But in the interim, while waiting for my blockbuster book of essays to be published, you may want to take a look at Lynne Sharon Schwartz’s little volume about reading and life and the intersection thereof. She is quite a prolific writer — novels, essays, poems, stories. Ever hear of her? Yeah, me neither. But it is impossible to know even the existence of every writer working today. That’s my claim to excuse my ignorance, and I am sticking with it.
She talks about the dilemma of lying about having read a book, whether to read a book you don’t like to the bitter end, the pleasures of the Reader’s Digest condensed book, and talks about some of her favorite books as a young reader, and dang!!! many of them were my favorites, as well. Remember Kon-Tiki, and Miracle at Carville? And Faith Baldwin, Taylor Caldwell? And of course Louisa May Alcott, and she discusses just what fries her enchiladas in a book.
She touches on her childhood and her growing up years, the joys of eating while reading, and being annoyed that her father did not permit her to bring a book to the dinner table, but found the intermingling of the two infusions, food and words, so satisfying, she could not understand his rule.
She talks about reading prodigiously, but then not being able to remember much about those books. She talks about what books shaped her life, and she says, she learned how to act from books. Yeah, so did I. She talks about what we want to read and what we feel we ought to read, and what we really like in a book and what we feel we should like in a book.
Not a spectacular work, but an endearing one, and will probably strike all the right notes if you have been a lifelong reader yourself, always with your nose in a book.