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Morningstar: Growing Up with Books

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  953 ratings  ·  282 reviews
In her admired works of fiction, including the recent The Book that Matters Most, Ann Hood explores the transformative power of literature. Now, with warmth and honesty, Hood reveals the personal story behind these works of fiction. Growing up in a mill town in Rhode Island, in a household that didn't foster the love of literature, Hood nonetheless learned to channel her i ...more
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Published August 1st 2017 by HighBridge Audio
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Hannah Greendale
Ann Hood grew up in a household where books were neither owned nor read. Nonetheless, a shelf of books in her elementary school classroom became a refuge for her imagination. In this brief memoir, Hood shares her enduring love of reading and reveals which books transformed her life.

How can I describe what reading gave to me? An escape from my lonely school days, where girls seemed to speak a language I didn’t understand. A glimpse into the possibilities of words and stories. A curiosity about t
...more
Diane S ☔
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book about books, the second I have read in a short space of time. Nothing too different, an authors experience with her love of books and the books that changed her life, seeming to fall into her hands at just the right time. What resonated with me though was that her reading experiences, the books themselves, and even the time period when she read them , as well as her reactions when she read them, almost perfectly matched my own.

One in particular was almost a perfect match and it is
...more
Diane
This is an absolutely delightful memoir about the author's favorite and most influential books from her childhood. Ann Hood was a precocious and curious child who loved to escape into the world of books. Here she shares her stories about reading, lessons she's learned, and how books helped her better understand her friends and family.

This memoir is structured in short essays, and Hood writes about several books that were important to her, including Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar, Sylvia Plath's The Bel
...more
Darlene
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"How can I describe what reading gave to me? An escape from my lonely school days,
where girls seemed to speak in a language I didn't understand. A glimpse into the
possibilities of words and stories. A curiosity about the world and about people--
the young Amelia Earhart seeing her first airplane, Helen Keller's silent world,
Nancy Drew solving mysteries, David Copperfield surviving the streets of Victorian
England."

This book, Morningstar: Growing Up with Books is the
...more
Kimberly Dawn
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The books she needed called out to her at the right time, Ann Hood believes.

Like many teenagers, she wrestled with sadness and angst, without any identifiable reason.

Ann now feels her teenage angst was due to inner anguish about her future career and independence vs marriage and family, as women in the 1970s were for the most part still expected to put the needs of a husband and family above their own aspirations.

In books, Ann had discovered an intense yearning for a bigger life than her chil
...more
Connie G
Ann Hood grew up in a big Italian family in the Rhode Island mill town of West Warwick. While there were not many books around their home, her large extended family entertained each other with storytelling.

"Morningstar: Growing Up With Books" is a memoir that uses books to tell the story of her early life. Hood was an early reader, and was taking adult books out of the library as a ten year old. She learned about emotions, war, sex, other cultures, and the world through fictional boo
...more
Lisa
It turns out that Ann Hood grew up around the same time as I did and we read many of the same books at the same age. She even moved to New York the same year I did. So I loved this book in a very personal way. Although we lived across the country from each other and had very different families, she spoke directly to me.

I loved the approach of this book. When I think about growing up, the books that I read are inseparable from my life at that time. Books have always helped me know myself and the
...more
Toni
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 blissful reading stars!

This book reminds me of my childhood, just four years earlier. Almost everything Ann remembers reading, doing as an adolescent in the awkward years of tweenager-hood, I can recall as well. My parents weren't Italian immigrants, but one generation removed, so not far from some traditions. This book may not be for everyone, but if you grew up, loving to read books, loving libraries, (and I suspect there are a few on GR's), then you'll enjoy this book.
...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Ann Hood and I are book twins.

Ann was born a month after me, and we both graduated from high school the same year. We both spontaneous began to read at an early age, we both grew up in families that had blue-collar roots, and we both spent our youth in small towns, though she grew up on the East Coast and I in the South.

We both loved books.

Ann had many experiences that I could relate to. Ann's teacher called an emergency conference with Ann's mother after Ann wrote a hai
...more
Diane Barnes
Ten books that helped the author grow up and understand the world outside her small town of Warwick, Rhode Island. I generally love books about books so not sure why I didn't like this more.
Nancy
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Ann Hood's memoir Morningstar: Growing Up With Books arrived in the mail, I opened it up to glance at it. I read the Introduction, in which Hood talks about her family and hometown and discovery of books, in particular, Louis May Alcott's Little Women.

I made myself a cup of hot tea and settled in to read the first chapter.

Before dinner, I had read the entire book. I could not put it down. Hood's voice and personality, her childhood yearning for something bigger, her love of rea
...more
Robin
Fantastic memoir and I devoured it in a day. I now have a need to re-read THE HARRAD EXPERIMENT. More thoughts to come.
Lesa
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Ann Hood is only a few months older than me. As a lifelong reader, her memoir, Morningstar: Growing Up with Books, made me nostalgic for my adolescence. No, not for the adolescence itself. For the discovery and freshness and awakening brought about by books. Only a few of the books we read were the same, and our childhoods were definitely different. But, she evokes a feeling and a time period that was magical.

I cannot tell Ann Hood's story without ruining this book for a reade
...more
Yelda Basar Moers
"This is why we all read, isn't it? To know the world and ourselves better. To find our place in that world. Even if you did have access to readers and guidance on what to read, even if you grew up in a family that loved to read and owned shelves of books, still, still, one day a book falls into your hands--perhaps it's Beloved or A Wrinkle in Time or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; perhaps it's Great Expectations or Pride and Prejudice-- whatever book it is, it falls into your hands at just the right ...more
Kathryn
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This little book was fascinating. I wish I could say specific books had as much impact on my life as Ann Hood writes about. She tells about her childhood and the books she remembers opening up the world to her. It was a great read.
Idarah
“I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me...”—Simon and Garfunkel, “I Am a Rock”

https://ginghampanda.blogspot.com/201...
Marika
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a slim book but it says so much and I could probably write a thesis on it. Noted author Ann Hood writes about learning to read and how the magical powers of reading transformed her life. She's the little girl who would rather stay indoors to read than go outside. She's the teenage girl who experiences romantic love in a book. She's the college student who thinks deeply about life. Simply said, Ann Hood has written a book that lovers of the written word will savor, discuss and debate. I w ...more
Linda Lipko
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely book about books. Written so very well, each page is a joy. Ann Hood takes the reader on a wonderful journey of books that changed her life. Weaving the title of the book with the story of how and why the particular book led the author on a marvelous path, I read the book in one sitting, relating to many of which I had read.

Highly recommended!
Bookworm
Jan 13, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not very familiar with author Hood but I was immediately drawn to a premise of reading about Hood growing up with books. Sold!

It's a memoir of Hood and the role books have played in her life. From the individual books listed at the beginning of each chapter to her voracious reading habits and how books helped her in life, Hood talks about books, reading and more. Unfortunately, this slim volume was quite boring. Initially her childhood and early years seemed interesting and it wa
...more
Deborah
Beautifully written, but too short. I wish she had continued with more of her life.
Kelly Hager
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of the genres I love the most is books about books, and this is a great example. Ann Hood's family, for the most part, weren't readers. She and an older cousin traded Nancy Drew novels, but in general, she was the family oddball. One of her first book-related memories involved reading Little Women and being so consumed with the story and Beth dying that she missed some school activities. Most of the books she mentioned here I haven't read (I did read Little Women, of course, but I'm a lot mo
...more
Patty
”This is why we all read, isn’t it? To know the world and ourselves better. To find our place in that world. Even if you did have access to readers and guidance on what to read, even if you grew up in a family that loved to read and owned shelves of books, still, still, one day a book falls into your hands – perhaps it’s Beloved or A Wrinkle in Time or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; perhaps it’s Great Expectations or Pride and Prejudice - whatever book it is, it falls into your hands at just the right moment when you need to read it. It tra ...more
Janilyn Kocher
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book yesterday and devoured it. I love reading authors' describing their lives and the books they were reading at certain times. Hood is no exception. It's wonderful to know there are fellow bibliophiles who share the passion of books and reading.
Melanie
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really fun and interesting to read. Made me feel like less of a book nerd.
Antonia
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, read-in-2018
Books about books are some of my favorite reads. I thoroughly enjoyed this booky memoir. I share many of the same experiences and feelings about the books that Hood discusses. And I love reflecting on how much books in general, and particular books, have shaped my life and the person I am.

I vacillated between 4 and 5 stars. I really found it an enjoyable and satisfying reading memoir. Right before this one, I’d read Sara Nelson’s So Many Books, So Little Time. I couldn’t really relate to many of Nel
...more
Melissa
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love, love, love this book. I could relate to so much of Ann Hood’s childhood experience—of finding freedom and a whole world beyond my narrow existence in books.
Debbi DuBose
This is an exquisitely elegant Memoir: MORNINGSTAR: Growing Up With Books written by the delightful Ann Hood. I read Hood's charming novel: The Book That Matters Most just last year. If you are a Reader, you all know who you are, you'll love this book!
Ann Hood is only a little over a year younger than I; so Ann and my's growing up years were basically at the same time. I related to her reading from a very young age, because when I began to read, that's all I did, too! She read many of the same
...more
Nancy
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful, bittersweet 'memoir in books'. Ann Hood tells us about the life changing and life affirming books that shaped her worldview while growing up in a small mill town in her native Rhode Island. Any book lover will instantly recognize themselves and begin to think back on the books that shaped their lives. We read about the books that Ann 'met up with' and how they helped her view and deal with the tumult of life, love, family, sex and a desire to be in a wider world. It will be especial ...more
Robin
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this heartwarming and interesting. It tells how different books touched the author's life.
Robert Blumenthal
This is a wonderful very brief memoir where each chapter is about a particular book that influenced the author in a particular way. I have never read any of Ann Hood's novels (I really want to now), but I really appreciated how devoted to reading she was from a really young age and how much she acknowledged the worlds that books create. She grew up in a small town in Rhode Island to a sprawling Italian family. She was the odd one out in the family, being into reading and writing. She started at ...more
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Ann Hood is the editor of Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting and the bestselling author of The Book That Matters Most, The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, Comfort, and An Italian Wife, among other works. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, a Best American Spiritual Writing Award, a Best American Food Writing Award, a Best American Travel Writing Award, and the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction. She lives in Providence, Rhode Is ...more
“In the library I was handed a blueprint on how to live the mysterious, unnamable, big dream life I wanted. I was handed books. And through reading them, I grew up to find that very life.” 2 likes
“I believe that, magically, the book we are supposed to read somehow appears in our hands at just the right time.” 1 likes
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