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156 pages, Hardcover
First published September 4, 2018
"Books provide a safe space to encounter new and unfamiliar situations, to practice living in unfamiliar environments, to test-drive encounters with new people and new experiences. Through our reading, we learn how to process triumph and fear and loss and sadness, to deal with annoying siblings or friend drama or something much, much worse. And when we get to that point in our real life when it's happening to us, it's not so unfamiliar. We've been there before, in a book. This ability to "preview" real-life experiences through books is one of the big perks readers enjoy."
"When I find myself in a dreaded reading slump, nothing boosts me out of it faster than revisiting an old favorite. Old books, like old friends, are good for the soul. But they're not just comfort reads. No, a good book is exciting to return to, because even though I've been there before, the landscape is always changing. I notice something new each time I read a great book. As Italo Calvino wrote, "A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say." Great books keep surprising me with new things."
"When we talk about reading, we often focus on the books themselves, but so much of the reading life is about the reader as an active participant. To put a great book in your hands, here's what I need to know: When you turn to the written word, what are you looking for? What themes speak to you? What sorts of places do you want to vicariously visit? What types of characters do you enjoy meeting on the page? What was the last story you wished would never end? Which was the last volume you hurled across the room?"
"Every reader goes through this rite of passage: the transition from having books chosen for us to choosing books for ourselves. When given the choice, some choose not to read. But you, dear reader, moved from being told what to read to choosing for yourself. From reading on assignment, perhaps to please someone else, to reading at your own leisure to please only yourself. When faced with the task of establishing your own reading life, you did it, or maybe you're still in the middle of doing it."
“For us, reading isn’t just a hobby or a pastime; it’s a lifestyle. We're the kind of people who understand the heartbreak of not having your library reserves come in before you leave town for vacation and the exhilaration of stumbling upon the new Louise Penny at your local independent bookstore three whole days before the official publication date. We know the pain of investing hours of reading time in a book we enjoyed right up until the final chapter's truly terrible resolution, and we know the pleasure of stumbling upon exactly the right book at exactly the right time."
“To readers, those books—the ones we buy and borrow and trade and sell—are more than objects. They are opportunities beckoning us. When we read, we connect with them (or don’t) in a personal way.”
"As a devoted reader, I lovingly give countless hours to finding the right books for me. I don't think those hours are wasted; part of the fun of reading is planning the reading. But I've learned that sometimes, despite my best efforts, a book unexpectedly finds me and not the other way around. And when it does, it's okay to reshuffle my To Be Read list and go with it."
"Your favorite book becomes a movie, and you're terrified to see it because you're fond of the way you picture the characters and hear their voices in your head."
"She decides to reacquaint herself with the works that have endured: Jane Austen, Jane Eyre Anna Karenina. (And thereby learning the timeless lesson that would serve me well in the years to come: if you're looking for a great book, going old is never a terrible idea.)."
"When we read, we connect with the books (or don't) in a personal way. Sometimes the personal nature of reading is kind of a pain, making it difficult to find a great book for an individual reader. Sometimes finding the right book feels like a hassle—especially if you're standing in the bookstore aisle or perusing the library stacks or even scrutinizing the teetering pile on your nightstand, debating what to read next—when all you want to do is find a book you will love, that you'll close in the span of a few hours or days or weeks and say, "That was amazing." A great book. That's all you want. But reading is personal. We can't know what a book will mean to us until we read it. And so we take a leap and choose. Reading is personal and never more so than when we're sharing why we connect with certain books."
"You take five books to the pool because you can't decide what to read next. You can't comfortably manage your purse because you shoved three books in on the way out the door, unable to decide what to read next. You pack twelve books for a five-day vacation because you can’t decide what to read next”
“I have hopes and dreams for my kids, as parents do. I hope they'll live right and live well, find love and fulfilling work, and not endure too much heartbreak on the way. And I also, specifically, hope that one day—when they're old enough to choose for themselves, apart from me—they'll discover that they too are book people. One day, not as far off as I would like, they'll head to the bookstore with friends, or on a date, or on a quiet weekend afternoon to spend a pleasant hour by themselves. Not out of habit or duty, but because reading is part of who they are. It's in their blood. They're book people."
"You can't put the book you just finished behind you because you still want to live it. You have a terrible book hangover, and it lasts three days. Ibuprofen does nothing for it. You're sad because whatever you read next can't possibly be as good as the book you just finished. You despair because nothing you read can possibly be as good, ever again. You finish an amazing series and need to grieve that it's over. You need to mourn the loss of a beloved character. You wonder why these events have no cultural markers, because you definitely need one"
"When we share our favorite titles, we can't help but share ourselves as well. Shakespeare said the eyes are the windows to the soul, but we readers know one's bookshelves reveal just as much."
"Bookish enthusiasm is contagious, but it isn't sufficient—not if I want to find the books that are truly right for me, and for you to find the ones right for you. It's easy enough for me to say, "I liked that book," or "I didn't," but I often struggle to explain why. I'm constantly surprised at how difficult it is to articulate my thoughts on what I've read in a way that is coherent, useful, and enjoyable, whether I'm sharing a five-thousand-word formal review or a twenty-word text message. But I feel I owe it to my fellow readers to try, because my comments help others decide what is worth reading and what should be read next."
“If my real life reminds me of something I read in a book , I'm reading well -- and I'm probably living well, too.”
“To hand you a great book, I don’t just need to know about books; I need to know you.”
“I’m constantly on the lookout for like-minded readers, those kindred spirits whose circles overlap my own on the Venn diagram of reading tastes.”
“We are readers. Books grace our shelves and fill our homes with beauty; they dwell in our minds and occupy our thoughts. Books prompt us to spend pleasant hours alone and connect us with fellow readers. They invite us to escape into their pages for an afternoon, and they inspire us to reimagine our lives.”
“Not out of habit or duty, but because reading is part of who they are. It’s in their blood. They’re book people.”
“Rereading can make you remember who you used to be, and, like pencil marks on a door frame, show you how much you’ve changed. ”
My library books come into my house and go out again, leaving behind only memories and a jotted in a journal (if I'm lucky). I long for a list that captures these ephemeral reads - all the books I've borrowed in a lifetime of reading, from last week's armful spanning back to when I was a seven-year old kid with my first library card.