, Vivian Gornick, Patricia Hampl, Phillip Lopate, and Luc Sante; the objects of their literary affections range from Pride and Prejudice to Sue Barton, Student Nurse. These essays are not conventional literary criticism; they are about relationships. Rereadings reveals at least as much about the reader as about the book: each is a miniature memoir that focuses on that most interesting of topics, the protean nature of love. And as every bibliophile knows, no love is more life-changing than the love of a book.


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Is a book the same book—or a reader the same reader—the second time around? The seventeen authors in this witty and poignant collection of essays all agree on the answer: Never. The editor of Rereadings is Anne Fadiman, and readers of her bestselling book Ex Libris will find this volume especially satisfying. Her chosen authors include Sven Birkerts, Allegra Goodman, Vivian Is a book the same book—or a reader the same reader—the second time around? The seventeen authors in this witty and poignant collection of essays all agree on the answer: Never. The editor of Rereadings is Anne Fadiman, and readers of her bestselling book Ex Libris will find this volume especially satisfying. Her chosen authors include Sven Birkerts, Allegra Goodman, Vivian Gornick, Patricia Hampl, Phillip Lopate, and Luc Sante; the objects of their literary affections range from Pride and Prejudice to Sue Barton, Student Nurse. These essays are not conventional literary criticism; they are about relationships. Rereadings reveals at least as much about the reader as about the book: each is a miniature memoir that focuses on that most interesting of topics, the protean nature of love. And as every bibliophile knows, no love is more life-changing than the love of a book.

30 review for Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Tony Blair (thumbing through the contents): Hey, this one could be interesting. It's a series of essays about the delicate question of what it actually means to have read a book. Do you know what I mean? A talking donkey : Wow, Tony Blair! What are you doing in one of PB's reviews? Tony Blair: Er - haven't you seen the news lately? Don't donkeys watch TV any more? I'm supposed to be the middle east peace envoy and look at the place - look at it! (Tony turns tv on to news channel - blam! pow! Nato Tony Blair (thumbing through the contents): Hey, this one could be interesting. It's a series of essays about the delicate question of what it actually means to have read a book. Do you know what I mean? A talking donkey : Wow, Tony Blair! What are you doing in one of PB's reviews? Tony Blair: Er - haven't you seen the news lately? Don't donkeys watch TV any more? I'm supposed to be the middle east peace envoy and look at the place - look at it! (Tony turns tv on to news channel - blam! pow! Nato air strikes! Yemen! Syria! Palestine! Kerrrranng! Libya! Boom!) TB (shakes head wearily - some of his suntan falls off) : See what I mean? Donkey : Man, that looks rough. Okay, so you can chill here in a review for a while if you want. (Aside : Man, who else is gonna pop up here? Goran Hadzic?) A talking Badger (sotto voce) : Sorry, that reference is lost on me. Donkey : So anyway, Tony, you were saying? Tony Blair: Yes, well, you see you read books and they have this profound effect when you’re young, and then what happens if you pluck up the nerve, you know, or get led down the primrose path of nostalgia, you know, and read the thing again when you’re a grownup? Is it always a mistake? Is the thing you’ve been carrying in your head all these years really what’s in the book? Or is it some weird construct that you yourself invented? Did you actually understand it when you were say 16 or 17? I mean, in my case, the answer’s obviously yes, but for you it might be, well, you know, no. No offense and all. Donkey: None taken. I remember crying my eyes out when I read The Grapes of Wrath. I was just a foal. Maybe if I read it now it would seem like some purple-prose tub-thumping socialist diatribe in the guise of a tale of such Brobdingnagian sentimentality that would even turn Dickens green. Badger: And maybe not. Donkey: True, true. Maybe not. Did you have a book that particularly floated your boat in your youth? Badger: Well, we weren’t big readers to be honest. We didn’t have electricity. Tony Blair : No electricity? What, your parents were hippies? Badger : Nocturnal hunter-gatherers, really, more than hippies. But there was one book I remember… Donkey: Which one? Badger : It was called The Little Prince. Do you know it? Tony Blair: Oh yes! I read that! What a beautiful fable! Badger: I could practically recite it for you at one point. Er… “I know a planet where there is a certain red-faced gentleman. He had never smelled a flower. He has never looked at a star. He has never loved any one. He has never done anything in his life but add up figures.” Tony Blair : Well well – I see now that this is a very prescient reference to Gordon Brown. I never noticed that when I was nine. Badger : Do you remember this one? “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…” Tony Blair : Boo hoo! I remember! Boo hoo! (Tears are splashing down). Donkey : Sounds like a load of donkey bollocks to me. Tony Blair : Well you had to read it then! Not now, then! Donkey : Well probably. Although whether you’re nine or ninety, woffly hello-trees hello-sky proto-new age vapourising wrapped up in a sticky coccoon of cosiness that would warm the very cockles of the hardest of hearts and let the sunshine in and flood barren lives with a sense of limitless possibility…. Sorry, I’ve completely lost the thread of that sentence… Tony Blair (trying to help) : Woffly, sticky coccoon…. Cockles… Donkey : Oh yes! I was going to say…. Is still to my mind a cuter but no less meretricious version of jam yesterday, jam tomorrow but no jam today. Badger : oh you’re so cynical. This actually shocks me a little bit. Tony Blair : Well he might be right. Badger : oh and what do you know? Really, Mr Blair, do you know anything? Anything at all? Tony (dabbing his eyes, rueful smile back in place): Well, I know people seem to find it very easy to criticise everything I do and say… Donkey : well you make it so easy for them! Anyway, if you’re going to stay in this review a bit longer, maybe you could tell us what George Bush was really like… did you really pray together? Did you? Did you really think God was telling you to invade Iraq? Go on, tell us, we won’t breathe a word. No one would believe us anyway even if we did – he’s a badger and I’m a donkey. Tony Blair : No no, I don’t think I should. Let’s play Charades instead. Badger and Donkey (both thinking: There goes a hundred grand from the Daily Mail) : Aw, c'mon....

  2. 4 out of 5

    David

    An interesting conceit: at the invitation of the editor, the wonderful Anne Fadiman, seventeen writers revisit books they had read in their youth and describe the results. Unfortunately, the results are mixed, at best. Perhaps one would need to have read all 17 books in question to derive full value from this book. But that seems a little much to expect. Overall, I think I was disappointed in how poorly some of the authors managed to convey the original passion they had felt for their particular An interesting conceit: at the invitation of the editor, the wonderful Anne Fadiman, seventeen writers revisit books they had read in their youth and describe the results. Unfortunately, the results are mixed, at best. Perhaps one would need to have read all 17 books in question to derive full value from this book. But that seems a little much to expect. Overall, I think I was disappointed in how poorly some of the authors managed to convey the original passion they had felt for their particular choice. Predictably enough, the chapters that interested me most were those pertaining to books I had read, particularly those concerning books which had also spoken to me, upon first reading. My favorite chapter - the one about Salinger's "Franny and Zooey", an alltime favorite from my college years. I was relieved that it held up under the author's re-reading, and - when moved to read it again myself - that it did for me as well. It probably deserves more than 3 stars, but its overall spottiness prevents me from giving it 4. So let's leave it at 3.5 and take the opportunity to plug (yet again) Fadiman's far superior original collection of her own writing, "Ex Libris", in which there is not a single bad essay.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor

    A series of essays by a number of different writers in which each discusses a book read in childhood or adolescence, and reread recently in maturity. I knew only some of the books being discussed, so naturally found those essays of more interest. However, there were a number of good moments to be enjoyed even in a discussion of a book and author unknown to me. I liked this comment: "As children, we crossed wide-eyed and trusting into the writer's world; as adults, we invite the writer into ours an A series of essays by a number of different writers in which each discusses a book read in childhood or adolescence, and reread recently in maturity. I knew only some of the books being discussed, so naturally found those essays of more interest. However, there were a number of good moments to be enjoyed even in a discussion of a book and author unknown to me. I liked this comment: "As children, we crossed wide-eyed and trusting into the writer's world; as adults, we invite the writer into ours and hold him accountable for how he behaves there." (Arthur Krystal, "Kid Roberts and Me".) I loved the essay by Diana Kappel Smith titled "My Life with a Field Guide" where she wrote about her copy of "Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-Central North America", which started her on the path to becoming a nature writer and illustrator. "It is in smithereens now and buckled by damp, held together with a trio of rubber bands. In spite of its copious annotations and cross-references, I tend to use a newer model, though I do take the old one along from time to time, just to let it smell the Diapensia, so to speak, much as I might take an arthritic family dog for a ramble, out of kindness, and because of happy memories of adventurous times when both of us were less marked up." Luc Sante in "A Companion of the Prophet" wrote about his relationship with Arthur Rimbaud. He made me laugh out loud with this: "At some point before adolescence, I had decided to become a child prodigy ..." An enjoyable collection, with an interesting Foreword: On Rereading by Anne Fadiman. The essays all come from "The American Scholar", a literary quarterly. Some years ago, it was her decision as editor of the quarterly to "open the books section with an essay not on reading something new but on rereading something old".

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jo Walton

    I loved this even when I totally disagreed with the readings or hated the books myself.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    I think it is extremely important to note that Anne Fadiman is the editor of this book, not the author, and her preface/introduction was by far the best part of the book. There is something about her writing when she talks about books (reading, rereading, treasuring or otherwise) that is completely lacking in pretension and just comes across as an honest story about her and the book. The rest of the authors included in this book do not share her talent and are prone to egotistical romps through I think it is extremely important to note that Anne Fadiman is the editor of this book, not the author, and her preface/introduction was by far the best part of the book. There is something about her writing when she talks about books (reading, rereading, treasuring or otherwise) that is completely lacking in pretension and just comes across as an honest story about her and the book. The rest of the authors included in this book do not share her talent and are prone to egotistical romps through their reading adventures that simply seem snotty and, however eloquent, annoyingly academic. I am not an English major and no book before this one ever convinced me so thoroughly that I should not be one for all my love of books. I sincerely dislike literary criticism and this book is rife with it along with some seriously self-centered individuals. It's hard to write an essay that is basically all about you and your books and not make it seem egotistical but Anne Fadiman does it flawlessly and reading all the other essays in this collection only made me long for her words instead of any of theirs.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rikke

    I loved the premise of this anthology; it is always a beautiful thing to witness someone talk about the books they love, the books they have found worthy of rereading over and over again. In some ways the books we reread tend to be the books we can't let go of; the books that have shaped us and still haunts us to this very day. After all, why else should we reread them? While some of the essays in this anthology were beautifully done I also found myself skipping a few along the way. It grew very I loved the premise of this anthology; it is always a beautiful thing to witness someone talk about the books they love, the books they have found worthy of rereading over and over again. In some ways the books we reread tend to be the books we can't let go of; the books that have shaped us and still haunts us to this very day. After all, why else should we reread them? While some of the essays in this anthology were beautifully done I also found myself skipping a few along the way. It grew very tiresome to read long reflections upon books I've never read myself by authors I've barely even heard of before. It was hard for me to relate to. However, some of these essays were everything I had hoped for. The foreword by Anne Fadiman on reading "The Horse and His Boy" by C. S. Lewis aloud for her son, was really well done as it also rang true with the ambivalence I have developed for C. S. Lewis and his work. Patricia Hampl's essay about her love for Katherine Mansfield was extremely well done and it warmed my heart to find the easily overlooked Mansfield represented in Fadiman's anthology. Diane Kappel Smith's essay on a field guide to wildflowers was surprisingly engaging as well, while Allegra Goodman's chapter on "Pride and Prejudice" turned out to be the jewel of the entire collection. I was pleased to find a chapter on H. C. Andersen's "The Snow Queen", even with experts in Danish and comparisons between the English translation and the original Danish text. Evelyn Toynton's praise for "Brideshead Revisited" was equally beautiful and filled with valuable literary criticism. All in all, I enjoyed seven out of seventeen essays, which isn't exactly an impressive percentage.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John Benson

    This book is a collection of 17 essays by authors who look back at a book that meant a great deal to them at an earlier time in their life. They describe the book, the context of why it meant so much for them then, and then what they feel now as they reread the book many years later. I read this along with Will Schwalbe's BOOKS FOR LIVING, and enjoyed how some of the material seemed to overlap between the books. I had read some of the books, but not all 17, but it was fun to hear the context of This book is a collection of 17 essays by authors who look back at a book that meant a great deal to them at an earlier time in their life. They describe the book, the context of why it meant so much for them then, and then what they feel now as they reread the book many years later. I read this along with Will Schwalbe's BOOKS FOR LIVING, and enjoyed how some of the material seemed to overlap between the books. I had read some of the books, but not all 17, but it was fun to hear the context of these books in light of these authors lives, and then to hear how they react 10-30 years later to the same material. Very worth reading (and maybe re-reading).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tiina

    3 stars. I loved the introduction, and I really liked some of the essays, but there were also a few that didn't speak to me as much. I got ideas for a few essays to read, but the authors didn't necessarily sway me on reading all the books featured here. I do agree with some of the contributors on the reasons and side-effects of rereading old books, however. All in all a good book on reading, I enjoyed it a lot. 3 stars. I loved the introduction, and I really liked some of the essays, but there were also a few that didn't speak to me as much. I got ideas for a few essays to read, but the authors didn't necessarily sway me on reading all the books featured here. I do agree with some of the contributors on the reasons and side-effects of rereading old books, however. All in all a good book on reading, I enjoyed it a lot.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    I wish Anne Fadiman had written more than 10 pages of this 338 page book. Do yourself a favor: Read the following 3 sections, and skip the rest of the book: Fadiman’s Foreword, H.C. Witwer’s delightful essay on boxing, and Diana Kappel Smith’s love affair with a wildflower field guide. The other essays are dry literary critiques—you’ve been warned.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Trin

    A collection of essays in which various authors and essayists discuss rereading their favorite works, from The Charterhouse of Parma to the back of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I haven't read most of the works discussed in this book, so while I enjoyed all of the essays, some of them lost some resonance for me. I actually thought Fadiman's introduction, in which she discusses reading The Horse and His Boy with her son was one of the most effective, perhaps because I feel a personal c A collection of essays in which various authors and essayists discuss rereading their favorite works, from The Charterhouse of Parma to the back of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I haven't read most of the works discussed in this book, so while I enjoyed all of the essays, some of them lost some resonance for me. I actually thought Fadiman's introduction, in which she discusses reading The Horse and His Boy with her son was one of the most effective, perhaps because I feel a personal connection to any discussion about disenchantment with Narnia, but also because she emphasizes the difference between reading and rereading more strongly and concretely than many of the other essays. All in all, this was an enjoyable collection, but unlike Fadiman's solo effort, the fantastic Ex Libris, one I'm glad I got from the library instead of purchasing; in other words, most likely not a book I will be rereading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Doris

    I loved the concept, and I'm an admirer of the collection's editor, Anne Fadiman, but alas, the execution fell short for me. I'm not familiar with any of the contributors, so that diminished my interest. Fadiman's introduction was my favorite essay. Beyond that, it was largely the case that the essays I most enjoyed were those for books that I had read myself. I was sufficiently intrigued by a couple of essays that I'm considering adding Lord Jim and something by D.H. Lawrence to my TBR list (wh I loved the concept, and I'm an admirer of the collection's editor, Anne Fadiman, but alas, the execution fell short for me. I'm not familiar with any of the contributors, so that diminished my interest. Fadiman's introduction was my favorite essay. Beyond that, it was largely the case that the essays I most enjoyed were those for books that I had read myself. I was sufficiently intrigued by a couple of essays that I'm considering adding Lord Jim and something by D.H. Lawrence to my TBR list (where they'd undoubtedly languish unread).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    It's absurdly touching when people who obviously love books talk about books they loved early in life. This is a collection of seventeen short essays -- admirably equal in quality -- from the "Rereadings" column of _The American Spectator_. One of the recurring themes is how frequently the future writers tended to identify with the second-banana character, not the protagonist. It's absurdly touching when people who obviously love books talk about books they loved early in life. This is a collection of seventeen short essays -- admirably equal in quality -- from the "Rereadings" column of _The American Spectator_. One of the recurring themes is how frequently the future writers tended to identify with the second-banana character, not the protagonist.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    This is fascinating book for the well read. Since I'm not very well read, a lot of these essays were over my head...but they were interesting. Diana Kappel Smith's writing about A Field Guide to Wildflowers and David Michaelis's piece about Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover connected the most with me. This book inspires rereadings. This is fascinating book for the well read. Since I'm not very well read, a lot of these essays were over my head...but they were interesting. Diana Kappel Smith's writing about A Field Guide to Wildflowers and David Michaelis's piece about Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover connected the most with me. This book inspires rereadings.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shiloah

    It was a great idea, but only 5 of the 17 essays were thoroughly enjoyable to me. I learned a lot, enjoyed the reminiscing and the writing, but so much was of worldly sentiment that I don't identify with. I especially loved the essay about the rereading of the Snow Queen. It was a great idea, but only 5 of the 17 essays were thoroughly enjoyable to me. I learned a lot, enjoyed the reminiscing and the writing, but so much was of worldly sentiment that I don't identify with. I especially loved the essay about the rereading of the Snow Queen.

  15. 5 out of 5

    superawesomekt

    I agree with other reviewers in that the essays are (for the most part) only enjoyable if you're familiar with the books the authors have read / re-read: I just wasn't interested in most of the ones I hadn't read, and so I skimmed or skipped almost all of them. Two that I think would be enjoyable to anyone are the essays, "My Life with a Field Guide" and "The Ice Palace." They were quite excellent and truly conveyed the passion of the author/reader. Generally, I wouldn't recommend this to very ma I agree with other reviewers in that the essays are (for the most part) only enjoyable if you're familiar with the books the authors have read / re-read: I just wasn't interested in most of the ones I hadn't read, and so I skimmed or skipped almost all of them. Two that I think would be enjoyable to anyone are the essays, "My Life with a Field Guide" and "The Ice Palace." They were quite excellent and truly conveyed the passion of the author/reader. Generally, I wouldn't recommend this to very many readers. I think the essays are very well suited to how they were originally published--as a column--rather than to an anthology. That being said, it might be interesting reading for high school or college literature / literacy educators as source material for enriching their courses. For those who want to find/read a specific essay, the Essays / Authors / Books Reviewed are as follows: David Samuels, "Marginal Notes on the Inner Lives of People with Cluttered Apartments in the East Seventies" Franny and Zooey, by J. D. Salinger Patricia Hampl, "Relics of Saint Katherine" The Journal, Letters, and Stories of Katherine Mansfield Sven Birkerts, "Love's Wound, Love's Salve" Pan, by Knut Hamsun Vijay Seshadri, "Whitman's Triumph" Song of Myself, by Walt Whitman Arthur Krystal,"Kid Roberts and Me" The Leather Pushers, by H.C. Witwer Diana Smith,"My Life with a Field Guide" A Field Guide to Wildflowers: Northeastern and North-central North America, by Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny Luc Sante,"A Companion of the Prophet" Arthur Rimbaud: A Biography, by Enid Starkie Katherine Ashenburg,"Three Doctors' Daughters" The Sue Barton Books by Helen Dore Boylston Jamie James,"You Shall Hear of Me" Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad Vivian Gornick,"Love with a Capital L" The Vagabond and The Shackle, by Colette Michael Upchurch,"Stead Made Me Do It" House of all Nations, by Christina Stead Allegra Goodman,"Pemberley Previsited" Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen Pico Iyer,"Lawrence by Lightning" The Virgin and the Gipsy, by D. H. Lawrence Barbara Sjoholm,"The Ice Palace" The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen Evelyn Toynton,"Revisiting Brideshead" Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh Phillip Lopate,"The Pursuit of Worldliness" The Charterhouse of Parma, by Stendahl David Michaelis,"The Back of the Album" The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rach

    After languishing over the end of my 2018 Read Harder challenge, my last category was "essay anthology." I probably quit a dozen books; I found most popular anthologies are either wildly depressing, or mind-numbingly boring. When I found this, I was intrigued by the idea. In college, one of my professors told a story about how she discovered she was unable to reread The Hunger Games after she had children -- a series she had enjoyed for years. The idea of how your current state impacts reading a After languishing over the end of my 2018 Read Harder challenge, my last category was "essay anthology." I probably quit a dozen books; I found most popular anthologies are either wildly depressing, or mind-numbingly boring. When I found this, I was intrigued by the idea. In college, one of my professors told a story about how she discovered she was unable to reread The Hunger Games after she had children -- a series she had enjoyed for years. The idea of how your current state impacts reading and rereading? Fascinating. Here's my main problem with the anthology: the majority of the writers definitely expect you to have read the poem / short story / novel they are referencing. And if you haven't, boo on you. You'll never understand the essay. A few writers did a good job providing context (Arthur Krystal's "Kid Roberts and Me" and Katherine Ashenburg's "Three Doctors' Daughters" stand out), but the vast majority come across like certain classmates of mine while I was studying English: pomp, haughty, and wanting to make vague literary references you couldn't possibly understand. But, at least it wasn't depressing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tania

    Rereadings puts together the musings of 17 different authors on rereading favorite books. If you haven't read some of the books that they discuss, there are major spoilers here (such as the ending to Lord Jim). However, you don't have to have read all of the books to follow along with these essays. The authors do a splendid job of sharing what brought them to the books they loved, why they loved them, and whether they held up to the test of time (for them). It's a very personal insight into a se Rereadings puts together the musings of 17 different authors on rereading favorite books. If you haven't read some of the books that they discuss, there are major spoilers here (such as the ending to Lord Jim). However, you don't have to have read all of the books to follow along with these essays. The authors do a splendid job of sharing what brought them to the books they loved, why they loved them, and whether they held up to the test of time (for them). It's a very personal insight into a select set of individuals and what reading and certain books have meant to them. I thought each author presented their case in an interesting fashion; no two essays followed the same format which kept the collection lively and clipping forward at a nice pace. The introduction by the editor was also fascinating. After reading this book, a number of the selections have made it to my to read list, and so have some of the authors. Overall, I found this to be worth the read and for those authors I wasn't familiar with, a great introduction to their writing style.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chava

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If my TBR piles were not so huge, I really would like to re-read some of the things I've read and see them from the new perspective of being older and wiser (allegedly). I enjoyed some of the essays because I had read the books, but the ones I enjoyed the most were not about books I had read, but about whether the reader's nostalgia clouded his opinion of the book, or whether they enjoyed it as much the second time around. Barbara Sjoholm's essay about "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen If my TBR piles were not so huge, I really would like to re-read some of the things I've read and see them from the new perspective of being older and wiser (allegedly). I enjoyed some of the essays because I had read the books, but the ones I enjoyed the most were not about books I had read, but about whether the reader's nostalgia clouded his opinion of the book, or whether they enjoyed it as much the second time around. Barbara Sjoholm's essay about "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen was so enjoyable that I added several of her books to my wish list. Evelyn Toytnton's experience re-reading Brideshead Revisited was interesting because I was also a big Anglophile until I experienced Britain in person. I appreciated that Phillip Lopate's discussion of The Charterhouse of Parma because he was quite candid in admitted that the book had lost its charm for him. I am a big fan on Ann Faidman (loved Ex Libris and the book about the Hmong), so even though she was the editor, it was very worthwhile.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    An interesting collection of essays, written by authors I've mostly never read, talking about books I've never read. Curiously, I didn't feel compelled to read any of the books they talked about; rather it made me reflect on what books I reread or might want to reread. My short list: Possession by AS Byatt, Little Women, The Golden Compass, The Bluest Eye, Thousand Acres, A Christmas Carol (an annual tradition). I must confess that I do not reread books often. There are so many books that I want An interesting collection of essays, written by authors I've mostly never read, talking about books I've never read. Curiously, I didn't feel compelled to read any of the books they talked about; rather it made me reflect on what books I reread or might want to reread. My short list: Possession by AS Byatt, Little Women, The Golden Compass, The Bluest Eye, Thousand Acres, A Christmas Carol (an annual tradition). I must confess that I do not reread books often. There are so many books that I want to read that I haven't yet that I don't take the time to reread. Though I did have a professor in college who assigned us to read each book in The Deptford Trilogy twice. I will never forget the amazement I felt when I finished reading the first book in the trilogy and immediately returned to page 1, with the ending fresh in my mind - every detail was clear, and I could see how each word had been carefully crafted towards the conclusion. I vowed that day to make time for rereading, a promise that I did not keep.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Matt Murphy

    Enjoyable collection. Loved this bit from Arthur Krystal: The pure joy of reading may never be regained, but it we're lucky, we can chance across one of those "good bad books" we read thirty or forty years ago and recall what it's like to be a child who reads. Such books are like old snapshots taken at the age when the baby fat is just swimming off the bone, when the personality is just beginning to acknowledge what it will find forever interesting, when the eyes begin to reveal for the first tim Enjoyable collection. Loved this bit from Arthur Krystal: The pure joy of reading may never be regained, but it we're lucky, we can chance across one of those "good bad books" we read thirty or forty years ago and recall what it's like to be a child who reads. Such books are like old snapshots taken at the age when the baby fat is just swimming off the bone, when the personality is just beginning to acknowledge what it will find forever interesting, when the eyes begin to reveal for the first time the person who will be using them for the rest of his life.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Linette

    The problem with any essay collection is that there are going to be those that you enjoy more than others. This is no different. The readings you are going to enjoy the most will always be the ones of books you yourself have read. Memories of Sue Barton, The Horse and His Boy and the Snow Queen bubble to the surface. I really need to go back and take another look at the cover of Sgt Peppers. Others I can take or leave.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Danica

    The introduction of this book is amazing. It made me go search Anne Fadiman so I could read more of her writing. It was like she was reading from my brain. The rest of the book was really hard to read as I haven't read the 17 books discussed. It was good for what it was, it just has a VERY limited audience that could actually relate to what they are reading. I did look up a couple of the other authors so I can read their work. The introduction of this book is amazing. It made me go search Anne Fadiman so I could read more of her writing. It was like she was reading from my brain. The rest of the book was really hard to read as I haven't read the 17 books discussed. It was good for what it was, it just has a VERY limited audience that could actually relate to what they are reading. I did look up a couple of the other authors so I can read their work.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lillian

    I chose this title for my Read Harder Challenge-Read an Essay Anthology. I have read a few of the essays (75%) but I am not connecting at all with the books these writers are rereading. I should have read the table of contents before I bought this book. It is over my head. Quite pretentious. I mean I would have chosen Robin Hood, 6x or Black Beauty. I read Shotgun Love Songs 2x. I want to read All I Love and Know by Judith Frank over and over. I will read Fredrik Backman as many times as I can.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stevefk

    I generally love books about books and reading, and was hoping this would be better than the other such book that Anne Fadiman edited (Ex Libris), but it was not. Too many authors disillusioned with books they no longer admire. Too much blah blah blah just to show how utterly intellectual the authors of these essays feel themselves to be. The book even leaves a bad taste that only in youth can you really have a sense of magic in books. Overall, a downer.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    To appreciate this collection of essays it's not necessary to have read all of the books referenced and, given the obscurity of some of them, it's unlikely any one reader has. That said, I certainly enjoyed some essays more than others - mostly (but not all) those centering on books that were familiar to me. To appreciate this collection of essays it's not necessary to have read all of the books referenced and, given the obscurity of some of them, it's unlikely any one reader has. That said, I certainly enjoyed some essays more than others - mostly (but not all) those centering on books that were familiar to me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Fadiman has compiled essays by various authors for the "Rereadings" Column of American Scholar when Famidam was editor. Very interesting! Be sure you read the introduction, in which Fadiman talks about reading The Horse and His Boy (C.S. Lewis) aloud to her son -- which for her was a reread. Worth the price of the book for this alone, although the rest is is also interesting. Fadiman has compiled essays by various authors for the "Rereadings" Column of American Scholar when Famidam was editor. Very interesting! Be sure you read the introduction, in which Fadiman talks about reading The Horse and His Boy (C.S. Lewis) aloud to her son -- which for her was a reread. Worth the price of the book for this alone, although the rest is is also interesting.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Not exactly what I was hoping for. Like others, I found that since I am not familiar with most of the books discussed in the essays, the full effect of each author was a bit lost. And no one really left me wanting to read any of the books either. Overall, however, the writing itself was decent.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Wonderful, beautiful, a love letter to the reader in all of us.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    A pleasant meander through a wide variety of books, reread and reconsidered.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mckinley

    Mixed enjoyment of reviews.

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