Lite Review: How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen

As an avid reader, I know the power of books, and was immediately drawn to this book by it’s title. This slim book is delightful and informative, and can be read in one sitting. The cover is simple and symbolic, a book at the end of what appears to be a yellow brick road. The book I checked out of the library has a different (earlier?) cover.

Quindlen is an author and award-winning former columnist for The New York Times. In these short essays, she shares her passion for reading which started in childhood: “I lived within the covers of books and those books were more real to me than any other thing in my life.”

She also comments on many other topics related to books and reading such as:  the history of reading, The Canon, banned books, the future of technology and publishing, the growing popularity of book clubs, literary critics, writing, etc.

There were many parts of the book that I related to, and I found the following passage especially insightful:

“While we pay lip service to the virtues of reading, the truth is that there is still in our culture something that suspects those who read too much, whatever reading too much means, of being lazy, aimless dreamers, people who need to grow up and come outside to where real life is, who think themselves superior in their separateness.”

Each essay is preceded by a quote and at the end of the book the author shares several lists of suggested reading such as: “10 Nonfiction Books That Help Us Understand the World” and “The 10 Books I Would Save in a Fire (If I Could Only Save 10).

Bibliophiles will feel validated and inspired by this book. Others will understand our need to read.

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