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How Reading Changed My...
Anna Quindlen
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How Reading Changed My Life

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,866 Ratings  ·  399 Reviews
"The Library of Contemporary Thought" is a groundbreaking series where America's finest writers and most brilliant minds tackle today's most provocative, fascinating, and relevant issues. Striking and daring, creative and important, these original voices on matters political, social, economic, and cultural, will enlighten, comfort, entertain, enrage, and ignite healthy deb ...more
Hardcover, 84 pages
Published August 31st 1998 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 1998)
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Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anna Quindlen is a veteran novelist and New York Times columnist who has won the Pulitzer Prize for her journalism. In this short book of essays that packs a punch, she takes us down her memory lane to tell us why she reads, citing her favorite books along the way. For this lovely reflection on the reading and writing life, I rate How Reading Changed My Life 4 stars.

People have been reading for various reasons since the first printed word appeared on cuneiform thousands of years ago. Books have
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookishness, essays
I have a fondness for books about books. I love it when writers and fellow bibliophiles wax nostalgic about their favorite reading experiences. Reading is a way of exploring the world without leaving your living room, and reading about other readers reminds me that I am not alone in my love of curling up with a good book.

This is a thoughtful collection of essays by Anna Quindlen on various topics about books and reading. It is a slim book, only 70 pages of prose and then a few lists of favorite
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed this book for the most part. It's quite biographical, as the title implies, but it also has a lot of information about the history of books, reading etc. Great quotes about reading by famous writers are also included.

I could definitely relate to many of Quindlen's experiences as a reader. For example, the hostility and suspicion that some look upon readers.I did find that she made some assumptions though. For example, not all children who were readers were solitary and preferred their
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-on-books
If you have been a book lover since you were a child, this book is for you! I felt as though Quindlen was speaking directly to me, and expressing my same thoughts about reading. She talks of changes as she grew up (50s/60s) with books like Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and how today things are changing with technology. She writes "It's 30 years since man first walked on the moon, and when people sit down to a big old fashioned supper it is still a plate of roast beef and mashed potatoes, not a ...more
This very short book praises the act of reading. Quindlen who was educated in Catholic parochial schools (as I was for 6 of my K-12 education) described an educational experience that was very familiar. My family also had a set of encyclopedias, and Reader's Digest condensed books. We got the daily newspaper, the weekly Catholic Transcript newspaper, and Reader's Digest. But form a young age, I had a library card. Libraries were essential. Books were expensive and Quindlen discusses the fact tha ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The part of this book that I liked talked about what it means to be a lover of books. Her voracious reading of books as a girl mirrors my childhood as an avid reader. I would brush my teeth reading a book! I would hide under the covers with a flashlight reading books so my dad wouldn't know I was still awake! I liked that she challenged the perception "non-lovers of books" have about book lovers being lazy because they read so much. She also reinforces my belief that we don't always have to read ...more
I love to read books about books. When surrounded by many who have no desire to read I sometimes find myself losing some faith in humanity's future. I truly do not understand the lack of desire. I can't imagine going anywhere without a book and guess what, because of that I'm NEVER bored.
By the way, why is it socially unacceptable to read a book instead of stare at your phone?

At a young age I was taken by my father to our local library. He truly read everything. He would pick out a large stack
Julie Suzanne
Dec 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: auto-bio-memoir
Before sending this to an interested fellow bookcrosser, I flipped through the pages as a way of saying goodbye. I ended up reading the whole book again! Initially, this book was required reading for a college seminar course about "how we read." It was the best course of my life for many reasons, but this book was one of probably 20 books I was reading in a 3-month period. So I'm sure I got more out of it this second time.
It's wonderful! Inspiring! Quindlen is an outstanding writer who makes any
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

3.5 stars

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”

I've been in such a mood to read books about books and love of reading. This short book has an author who always loved reading - the first part of the book was the best. After that it became a little flawed, but overall there are points in each chapter worth noting.

So far I'm in love with this author's writing style! It's interesting how she opens the book with not only her love
Victoria Evangelina Belyavskaya
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who loves books and reading


I love being on planes, love being in airports; sometimes I truly feel that I like journey more than the destination: it is a time out of time, a moment in life to fully relax and take all the responsibility off my shoulders, and, as Anna Quindlen helped me to fully realize, a time to read:

"This is what I like about traveling: the time on airplanes spent reading, solitary, happy. It turns out that when my younger self thought of taking wing, she wanted only to let her spirit so
Beth Bonini
I was first assigned this book as part of a Young Adult literature class I was taking for my Master's degree in reading education. I have a real soft spot for books about books and personal essays about the all-absorbing pleasure of reading. I could identify with Anna Quindlen: not only had we read and loved so many of the same books, and been formed by them, but at some fundamental level we are both people who would rather be reading than doing almost anything else. I suspect that 98% of the wo ...more
Carol Storm
Sep 13, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The thing that jumps out at you when you leaf through this bland, inoffensive, feature article sized little booklet is not so much that Anna Quindlen loves books, but that she has an infallible instinct for the second rate. To Kill A Mockingbird, not Huckleberry Finn. The Catcher In The Rye, not A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, not Call It Sleep. A Christmas Carol, not Moby Dick. This more than a matter of laziness or bad taste. Anna Quindlen is instinctively dr ...more
Anna Quindlen has written an amazing little book for book-lovers everywhere. She touches on subjects many of us bibliphiles are familiar with--our beloved books from childhood and how our opinions of them change, the need for a physical book in your hand (as opposed to an e-reader), and the stereotype that we as voracious readers are loners, weird, or lazy. Even if you don't love to read, I can only imagine that this book would encourage you to and change your mind. I felt the book was the perfe ...more
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I love Anna Quindlen's thoughts on reading, and I love knowing that there are others out there who feel the same way I do about books and reading. Some favorite quotes:
" never seemed to me like a book, but like a place I had lived in, had visited and would visit again, just as all the people in them, every blessed one-Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, Jay Gatsby, Elizabeth Bennet, Scarlet O'Hara, Dill and Scout, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot-were more real than the real people I knew."
"In bo
I enjoyed Quindlen's reminiscences about growing up with books. As she recalled a neighbors basement filled with books that she borrowed and read; I too could remember a relatives home filled with books. I recalled the feeling I had when I pulled books from those shelves and how the books felt in my hands and the musty smell of them.

Like Quindlen I have had a love affair with books all my life. Reading this book is like remembering an old lover. I got a warm, fuzzy feeling thinking about the pla
Laura Stenzel
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely retrospective for all of us who had to be forced to "put down that stupid book".
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yum. What reader isn't gonna give it 5 stars?
Mar 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Perhaps it is true that at a base we readers are dissatisfied people , yearning to be elsewhere to live vicariously through words in a way we cannot live directly through life. Perhaps we are the world's great nomads , if only in our minds"

everyone in goodreads could absolutely relate to her in this book. a magnificent amount of love toward reading. that's why I could enjoy this book. Unfortunately , she mentioned too much about that book , this book , without particularly explain why the books
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really just always enjoy books about books. This one was rife with relatable experiences and recommendations I couldn't add to my amazon cart fast enough. My only beef with it is what I felt was her underlying assumption that across the board, the life of a woman (especially in a traditional role) is an unfulfilling one that must be escaped from. It was kind of a recurring theme in the book. I stay home with my children, and I don't read because I'm repressed -- I read because it feeds my soul ...more
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book. Anna Quindlen describes her enjoyment of reading through her life. She includes references to many books and some anecdotes about her family, other authors, and reading in general.

At one point she discusses gender differences about reading. She either makes or discusses a generalization that women enjoy more fiction and men enjoy information. I'm not fond of statements like this without reference to relevant research. And even properly supported, I'm not sure what if anything t
Norma Christensen
I have read ever since I can remember. I searched through school libraries, musty old shelves containing hidden gems. We read this little book for book club and although we all know why we read, this was a gentle reminder of how much we love to read. I have not always read the best material as my daughter is quick to point out, but I have read all of the standard works of scripture. I spent many years reading nothing except religious materials, and teaching Sunday school.
I am more selective in
Her reverence for reading was highly threatened by the rambling prose... The last chapter and the following book lists redeemed this (digital) book in my eyes.

Picking up the book from the library just to have the book lists for reference (and add to my TBR ;))
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now I know why Anna Quindlen is my mom's "soul sister" ; )
Sharon Metcalf
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Well, that was a quick read (referred to as an extended essay in the Acknowledgements). Interesting certainly but it wasn't the reading experience I expected. A couple of times Anna Quindlen made it personal as she wrote about how certain books had made her feel, emotions evoked, but on the whole it felt more like a history of books. I found it interesting to note how times have changed in the almost two decades since she wrote this in 1998. Sure we booklovers often prefer the tradional book but ...more
Shari Wiemer
This was a quick read meant to preach to the choir, rather than to suggest ways to inspire a love of reading, as I'd hoped it would be. There were dozens of references to the books that she's read, which could be taken as reading suggestions, or something more akin to namedropping at a cocktail party. I leaned towards the latter.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I really liked this but wanted more! At this point it's also a little outdated with regard to e-books, but I loved it nonetheless.
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Another intimate conversation with Anna Quindlen about the constant romance of being a reader. She shares the trajectory of her life as a reader, from the moments that inspired and solidified her love of reading, to the moments with books that taught her more about life than the people around her. What I appreciate was that the short 80 something page book was interlaced with her personal anecdotes but not focused on them.

There was no pretentious recounting of how a writer came to be through he
Sep 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Other bookworms...
How Reading Changed My Life is a short (71 page) volume of reflections on the role reading has played in Anna Quindlen's life and development as a writer. It is a quick, easy, and entertaining read, and one in which I found Ms. Quindlen’s experiences with reading often reflected my own. I recall on one occasion being approached by a group of my nieces and nephews at my wife’s family reunion (many years ago…they are now grown and many have been converted to reading). I was sitting on the grass re ...more
Melissa Prange
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Reading is a lonely pursuit and we can often forget that there are many of others throughout the world who love the land of books so much as us. Anna Quindlen is one such person, and she kindly enough shares her thoughts on reading and readers in How Reading Changed My Life.
There are chapters in this book about her voracious reading as a child, book censorship, the future of books, and the companionship between readers. The final topic is perhaps exemplified in my personal experience with this
Ellen Keim
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is a testament to the joy and importance of reading. The author, who wrote nonfiction (as a journalist and columnist) for most of her career and more recently novels, recounts the role books have played in her life in a mere 70 pages (plus 12 pages of suggested reading lists). My library had it categorized as memoir, but it's much more than that. The edition I read was published by the Library of Contemporary Thought, in which "America's most original voices tackle today's most provocat ...more
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ANNA QUINDLEN is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction, and self-help bestseller lists. She is the author of eight novels: Object Lessons, One True Thing, Black and Blue, Blessings, Rise and Shine, Every Last One, Still Life with Bread Crumbs, and Miller’s Valley. Her memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, published in 2012, was a number one New York Times bests ...more
More about Anna Quindlen...
“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” 4782 likes
“In books I have traveled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.” 856 likes
More quotes…