Ruined by Reading

Ruined by Reading

A Life in Books

Book - 1996
Average Rating:
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"In this wonderfully written and enchanting meditation, Lynne Sharon Schwartz explores what the act of reading means - an act that is in danger of being lost today. She interweaves the story of her Brooklyn childhood with vivid memories of particular books, from a black leather-bound Harvard Classic edition of the Grimm and Andersen fairy tales, to the popular novels condensed by Readers Digest, to A Tale of Two Cities." "Schwartz offers a deeply felt insight into why we read and how what we read shapes us. Without books, she asks, "how could I have become myself?" Reading and writing for Schwartz are inextricably linked, and here she gives an intimate glimpse of how she became the writer she is today." "Books and movies, books and paintings, books and childhood, books and life itself are the subject of this delightful and touching literary excursion. Ruined by Reading will renew your passion for books in this electronic age. Reading it is a deliciously indulgent act of protest for all those who treasure the joys of the printed word."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, c1996
ISBN: 9780807070826
0807070823
Characteristics: 119 p. ; 22 cm

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PolyWogg
Sep 19, 2017

PLOT OR PREMISE:
Schwarz starts with a commentary by a Chinese scholar that some people are handicapped by reading too much, and not thinking enough about what they read. From there, she looks at the books she has read in her life and the role they have played. It is not a heavy analytical tone throughout, but rather a personal commentary on the books that have been important to her in her life, and the elements of her life that took place in and around books.

WHAT I LIKED:
There are a number of sections that are quite well done, such as:

- Emptying your mind for meditation vs. filling it up during a life spent reading (pg. 14);
- On the un-importance of the authors vs. the impact of the words themselves (pg. 17);
- A life spent reading (pg. 96);
- Choices of reading material (pg. 107);
- Ruined by reading (pg. 114); and,
- On self (pg. 119).

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
Some of the sections could have benefited from a bit more analysis and historical context, not just the personal impact in her own life.

DISCLOSURE:
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow her on social media.

BOTTOM-LINE:
Tone was pleasant, but not a serious work

m
MT60
Sep 26, 2012

Short length and accessible writing style tempt the reader to finish in one sitting. However every page contains such richness of thought that the reader may find himself re-reading passage after passage. I read the book over the course of three days during a vacation. Enriched the vacation.

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