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How Reading Changed My Life [Paperback]

By Anna Quindlen, Ann Thompson (Editor), Neil Taylor (Editor), David Scott Kastan (Editor), Mike Mignola (Illustrator) & Christopher Chapman
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Item Description...
The Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author of such best-sellers as Object Lessons traces her lifelong love of the printed word and argues for the continued value of literature in a world enticed by images. Reissue.

Publishers Description
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 debate across the country.
Anna Quindlen is the author of two bestselling novels, Object Lessons and One True Thing. Her New York Times column "Public and Private  won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992, and a selection of these columns was published as Thinking Out Loud. She is also the author of a collection of the "Life in the '30s  columns, Living Out Loud, and two children's books, The Tree That Came to Stay and Happily Ever After.
The Reading Lists from Anna Quindlen's How Reading Changed My Life:

10 Big Thick Wonderful Books that Could Take You a Whole Summer to Read (But Aren't Beach Books)

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Forstyte Saga by John Galsworthy

Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

Sophie's Choice by William Styron

Henry and Clara by Thomas Mallon

Underworld by Don DeLillo

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

10 Non Fiction Books That Help Us Understand the World

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbons

The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam

Lenin's Tomb by David Remnick

Lincoln by David Herbert Douglas

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

How We Die by Sherwin Nuland

The Unredeemed Captive by John Demos

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

The Power Broker by Robert Caro

10 Books that will Help a Teenager Feel More Human

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Lost In Place by Mark Salzman

What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges

The World According to Garp by John Irving

Bloodbrothers by Richard Price

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers

The 10 Books I Would Save in a Fire (If I Could Only Save 10)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats

The Collected Plays of William Shakespeare

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Ten Books for a Girl Who is Full of Beans (Or Ought to Be)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Julius the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes

Betsy in Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank

The BFG by Ronald Dahl

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Catherine Known As Birdy by Katherine Paterson

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Ten Mystery Novels I'd Most Like to Find in a Summer Rental

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P. D. James

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard

Dancers in Mourning by Margery Allingham

The Way Through the Woods by Colin Dexter

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre

10 Books Recommended by a Really Good Elementary School Librarian

The View From Saturday by E.L. Koningsburg

Frindle by Andrew Clements

My Daniel by Pan Conrad

The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick

Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian

No Flying in the House by Betty Brock

My Father's Dragon by Ruth Gannett Stiles

Habibi by Naomi Nye

Mudpies and Other Recipes: A Cookbook for Dolls by Marjorie Winslow

The Story of May by Mordecai Gerstein

10 Good Book Club Selections

Fraud by Anita Brookner

Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton

The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Paris Trout by Pete Dexter

Eden Close by Anita Shreve

10 Modern Novels that Made Me Proud to be a Writer

The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks

White Noise by Don DeLillo

Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser

True Confessions by John Gregory Dunne

The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen

The French Lieutennant's Woman by John Fowles

Falconer by John Cheever

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Information by Martin Amis

Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

10 of the Books My Exceptionally Well-Read Friend Ben says He's Taken the Most From

Herzog by Saul Bellow

Coming Up for Air by George Orwell

Something of an Achievement by Gwyn Griffin

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

The Moon and a Sixpence by Somerset Maugham

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

Heretics by G.K. Chesterton

The Wapshot Chronicles by John Cheever

(With addendum: Now I can't believe I settled for that list. What about
William Maxwell's The Folded Leaf, or Elizabeth Bowen's The House in Paris? )

Books I Just Love to Read, And Always Will

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

My Antonia by Willa Cather

The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Group by Mary McCarthy

The Blue Swallows by Howard Nemerov (poetry)

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

Item Specifications...

Pages   84
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.26" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.31"
Weight:   0.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 25, 1998
Publisher   Ballantine Books
ISBN  0345422783  
EAN  9780345422781  

Availability  0 units.

About this Author/Artist
Anna Quindlen is the author of two bestselling novels, Object Lessons and One True Thing. Her New York Times column "Public and Private  won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992, and a selection of these columns was published as Thinking Out Loud. She is also the author of a collection of the "Life in the '30s  columns, Living Out Loud, and two children's books, The Tree That Came to Stay and Happily Ever After.

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1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Authors   [3562  similar products]
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4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Books & Reading > General   [902  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
So true  Jul 27, 2007
After eighteen years of being stereotyped as "the book worm," it's good to know that there's others out there like me. I agree wholeheartedly with Quindlen about the effect of books on life and on many of her other points. Her small book is simple but true. I can't wait to explore some of the books on her reading lists that I've not yet read. I recommend this to all of the other bookworms in the world: you are not alone, and at least one person understands you.
"...reading while they played."  Jul 7, 2006
Thus, Anna Quindlen quotes Charles Dickens' biographer, John Forster, in this slim and wonderful book. Apparently, Dickens, Quindlen, and I would all rather read than play or do almost anything else.

I adore this book because it reminds me that there are other people for whom reading goes way beyond a pass-time or even something that we "love" to do. In addition to life's other milestones, we can mark the phases of life with the books that we have read, devoured, and assimilated. Like Quindlen, I remember a childhood influenced by writers like Ogden Nash, Carl Sandburg, Lore Segal, Irene Smith, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, Johanna Spyri, Carolyn Keene, Judy Blume, Betty Smith, and many others who are less clear in my memory but who shaped who I have become and what I have loved to read.

Quindlen reminded me that I am not the only one who is often biding time until my next chance to read. Of course, I read in line at the post office, in a doctor's waiting room, in airports, and at professional sporting events. More telling is that from age 11 or so, I regularly took a novel to church. I sat in the back pew, out of my family's sight, so that I could read the book instead of listen to sermons and hymns. Quindlen knows that many of us have eased the tedium and discomfort of the here and now by going wherever a book will take us.

I suppose that I love this book because she puts my understanding of books, as guidance, sustenance and salvation, into words. I feel validated. My way of being in this world has been endorsed and upheld. I feel good.
Thoughtful, fun, and quick  Jun 1, 2005
Quindlen writes about her experiences with being a bibliophile, ranging from discussing why fiction is worthwhile to what makes banned books so interesting to a critique of the snobbery of the literary critics. Her tangents are insightful and resonate with the trends I see in reading; for example, she characterizes the shift from reading for pleasure to reading for purpose: "whereas an executive might learn far more from Moby Dick ..., the book he was expected to have read might be The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People [sic]". I loved and identified with her descriptions of growing up obsessed with reading, having spent most childhood afternoons among the stacks of the local public library.

This isn't as good as Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris (on the same topic), but it's thoughtful and quick. (I read it in about two hours.) She specifically deals with why she believes women read more than men. She also provides a number of interesting book lists at the end, ranging from "The 10 Books I Would Save in a Fire (If I Could Save Only 10)" to "10 Mystery Novels I'd Most Like to Find in a Summer Rental."
Enjoyable read, great gift for booklovers  Nov 30, 2004
This delightful short book (or perhaps long essay) is filled with the insight and wisdom that characterizes Quindlen's work - touchingly personal while articulate and accessible, so much of her reminiscences resonate with the experiences of booklovers and writers. Her heartfelt adoration of the distinct pleasures reading can bring - as a child reading Nancy Drew while friends are out playing, or as an adult on an airplane traveling for business - were right on. Her praise of reading "for pleasure," not for "advancement or superiority," were especially refreshing to hear from someone so highly respected, insightful, and intelligent. I'm often sheepishly hiding my latest Jane Green novels from the faculty at the college where I work, so it was nice to feel unashamed about the sheer delight I enjoy when reading, regardless of whether I'm reading Jane Austen or Helen Fielding.

Don't expect a direct answer to the question inherent in the title - the book is a celebration of the act of reading and is much more universal than the particular ways that reading shaped or changed the life of the author. Instead, the book prompts a personal reflection on how reading affected one's own life, guided along by Quindlen's wise words. For those of you who love reading but don't always agree with Quindlen's politics, fear not: this book is much more about reading and with the exception of concerns and criticisms about book banning and burning, the focus of the book is largely elsewhere.

This book would make a great gift for the booklovers in your life - I'm giving it to my mother-in-law, an elementary school teacher who adores children's books and participates in multiple book clubs. It's a wonderful reminder of the joys of reading, and Quindlen's writing skill makes this particular read (as with all her work) that much more enjoyable.
Quindlen Understands.  Nov 8, 2004
While this book can at times be a bit defensive, Quindlen has a right to be. Readers, she points out, have been belittled, called stuck up, and tracked down in police states. We're almost an endangered species. At times, I celebrated with her the joys of discovering a book sure to become a lifelong friend; at other moments, I found myself sniffling and holding back tears at encounters with people who do not, and never will, understand and so must belittle those of us who read.

At some points, the memoir crawls, but there isn't any part of it that isn't vital to Quindlen's overall message. This, along with Fadiman's "Ex Libris," is book I lend out with the knowledge that the borrower will insist in keeping it.

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