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Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books (1996)

av Lynne Sharon Schwartz

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
7592121,641 (3.4)42
A Los Angeles Times Book Review Best Book of 1996 'Without books how could I have become myself?' In this wonderfully written meditation, Lynne Sharon Schwartz offers deeply felt insight into why we read and how what we read shapes our lives. An enchanting celebration of the printed word.
  1. 10
    Exlibris : en vanlig läsares bekännelser av Anne Fadiman (betterthanchocolate)
    betterthanchocolate: Memoir of a reading life.
  2. 00
    The Child That Books Built av Francis Spufford (anglemark)
    anglemark: A book about the impact of reading on a young person's life.
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» Se även 42 omnämnanden

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“In any case the books I have wanted to write brood about what I brood about and they move in uncannily familiar rhythms. Reading them I feel caught out. Some stranger, like the author of Cornelli, has preempted my secrets. I am disarmed, but less alone”. P 68

On books made into movies:“Why can’t I appreciate each on its own terms? Because when I’ve read the book, I stubbornly don’t want anything else. Why should I, when I’ve had the real thing, as originally conceived? Form and content are inseparable, and Greta Garbo, bewitching as she is, is not the Anna Karenina Tolstoy envisioned. If the form changes, the content must change.” P78

These essays on reading were like having a very literate summary of many of my rather hazy thoughts about why I read. It was often like discovering something I already knew, but had not been able to articulate.

The author’s thoughts and my own are definitely in sync. In places where they are not (I do often enjoy movies made from books), I enjoyed her thoughtful point of view. ( )
1 rösta streamsong | Aug 20, 2019 |
"To read more is a handicap. It is better to keep your own mind free and to not let the thinking of others interfere with your own free thinking."

This unlikely quote from one Mr. Cha sets Lynne Schwartz thinking about her own experience reading. The delightful short book - almost an extended essay - that follows traces her reading life from impressing her father's friends with her ability to read the newspaper at a young age through college where she's introduced to the canon. Schwartz reflects on her reading experiences in a way that will resonate with many readers: "There is nothing to match the affinity of people who were defined and nourished by the same book, who shared a fantasy life." Well, even if you don't share the same mental library as she does, you'll probably enjoy ruminating on the topics that she tackles, from movie adaptations to a more inclusive canon to whether one should read serendipitously or use a list. You may not agree with her takes, but that's the fun of reading, isn't it? ( )
1 rösta bell7 | May 11, 2019 |
Some of these sentences are profound, and some have not aged well. Though her railing against technology and movies is familiar to any young person of any era. ( )
  Dez.dono | Aug 8, 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.
.
BOTTOM-LINE:
Tone was pleasant, but not a serious work
.
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. ( )
  polywogg | Jan 28, 2016 |
A garden of verbal delights - "useful but unloved cat" and "grief not graced with word" are just a few examples of her inventive language. ( )
  Jeannine504 | Jan 23, 2016 |
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"Current books are modishly sleek inside and out, low-fat, low-cholesterol, sort of like Lite Beer -- not bad on a hot day yet hardly the thing for a seasonal drinker."
So, like recidivist marryers, I take up the new book in good faith, planning to accompany it, for better or for worse, till the last page us do part, but ... it stops being fun. Other, more intriguing, books send out pheromones. There are after all so many delectable books in the world. Why linger with one that doesn't offer new delights, take me somewhere I've never been?
For very possibly the canon of great works does not emerge naturally from history, but our view of history from a fairly arbitrary canon, in which case the way to a truer history is through a more inclusive tradition. The familiar dead have brought us to where we are. But supposing we wish to take ourselves to a different place? What if our forms of political action and discourse had been determined not by reading Machiavelli, but, say, Confucius or Lao-tzu?
SPEECH IS SILVER BUT SILENCE IS GOLDEN, said the sign on the library wall. What bizarre alloy did this make of reading, a form of silent speech?
When I hear books called texts I feel a pang, as if family treasures were being relegated to the distant airless safe-deposit box. Who ever curled up happily to spend the evening with a text?
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A Los Angeles Times Book Review Best Book of 1996 'Without books how could I have become myself?' In this wonderfully written meditation, Lynne Sharon Schwartz offers deeply felt insight into why we read and how what we read shapes our lives. An enchanting celebration of the printed word.

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