Reading Life: Books for the Ages

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Graywolf Press, Apr 3, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 256 pages
4 Reviews
A new, compelling collection of essays by Sven Birkerts, "one of America's most distinguished, eloquent servants of the poetry and fiction that matter" (Susan Sontag)
Reading, the mind's traffic in signs and signifiers, is the most dynamic, changeful, and possibly transformational act we can imagine. To have read a work and have been strongly affected by it--and then to come back to it after many years--can be a foundation-shaking enterprise. In Reading Life, virtuoso critic and essayist Sven Birkerts examines what it means to return to resonant works of fiction--the books one thinks of "covetously, as private properties," the "personal signposts" of one's inner life. For Birkerts, these include The Catcher in the Rye, Humboldt's Gift, To the Lighthouse, and Lolita. In twelve far-reaching and intimate essays, Birkerts reflects upon his first readings and what later encounters reveal about time, memory, and the murmuring transistors of selfhood.

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Review: Reading Life: Books for the Ages

User Review  - Cynthia Davidson - Goodreads

Author writes, "a novel for me is a pretext, a way of starting up and sustaining a complicated and many layered inner exchange, a to-and-fro which I long ago discovered that I need in order to locate ... Read full review

Review: Reading Life: Books for the Ages

User Review  - Beatrice - Goodreads

I love a literary memoir, and Birkerts is an excellent writer. Like Reading Lolita in Tehran, but the action is interior/psychological rather than political/historical. Read full review

Contents

The Reading Life
3
Childrens Crusade
25
Loves Wound Loves Salve
41
Copyright

5 other sections not shown

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About the author (2007)

Sven Birkerts is the author of Readings, The Gutenberg Elegies, and a memoir, My Sky Blue Trades. He teaches at Harvard University and at the Bennington Writing Seminars, and is the editor of Agni. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.

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