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The Reader

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  9 reviews
This text offers a collection of what Ali Smith has loved over the course of her reading life, in her twenties, as a teenager, and a child. It features writers like Plath, Grassic Gibbon, Spark, Morgan, Grace Paley, Yeats, Atwood.
Paperback, 470 pages
Published September 14th 2006 by Constable
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3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  81 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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MJ Nicholls
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ali Smith’s selection of “favourite” writing (within budget, pending permissions, circa 2006, mostly 20thC) is an eclectic, if sometimes disappointingly tame, rodeo of rompers and criers. Let’s use the mixtape analogy, shall we? When we compile mixtapes, we commonly fill them with our favourite tunes of the moment, ongoing all-time musical obsessions, and whatever obscure Throbbing Gristle B-sides are currently filling our ears. Ali has filled this book with canonical all-timers (Angela Carter, ...more
Belinda Carvalho
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a perfect compilation. Beautiful pieces which work together, separately. I read so many writers that I hadn't tried before. I loved this!
Julie Failla Earhart
It’s always fun to learn what authors influence other authors---what’s on their bookshelves that, perhaps, influenced them to become writers. Ali Smith has put together such a collection in The Book Lover.
I have to admit that I have not read any of Smith’s three novels and three short story collections, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to know what is on her shelf. I expected to find many of the writers from literature’s canon. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few of these writers---Zor
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: bookworms, paper sniffers, dust jacket fetishists
Shelves: anthologies
A great collection of short stories, poems and excerpts. There are some real gems in here. I've liked everything I've read by Ali Smith so far and I guessed she must have great taste as a big fan of Tove Jansson's novels. She chooses quite a lot of modern writing here and not just the textbook classics, which I greatly appreciated. I made some exciting new discoveries: Leonora Carrington, Cookie Mueller, Kate Atkinson to name just a few. I'll definitely be reviewing the list of authors again in ...more
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am so conflicted about this. I love the idea of this book. And there were certainly a handful of entries that I loved enough to make it worth tackling all 450 pages. But there were also some I just didn't find very interesting. The sum total felt to me a lot like reading a high school English textbook. Some really great pieces that are fun to read, some that you just can't get into but that you know you're supposed to appreciate, you know, literarily. I think I just invented that word. Perhaps ...more
Dec 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the idea of this book, maybe more than the finished product. It's a great anthology, but what makes it great is that you can feel how personal it is, how everything connects in Ali Smith's mind. Not everything was interesting or even good to me, but there were some pieces that I really loved, and I like the fact that absolutely anyone could make something like this book, but they would all be vastly different.
Tattered Cover Book Store
Dec 03, 2008 added it
Recommended to Tattered Cover by: Mark P
Mark P says:

An Anthology, selections made by the author of stuff she likes. Love this kind of stuff. Finding out what people read, what they like and why is endlessly fascinating. If the person in question is an author that you happen to like then doubly so.
Neelima Vinod
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Want to read it once more...lyrical mish mash of great prose and poetry.
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The idea is fascinating, and I connected with Smith's opening essay in a number of ways. The selections are an interesting compilation of familiar and unknown (to me, that is) writers.
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Ali Smith is a writer, born in Inverness, Scotland, to working-class parents. She was raised in a council house in Inverness and now lives in Cambridge. She studied at Aberdeen, and then at Cambridge, for a Ph.D. that was never finished. In a 2004 interview with writing magazine Mslexia, she talked briefly about the difficulty of becoming ill with chronic fatigue syndrome for a year and how it for ...more
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