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Book Smart: Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days

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Jane Mallison presents a series of tips to help readers become better acquainted with literature and literary figures. This text also features 'Book Smart Recommended Reading', sidebars that lead readers to similar books and authors. Jane Mallison presents a series of tips to help readers become better acquainted with literature and literary figures. This text also features 'Book Smart Recommended Reading', sidebars that lead readers to similar books and authors.


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Jane Mallison presents a series of tips to help readers become better acquainted with literature and literary figures. This text also features 'Book Smart Recommended Reading', sidebars that lead readers to similar books and authors. Jane Mallison presents a series of tips to help readers become better acquainted with literature and literary figures. This text also features 'Book Smart Recommended Reading', sidebars that lead readers to similar books and authors.

30 review for Book Smart: Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    This is nothing more than a bound copy of any 1001/BBC Book List you can find on the internet, free. If you're still interested, definitely pick this up from your library. '...each book comes alive with historical notes, highlights on key themes and characters, and advice on how to approach reading.' Yeah, not exactly. The book contains nothing more than glorified blurbs and personal opinions of the books by the author. Advice on how to approach reading isn't done on books individually but instead This is nothing more than a bound copy of any 1001/BBC Book List you can find on the internet, free. If you're still interested, definitely pick this up from your library. '...each book comes alive with historical notes, highlights on key themes and characters, and advice on how to approach reading.' Yeah, not exactly. The book contains nothing more than glorified blurbs and personal opinions of the books by the author. Advice on how to approach reading isn't done on books individually but instead combines similar books together for theme months. I don't much care for reading a bunch of the same books back to back and instead prefer a variety. Not what I was looking for at all.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Book Smart: Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days. How could I resist that title? Author Jane Mallison categorizes 120 books into the 12 months of the year, each with its own theme, and 10 books in each month. January is “Because They Are There: Towering Works to Read in Translation” and includes such old standards as Don Quixote, Dante’s Inferno, Homer’s The Odyssey, etc. Other months include: “Growing Up: The Pains and the Pleasures” which includes some of my f Book Smart: Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days. How could I resist that title? Author Jane Mallison categorizes 120 books into the 12 months of the year, each with its own theme, and 10 books in each month. January is “Because They Are There: Towering Works to Read in Translation” and includes such old standards as Don Quixote, Dante’s Inferno, Homer’s The Odyssey, etc. Other months include: “Growing Up: The Pains and the Pleasures” which includes some of my favorites; Little Women, To Kill a Mockingbird, and one that I’m reading right now, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. “Jury Duty: Crimes of Various Sorts” with Crime and Punishment, The Scarlet Letter, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Though Jane Mallison neglects to include anything by Jane Austen and George Eliot on April’s Top Girls: Strong Women, Admirably So and Otherwise list, she redeems herself by adding in the chapter preface that she regards them as she regards Shakespeare and the Bible, the importance of reading them is too obvious to list. Now, there is no way that I could read 120 books in a year unless the majority of them were powder puff reads, but I really enjoyed reading the back stories or blurbs that Jane Mollison writes about each book included on her list. I’ve added a few more from “Book Smart” to my to-read list.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Ah, what to read, what to read? I'm always in search of books suggesting good books to read, so I was happy to see this book. Author Jane Mallison proposes a list of ten books a month, with each month having a common theme. Themes include award winners, the human condition, biographies. I was encouraged to think Mallison might be a kindred reader by noting that many of her recommended reads are books I've already read and loved, such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, In Cold Blood, Animal Farm, and Fa Ah, what to read, what to read? I'm always in search of books suggesting good books to read, so I was happy to see this book. Author Jane Mallison proposes a list of ten books a month, with each month having a common theme. Themes include award winners, the human condition, biographies. I was encouraged to think Mallison might be a kindred reader by noting that many of her recommended reads are books I've already read and loved, such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, In Cold Blood, Animal Farm, and Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry. Mallison sold me on A House for Mr. Biswas and Farewell to Arms, so much so that I have already sought them out and procured copies. A good choice for my first read of the year.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Daniel

    Why I think I need more titles to add to my ponderous list of TBR is beyond me bu tI can't help but pick up books like this. I think I love a list almost as much as I love reading. I did glean a few titles from the author's selection but it was mostly the same old tired junk I've either read and been completely unimpressed - The Great Gatsby is not great and I wish everyone would realize that. Why I think I need more titles to add to my ponderous list of TBR is beyond me bu tI can't help but pick up books like this. I think I love a list almost as much as I love reading. I did glean a few titles from the author's selection but it was mostly the same old tired junk I've either read and been completely unimpressed - The Great Gatsby is not great and I wish everyone would realize that.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Smith

    Serious readers, of which I am definitely one, are always on the lookout for thoughtful recommendations of other books one should read. This volume is subtitled “Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days,” which is pure marketing hype and not really what the author proposes. Mallison isn’t a Ph.D. in literature or a big-time critic, she’s just a very experienced English teacher and “a longtime passionate reader” who wants to share her opinions on some of the books sh Serious readers, of which I am definitely one, are always on the lookout for thoughtful recommendations of other books one should read. This volume is subtitled “Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days,” which is pure marketing hype and not really what the author proposes. Mallison isn’t a Ph.D. in literature or a big-time critic, she’s just a very experienced English teacher and “a longtime passionate reader” who wants to share her opinions on some of the books she has enjoyed. She brings together 120 books and organizes them by calendar months (with a particular theme for each month), but she actually expects you to take five or ten years to work your way through them. (Good thing, too, or you’d be looking at reading Don Quixote, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, and Dante’s Inferno all during January.) There’s a pretty good mix here of genuine classics and much more recent works whose literary permanence is still undetermined. I found I had read a little more than half her list (mostly the older ones) and there aren’t really any complaints I could make about what’s included or what isn’t. And she makes a better case for some titles in her concise two-page essays than for others, I think, but we don’t all share the same tastes in reading. You should find a number of additions here for your “To Read” list, and you will also have a pretty good notion of why you ought to attempt them.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    There are a lot of things that annoy me about this book. First of all, what is the deal with that subtitle: "Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 days"? After reading the book, I know it's quite tongue-in-cheek, but at first glance it sounded just a little overreaching and odd. Second, Jane Mallison divides her recommended books (very) loosely by theme, and it's hard to say whether that was some kind of gimmick she needed to use to sell the book or just some half-baked There are a lot of things that annoy me about this book. First of all, what is the deal with that subtitle: "Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 days"? After reading the book, I know it's quite tongue-in-cheek, but at first glance it sounded just a little overreaching and odd. Second, Jane Mallison divides her recommended books (very) loosely by theme, and it's hard to say whether that was some kind of gimmick she needed to use to sell the book or just some half-baked idea she came up with. Third, she also divides her reading list by months of the year. Once again, I don't see the point of the gimmick. Fourth, if you buy into the "in 365 days" gimmick, it becomes even more ludicrous. She has 10 book recommendations (plus some related books) for each month, and many are long or difficult reads. I read a lot, but there's no way I could read 120 books of this caliber in a year. At the same time, as "books on books" go, it's a good one. The books are diverse, and I enjoyed her little essays/synopses of each book as well as the related recommendations. Yes, you can find all kinds of book lists online, but where Mallison is strongest is in the variety of books she has recommended as well as her easily digestible insights. This is one of the few books about books that I could see myself referring to frequently.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dani

    I flipped through this book and sent it back to the library once I realized that it wasn't what I expected. It's my fault for not reading the subtitle more carefully :-). I thought this was a study guide that would help me understand the classics that I would be reading throughout the year. It is really just a list of suggestions and story synopses like a smaller version of "1001 Books to Read Before You Die". I flipped through this book and sent it back to the library once I realized that it wasn't what I expected. It's my fault for not reading the subtitle more carefully :-). I thought this was a study guide that would help me understand the classics that I would be reading throughout the year. It is really just a list of suggestions and story synopses like a smaller version of "1001 Books to Read Before You Die".

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    Interesting thematic grouping of literary (mostly) fiction. I love reading books about books, and found some new titles to add to my lifetime reading list. Worth a look-see even if you're only browsing. Interesting thematic grouping of literary (mostly) fiction. I love reading books about books, and found some new titles to add to my lifetime reading list. Worth a look-see even if you're only browsing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jane Dugger

    This is a good book for the less motivated reader. Or if you are at a loss of what to read next. Or you want to round out your educated reading list. Great quote! There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. -Joseph Brodsky

  10. 5 out of 5

    Julie G

    I love books about books, what can I say?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Fiza Pathan

    This was a very informative & well researched book. I got a lot of good book recommendations to add to my library in the near future. This book is a good introduction to anyone who wants to improve their quality of reading. I liked the way the books were divided according to the month. The author has managed to convince me through this book that one can really improve one's reading in 365 days time. I loved the index at the end of the book, it's very helpful. 'Book Smart' is really a book worth This was a very informative & well researched book. I got a lot of good book recommendations to add to my library in the near future. This book is a good introduction to anyone who wants to improve their quality of reading. I liked the way the books were divided according to the month. The author has managed to convince me through this book that one can really improve one's reading in 365 days time. I loved the index at the end of the book, it's very helpful. 'Book Smart' is really a book worth reading. Check it out. Happy reading to everyone!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Doris

    A nice overview and recommendations of many different types of books. Despite the title, the author does NOT expect anyone to read ALL these books in a year! She is simply giving you a guide to diversifying your reading choices and also letting you know what "the hype" is all about with certain books. I added many unexpected titles to my TBR pile! A nice overview and recommendations of many different types of books. Despite the title, the author does NOT expect anyone to read ALL these books in a year! She is simply giving you a guide to diversifying your reading choices and also letting you know what "the hype" is all about with certain books. I added many unexpected titles to my TBR pile!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shonna Froebel

    Besides being an avid reader, the author here was the department head of English at New York's Trinity School for more than two decades. Her list is set up by month. Each month has a theme and 10 books that fit that theme. She suggests you read the information she provides about the books and pick one to read that month (not too onerous) or pick a topic that interests you and read all ten (leaving two extra from other topics). The books are thoughtfully chosen and cover both classics and more re Besides being an avid reader, the author here was the department head of English at New York's Trinity School for more than two decades. Her list is set up by month. Each month has a theme and 10 books that fit that theme. She suggests you read the information she provides about the books and pick one to read that month (not too onerous) or pick a topic that interests you and read all ten (leaving two extra from other topics). The books are thoughtfully chosen and cover both classics and more recent writing. Non-fiction and fiction are included, along with some poetry. She gives historical information where appropriate and sometimes offers additional recommendations on a topic. Some I'd already read, some I've been meaning to read, and some I hadn't even heard of. I would have liked to see more recommendations for further reading and the reasons behind the recommendations. (There are many reasons why one might like a book, and they can lead in many directions.) I have, of course, added to my list!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Linda Lipko

    What a great read! This is, as the title notes 365 book suggestions. They are noted by categories such as Towerring Wooks to Read in Translation which contains Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales and Oedpus Rex and others Some Notable Bioographies and list The Path of Poser The Years of Lyndon Johnson and The Peabody Sisters and others Young Men on a Quest which contains works such as Walden and The Great Gatsby Strong Women, Admirably So and Otherwise here the reader fiinds Jane Eyre, the Handmaid's Tal What a great read! This is, as the title notes 365 book suggestions. They are noted by categories such as Towerring Wooks to Read in Translation which contains Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales and Oedpus Rex and others Some Notable Bioographies and list The Path of Poser The Years of Lyndon Johnson and The Peabody Sisters and others Young Men on a Quest which contains works such as Walden and The Great Gatsby Strong Women, Admirably So and Otherwise here the reader fiinds Jane Eyre, the Handmaid's Tale and The House of Mirth and others Crimes of Various Sorts which lists Thee Scarlet Letter, Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Bonfires f the Vanities and others There are other categories which are equally as delightfully rendered as those above. I've read 1/2 if those listed. I'm not sure if I would choose to read others, but maybe they are in my future. This is a delightful, creative, wonderfully written book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Debnance

    Ah, what to read, what to read? I’m always in search of books suggesting good books to read, so I was happy to see this book. Author Jane Mallison proposes a list of ten books a month, with each month having a common theme. Themes include award winners, the human condition, biographies. I was encouraged to think Mallison might be a kindred reader by noting that many of her recommended reads are books I’ve already read and loved, such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, In Cold Blood, Animal Farm, and Fam Ah, what to read, what to read? I’m always in search of books suggesting good books to read, so I was happy to see this book. Author Jane Mallison proposes a list of ten books a month, with each month having a common theme. Themes include award winners, the human condition, biographies. I was encouraged to think Mallison might be a kindred reader by noting that many of her recommended reads are books I’ve already read and loved, such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, In Cold Blood, Animal Farm, and Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry. Mallison sold me on A House for Mr. Biswas and Farewell to Arms, so much so that I have already sought them out and procured copies. A good choice for my first read of the year.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    There are some really great works cited in this book, and it was nice to revisit them in a quiet and gentle way. Many I feel I ought to reread. There are also some works that I really have no interest in reading, which makes me feel vaguely guilty and under-appreciative. In any case, I skimmed through most all of this and added a bunch of "read" books from my college days (yay!) and a handful of "to read" books as well. There are some really great works cited in this book, and it was nice to revisit them in a quiet and gentle way. Many I feel I ought to reread. There are also some works that I really have no interest in reading, which makes me feel vaguely guilty and under-appreciative. In any case, I skimmed through most all of this and added a bunch of "read" books from my college days (yay!) and a handful of "to read" books as well.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lorna

    I do like books about books. I doubt I'll ever be a literary genius though because I probably won't read many of the books listed in this book. I did enjoy the many thoughts concerning reading though, such as: "We read to know that we are not alone." - C.S. Lewis I do like books about books. I doubt I'll ever be a literary genius though because I probably won't read many of the books listed in this book. I did enjoy the many thoughts concerning reading though, such as: "We read to know that we are not alone." - C.S. Lewis

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stevefk

    One of the better books for those seeking book recommendations in a succinct breezy manner. Most of the listings that I have already read are good ones, making the ones I have not read seem of value. Just what the doctor ordered for a simple fella like myself.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Krob

    I just like books about books, and this is a good one with suggested titles for every month of the year. I have gotten a few good suggestions of books to read that I never would have picked out on my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I really enjoyed this book. I'm actually going to buy it and work through all the books it lists. I really enjoyed this book. I'm actually going to buy it and work through all the books it lists.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I am currently using this as a guide to books I might like to read. ;-)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deb Cutler

    This book has prompted me to really think about what books I would include in a list of this nature and what books my friends would add. I am also starting a list of these books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    LynnDee (LynnDee's Library)

    It definitely gave me more books to add to my "to-read" list, but with some of the synopses of the books, she kind of gave away the endings, which I didn't like. It definitely gave me more books to add to my "to-read" list, but with some of the synopses of the books, she kind of gave away the endings, which I didn't like.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tfalcone

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Morgan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy W

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christine Boris

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jorge

  29. 5 out of 5

    Atticus Harkins

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

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