I'll be putting a longer write-up about this book on my blog in the next couple days, combining my thoughts on this with my reaction to another book I'm finishing up - The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine. They're very different books but they struck similar chords for me. Quiet by Susan Cain was full of "that is so me!" moments. I already knew I was an introvert, but I did not realize the extent to which introversion traits create such predictable behavior patterns, or all the little ways introverts and extroverts can run into misunderstandings with each other. I found this book extremely insightful and full of valuable background information from studies, surveys, and interviews.
I will say, though, it fell prey to a common problem with these kinds of non-fiction pop psychology books: anecdote overload. I really don't care about anecdotal examples, but publishers seem to think American readers won't read books without them. That said, Susan Cain used her anecdotes much more gracefully than many other books like this I've read. She has a wonderful conversational style of writing, yet she doesn't go on too long or repeat herself too much either.
My experience of this book might be very different in that my husband read it aloud to me over a month of book dates. So in a sense I heard it as an audiobook, but also with co-reader right there to compare and contrast reactions as we were reading it together. Mark seemed to have a very different overall impression of it, which he will explain in his review. :-)
Personally, I highly recommend it to both extroverts and introverts. There is an excellent chapter for parents and teachers, about raising introverted children. There is also a lot of good advice for introverts figuring out how to present what they have to offer. If I were in a book club, this would be my next pick. (less)
From the author: "Partly it was how much we got wrong about the world as we drew our maps (the Mountains of Kong are only the start of it; there once were more than 120 mapped islands in the Pacific that weren't really there), but partly I was surprised about how much we got right."(less)
I have several books-about-books on our shelves, and I might have this one... ? But I didn't even realize it was the same Denby who writes the movie r...moreI have several books-about-books on our shelves, and I might have this one... ? But I didn't even realize it was the same Denby who writes the movie reviews I love in the New Yorker till I read E's review of the book. Sweet!(less)
I'm just guessing that I read this book around 2005 ... something like that. The first part of the book is an excellent guide to getting more out of y...moreI'm just guessing that I read this book around 2005 ... something like that. The first part of the book is an excellent guide to getting more out of your reading addiction, and the second part is a rich listing of "classics" broken down by category (History, Biography, Literature, Poetry and so on) with suggestions for specific editions and translations. A wonderful reference book to own. (less)
Mixed in with the eye-opening insights, history tidbits, and interesting photograph examples were moments of the ridiculous: anthropomorphized furniture, big assumptions, and contradictions. I enjoyed the book, and I think there are important points made about how we do or should think of architecture, about the ways our homes do or don't "fit" us, about the present complimenting the past. At the same time, I'm not sure who I would recommend this book to. (less)