Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “On Reading, Writing and Living with Books (Found on the Shelves)” as Want to Read:
On Reading, Writing and Living with Books (Found on the Shelves)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

On Reading, Writing and Living with Books

(Found on The Shelves of The London Library #6)

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  32 reviews
"This little body of thought, that lies before me in the shape of a book, has existed thousands of years, nor since the invention of the press can anything short of an universal convulsion of nature abolish it".

On Reading, Writing and Living with Books is part of 'Found on the Shelves', published with The London Library. The books in this series have been chosen to give a
Paperback, 96 pages
Published May 5th 2016 by Pushkin Press & The London Library
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about On Reading, Writing and Living with Books, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about On Reading, Writing and Living with Books

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  169 ratings  ·  32 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of On Reading, Writing and Living with Books (Found on the Shelves)
Jenny (Reading Envy)
A quick read featuring various writers who were members of The London Library and their thoughts on books and writing. Virginia Woolf! Charles Dickens! EM Forster! Great stuff, pieces I hadn't seen, and I loved the Woolf in particular. I will be able to use some of this in my reading class that I teach, for reading reflections.

The publisher provided me a copy via Edelweiss. Thanks!
Eric Anderson
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Books are an important physical presence around anyone who feels reading is a major part of living. I can spend a lot of time just gazing at my shelves wondering what I should read or reread next or simply enjoying the company of my books. Of course, no book was created in isolation but produced by someone who was influenced by reading countless other books. The traditional hub for many great writers to discover books that inspire and inform them has been the library. This year The London Librar ...more
May 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Meh. This was okay. I thought from the title it would be far more interesting than it actually was. Highlights were Charles Dickens's letters, and of course Virginia Woolf's essay. Everything else fell a bit flat (George Eliot sure knew how to waffle on...)
Stan Skrabut
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, reading
A couple of weeks ago, I received a wonderful gift in the mail. Susan Henking, who I have now known for 20 years, sent me the book, On Reading, Writing and Living with Books (The London Library) . It was a wonderful book to read as I started this year’s reading list. It provided me with an opportunity to kick back and reflect on my reading and writing. Read more ...more
Stacey (bookishpursuit)
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dec 26, 2017 rated it liked it
A nicely-produced little collection of essays and letters by Woolf, George Eliot,Leigh Hunt, Dickens and E.M.Forster. They are jointly published by Pushkin Press and the London Library, and Forster's essay is a mini-history and in praise of the London Library. They are discursive, celebratory rather than analytical, but George Eliot's short essay on authorship stands out as being the work of a serious intellect, carefully argued, and unashamedly elitist. 'It is for art to present images of a lov ...more
Matt Heavner
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun and funny. Good for bibliophiles. Another good addition to this series of pieces from the past
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
This was quite a find and a real delight to read. Some of English Literature's most popular authors share with us their thoughts on books, writing and reading. Virginia Woolf's essay on "How Should One Read a Book?" is inspired and still relevant today. She writes, "the only advice that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your instincts, use your own reason and come to your own conclusions." I love this as that's how I feel about reading too. Charles Dickens ...more
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slim little treasure, a collection of letters and essays on reading and writing. The highlight is Dickens letter to Eliot, where Dickens solidly demonstrates he is as fine a reader and critic as he is a writer.
My Books by Leigh Hunt (written in 1822 ca.)

“Sitting, last winter, among my books, and walled round with all the comfort and protection which they and my fireside could afford me... I began to consider how I loved them, too, not only for the imaginative pleasures they afforded me, but for their making me love the very books themselves, and delight to be in contact with them.”

“I entrench myself in my books equally against sorrow and the weather.”

“On the right and left of me are bookshelves; a boo
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
This is collection of established english novelist, poet etc on issue with London library & books. But i was my interested click after read a few line by Virginia Woolf, and that is very credible article written, i only heard of her name, yet to read any of her writing. i must say i love what i read, fair, clarity, smart but not too deep to dive in. and this book actually make me want to find out more about her writing. the rest of the contributor , i cannot say much, charles dicken did not writ ...more
Terry Clague
Jun 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
It's saying something when it takes a few attempts for a publisher (for it was me) to read a very short book about books but here we are. The series is certainly a nice idea - to celebrate its anniversary, The London Library selected material from their collection "not seen for decades or longer." On reading this volume, one is tempted to wonder if there were a good reason for the lack of usage given the inclusion of content that ranges from self-indulgent to apparent filler knocked out by a big ...more
Carmen Harris
While I am usually gung-ho about all books about books, as my passion for books and their importance will never dim, this book was mixed at best for its essay collection, only two even really eliciting a response worth remembering: Virginia Woolf's essay and E.M. Forster's. Most others were okay or forgettable (some almost droning on without real purpose or for forwarding any true point.) This book was a fast, but mildly-interesting read and one which I will never pick up again, which is depress ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. Small collection of pieces by authors expressing their love of libraries and writing. Best to me were the two letters fromDickens to fellow authors. He wrote to George Elliot, expressing his amazement at his ability to capture the feelings of women. No one knew that George was a woman. Other bits pretty dull.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
"The only advice, indeed, that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions. If this is agreed between us, then I feel at liberty to put forward a few ideas..." - Virginia Woolf
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed some of these essays far more than others (Virginia Woolf's on the whole was a struggle for me, although I loved the last paragraph) but on the whole found this an enjoyable ode to loving books and reading.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This essay collection was just pure magic. Absolutely adored it!
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I was born to late to be forced to read Virginia Woolf and George Eliot. Their essays here were a pleasure. Next assignment. Looking them up at my local library.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Some of these letters and essays were really good but some of them didn't really made me think or wasn't really interesting. Virginia Woolf's and Leigh Hunt's were my favourites.
I really enjoyed the first essay, "How Should One Read a Book?" by Virginia Woolf. I think I'd read it before in school but didn't appreciate it as much then
Sofie Strömvall
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Always interesting to read what authors think about other authors and their works!
Simona Dreca
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, edelweiss
Thanks to Edelweiss for preview.

Those who love books often like to talk about books with other people, or read of others who share the same mania.
This book not only allows us to share our thoughts about books and the pleasure of reading, but also allows us to know the thoughts of some great writers about books.
Among all the writings contained in this volume, Virginia Woolf's one - with her analysis of the capabilities that we utilize for reading, an art that holds together perception and imagina
Grace Coppinger
Sep 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I appreciate this book for what it is, a short little look into the fact of literature by some of the worlds most popular authors.

I especially loved the opening piece by Virginia Woolf, and the letter by Charles Dickens. The rest of the inclusions, unfortunately, didn't particularly strike me as anything exceptional.

None the less I still consider my money well spent. It's theories are quite interesting.

3 out of 5 stars.
Kirsty Stanley
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A selection of writing on reading/writing/books from famous members of The London Library. See my activity for brief reviews of individual essays - some were more meaningful than others. Standout was Virginia Woolf on How Should One Read a Book?
I`m not quite sure what I`m trying to find in books like this (i.e. books about books). In any case I didn`t discover it here. The only really enjoyable part for me was E.M. Forster`s "The London Library". ...more
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
For such a short book this took me longer than I expected to read. The topic was fascinating but the text was dense, with lots of word not commonly used these days and the odd passage in Latin. To read and completely understand it I had to slow down.
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
A lovely collection of essays and letters focused on the topics of reading and writing books. My favourites were the letters penned by Charles Dickens, they were fascinating and wonderful to read.
M. Sarki
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Charming little book and so well-written.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
A book for a starving anglophile
Mugren Ohaly
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
The only part I liked was "My Books" by Leigh Hunt
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Envious Siblings: and Other Morbid Nursery Rhymes
  • The Buddha of Suburbia
  • At Attention (Out of Uniform, #2)
  • I Do (Out of Uniform, #2.5)
  • The Truth About Magic
  • The Annotated Alice
  • Night Shift
  • Caroline's Heart
  • Falling Down
  • Honeymoon for One
  • Aria
  • Sugar Summer
  • Lava (NHB Modern Plays)
  • The Proof of Love
  • Shook (NHB Modern Plays)
  • Leave Taking
  • Meet Cute Club (Sweet Rose #1)
  • I'm Afraid of Men
See similar books…
(Adeline) Virginia Woolf was an English novelist and essayist regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century.

During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the book-length e

Other books in the series

Found on The Shelves of The London Library (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Cycling: The Craze of the Hour
  • The Lure of the North
  • On Corpulence: Feeding the Body and Feeding the Mind
  • Life in a Bustle: Advice to Youth (The London Library)
  • The Gentlewoman's Book of Sports
  • Through a Glass Lightly: Confession of a Reluctant Water Drinker
  • The Right to Fly
  • The Noble English Art of Self-Defence
  • Hints on Etiquette: A Shield Against the Vulgar
  • A Woman's Walks

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
5 likes · 0 comments