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Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  1,282 ratings  ·  275 reviews
“It’s not that I don’t like people,” writes Maureen Corrigan in her introduction to Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading. “It’s just that there always comes a moment when I’m in the company of others—even my nearest and dearest—when I’d rather be reading a book.” In this delightful memoir, Corrigan reveals which books and authors have shaped her own life—from classic works of Engli ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2005)
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As a true book lover, I was drawn to this book by the title.

However, I found the book a little disjointed and less about the joy of reading books in general, less about the transportive effect of books, and more a literary analysis of various books thrown in amongst various autobiographical bits of the author's life.

Also, I have a bit of a "pebble in my shoe" issue after reading this book. I very much dislike it when authors throw in certain "facts" to support an argument but don't provide you
Rebecca Foster
I discovered a kindred spirit in Maureen Corrigan. A Georgetown professor and book reviewer for NPR’s “Fresh Air,” she is lucky enough to make a living by reading and then writing (and talking) about what she’s read. The very first lines of her book convinced me that I’d found a like-minded soul: “It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that when I’m in the company of others – even my nearest and dearest – there always comes a moment when I’d rather be reading a book.” I couldn’t agree more ...more
So let's start off with a couple of things. First off, I love NPR. I love Fresh Air. I love NPR. Maureen Corrigan being the book reviewer for NPR= extreme jealously/worship. Second off, I adore books about books. I could read books about books all day forever and ever. Ok now that we have that established...forward march!

I really did enjoy this memoir, I loved how she incorporated books into nearly everything and I was laughing out loud more than a few times just out of sheer disbelief. I have h
I love this book.
I love this book even though it has complicated my life by adding dozens and dozens of books to the list of books I will never have time to read, dammit.

** Maureen Corrigan is related to Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan.
** She once lived a part-time approximation of Harriet Vane in Gaudy Night.
** Her literary loves include mysteries with hard-boiled detectives ("the ultimate independent contractors").
** As a child, she read many Catholic "martyr stories" that taught a "pedagogical t
I was really excited to read this book, but I couldn't get through all of it. I liked the introduction, but then the meat of the book reminded me (in a bad way) of my brief stint at an English major. I didn't like being tricked into reading literary criticism!
Maureen Corrigan, noted book critic from NPR's "Fresh Air," has written a memoir for true book lovers who do not see their reading life as separate from real life. Growing up Irish-Catholic in New York, the daughter of a World War II Navy vet (himself a huge reader), Corrigan recounts her life in terms of the books she read along the way, studying literature at Fordham and Penn, teaching at Georgetown, and eventually marrying another passionate reader and adopting a Chinese girl. Particularly co ...more
Amber Dunten
Overall, I found this book moderately enjoyable, but for me the most transformative aspect of it was Corrigan's discussion of her own newly minted genre, the "female extreme-adventure novel."

This was an "Aha!" moment for me-- that throughout the history of novel writing, while men and male protagonists have been out exploring the physical landscape and challenging their physical limits, women and female protagonists have been exploring an inner landscape as jagged and formidable as any mountain
Scott Taylor
This book is what happens when a book reviewer turns her critical eye to her own existence. Any avid reader should appreciate the importance of books in one's own life and how they shape those who read. Corrigan says, apologetically, that we read to find authenticity, a scrap of something that will improve our understanding of ourselves. Perhaps. She says that reading a book can be a dangerous thing sometimes. True.

Peppered with examples from books she has read, this is a kind of memoir that ev
As soon as I read the first sentence in the author's introduction I knew I was hooked: "It's not that I don't like people. It's just that when I'm in the company of others - even my nearest and dearest - there always comes moment when I'd rather be reading a book." My sentiments exactly! So I figured Maureen Corrigan and I must have a lot in common – despite the fact that she’s the book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air and the only book reviews I ever publish are the ones that show up here on Goodread ...more
Oh, this one was a hard one to rank. It was a three when I first picked it up, a two when I first put it down, a four when I picked it up again years later, and a three when I put it back down a second time. I was determined to knock off a lot of low-hanging almost-finished fruit from my TBR pile this weekend, and I finally read the last thirty pages. So, hey, let's average this out to a three? Ish?

This is one of those books that tragically reinforces my extreme reluctance to get rid of books.
Mary La douceur
Deja vu! From her 1960's parochial school upbringing to her love of books and description of the books piled all over her house, I felt instantly at home with Maureen.

Maureen weaves a narrative of her life thus far and enthusiastically delves into the books that were companions throughout. She describes the Karen books which I also had to read in school. Tom Dooley which my brother had in his room and she also gets into many great classics of literature as well as explaining her love of detectiv
Don't be fooled -- this isn't a memoir. But it's not lit theory either... it's mostly the wishy washy area in between. Here Maureen Corrigan spoils plot after plot, stringing together a series of dubiously connected book reviews. She makes excuses at various points of the book for her "lack of methodology" and lack of direction, which are the downfall of this book. She tries to read feminist themes into a variety of crappy fiction, which might be admirable if she didn't make so many gendered com ...more
This book holds the same rambling flaws of disorganization that plague So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures, in the extreme. I'm tired of reading about Corrigan's life disguised as good nonfiction about literature -- when really it's just a memoir by someone who doesn't need to write one.

I knew from the first dozen pages of chapter one that I wouldn't like this book. I gave it 40 pages, didn't even finish chapter one, and then set it down to seek out better things. G
I am a sucker for books about books. I'm a long-time fan of Maureen Corrigan's Fresh Air book reviews and when I found out she was an author in her own right (duh - late to the table there), I high-tailed it to the library. She didn't disappoint. In this book, which is part memoir, part literary criticism for the masses, Corrigan examines her life in books - those that meant the most to her during different parts of her life, including her grad school years, her relationship with her husband as ...more
Oct 13, 2009 Gwen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gwen by: Brigitte Weeks Washington Post 10/2/05
Shelves: non-fiction
From Brigitte Weeks' review in The Washington Post 10/2/05:

[Maureen Corrigan:]'s enthusiasm for the novels of Susan Isaacs reflects her winning openness to popular fiction. She calls Isaacs "Jane Austen with a schmear" and judges her "one of our great underappreciated contemporary writers." I am delighted to imagine all the listeners of "Fresh Air" enjoying Isaacs's Shining Through, one of Corrigan's favorites, starring a legal secretary from Queens who finds herself in Nazi Germany as an agent
May 22, 2015 Joanne-in-Canada rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of literary criticism
Being a fan of Maureen Corrigan's NPR book reviews, I "heard" most of this book in my head in the author's distinctive timbre. The material is a healthy blend of Corrigan's personal relationship with books, academic thoughts about non-academic genres, and reflections on her personality and where it has led her for good and for bad.

Although I found her detailed analysis of women's extreme-adventure stories and hard-boiled detective novels intriguing, her investigation of Catholic families as a to
The author, a book review for NPR and the Village Voice, discusses her lifelong love of books and how voracious reading has shaped her thought and life, from her Catholic school days to marriage and her adoption of a daughter from China. Corrigan reads through her Catholic, feminist prism, and though I don’t always agree with her analysis – the ending of Pride and Prejudice as subjugation of Elizabeth’s fiery spirit, for example – she’s always entertaining, erudite, and easy to read. It’s an unu ...more
I went thru phases of really liking it and just liking it. Mostly really liking it. Her words grow on you. Her descriptions and the way she phrased things somehow, as the book jacket says "weaves" you into into her life. For those who appreciate books and know the value of a good story.
There is a longer review at my blog.

But in short, I did not like this, and I was surprised, because it seemed so much the sort of thing I would enjoy. When Corrigan talks about books as a professional, suggesting alternate readings, she is marvelous -- but when she goes into memoir I found her quite dreary.
A wonderful personal memoir by one who really loves books, and has made them her life's work. Maureen has a talent for describing her most loved and influential books; and the way in which they have shaped her life. Reading her memoir I was inspired to look again at some books that she gives special attention to. I was delighted to find that she writes reviews for a well known paper in New York, and that some of these reviews can be accessed online. One of the books that she recommends is "Gaudy ...more
exciting title, tedious book. ugh. author works out her issues with catholic upbringing and lack-of-strong-female-role-models-in-books-by-males. she has two quotes that work against her-- "...reading good books doesn't necessarily make one a good person-- or a smarter, funnier, or more cultivated person." and "great books untouchables ... have always struck me as purring a bit too loudly over the beauty of their own sentence structure. the tone of a lot of academic literary theory repels me..." ...more
I was immediately attracted to this book by the title. It evokes curling up with a good book while time passes by.
Ms. Corrigan is a book reviewer and a professor of English. In the course of the book she often starts discussing a book she loves, which is interesting, but then the professor side of her gets involved and starts analysing the book to death, which is not interesting. She is a fan of detective novels and devotes a large section to a discussion of them, which I really enjoyed. However
Oh my, I felt completely identified with the narrator in this book, and I felt vindicated by her analysis of the murder mystery genre, because it mirrors very much what I've been trying to tell people for years.
A book about books. Corrigan is the book reviewer for Fresh Air on NPR. I'll read anything with a title like "losing myself in books." Corrigan divides her work into three major sections: 1) women's high adventure; 2) mysteries and detectives; and 3) Catholic stories from her girlhood. I can relate to all three.

In Corrigan's definition, "high adventure" for women includes the marriage market which in pre-feminist eras could make or break a girl. She claims Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre are
Bill FromPA
“… my own enduring faith that you find the books you need when you need them – even if they’re not the books you start out thinking you need”
– Maureen Corrigan, Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books

Shortly before starting this book, I had attempted to compile a list of my favorite books from over a lifetime of reading. Looking for an organizing principle, I started to list them chronologically in the order I first read them. What I discovered was that my list was also a
Megan Hewins
Ugh. I was supposed to like this. The title was fantastic. But good grief, this book went beyond kitsch. I felt a little apprehensive when the author was dismissing really great authors like Jean Rhys and Toni Morrison in favor of authors I'd never encountered before. But I hadn't read those authors so I stopped and picked up a couple of the books she waxed poetic about.

Corrigan has a theme she returns to her reading and this novel of a genre of books she refers to as female adventure stories,
Dean Anderson
Looking at my Goodreads account, it lists over 1500 books I've read and there must be many books I've read in my life but I can't remember to post. We recently moved and gave away hundreds of books but still have hundreds more, some on shelves and some still in boxes. So it wasn't difficult for me to relate to and delight in Maureen Corrigan's love of books. Corrigan is most famous for her weekly book reviews on NPR's program about cultural trends, Fresh Air.
Especially since many of the books sh
This was a great, fun book. She's NPR's Fresh Air book critic and has a true love for strong female characters like detectives, adventurers, etc. Lots of great book recommendations inside, reminds me why I love reading! ALSO recommended for anyone who grew up Catholic, because she did, and talks a lot about how that upbringing affected what she loves to read (in a positive way). I found it fascinating!
It's not as good as so we read on, her new book on the great Gatsby, which is great. There are later chapters about Catholic girl literature and other personal preoccupations that I started skipping through. The title of course is priceless. The beginning chapters are fun and interesting, and her love for her original model for being a reader--her father--is always truly touching, and very worth reading. She's an interesting, fun person and I wld recommend both her books, I just couldn't go all ...more
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“It's not that I don't like people. It's just that when I'm in the company of others - even my nearest and dearest - there always comes a moment when I'd rather be reading a book.” 1739 likes
“We read literature for a number of reasons, but two of the most compelling ones are to get out of ourselves and our own life stories and - especially important - to find ourselves by understanding our own life stories more clearly in the context of others.” 9 likes
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