BOOK: Books for Living
AUTHOR: Will Schwalbe
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2016
This is a book for those who love books. It’s about books—why we read, how we read, how books speak to us, what they teach us, how they touch us. If you, like me, enjoy the great conversation of books, about books, between books, between readers and authors, between critics and authors, between writers of different genres, between readers in book clubs, readers in airport lounges, readers on the train…if you’ve ever interrupted a stranger to ask about what they’re reading, if you’ve ever been glad to have been interrupted by someone curious about your book…this is just the kind of thing you’ll enjoy.
It’s a bit of a truism that no one is so foolish that he or she can’t teach you something. As a corollary, Will Schwalbe believes, along with Pliny the Younger and Miguel de Cervantes, that there’s no book so bad that you can’t find anything in it of interest. (“Admittedly,” he writes, “neither Pliny nor Cervantes were subject to some of the weakest ‘sex and shopping’ books from the 1980s…”) But some books speak to us more than others, and this collection of essays is a brief introduction to some of the books which he has found, in a lifetime of reading, to be helpful, or illuminating, or inspiring, or wise.
Some of them I’d read as a child: Stuart Little, The Little Prince. Some I know well: “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” Bird by Bird, David Copperfield. One I haven’t read is a favorite of my older daughter: Wonder. Some I’ve had on my lifetime reading list to get to someday: Giovanni’s Room, Gift from the Sea. Some I’d never heard of: Lateral Thinking, The Importance of Living, Death Be Not Proud, A Journey Around My Room. And now, of course, I want to read them all, some for the first time, some for the second time, and some for the third or fourth or maybe even fifth—I lose count—time. Because, they all do speak to us, they all do teach us: about choices, and friendship, and grief, and problem solving, and kindness, and art, and memory, and searching for answers, and travel, and all about life.
I’d borrowed this volume from the library, but I think I just may need to purchase my own copy. I suspect it is one that I’ll go back to…the next time I read one of the books Schwalbe covers here, or the next time I seek consolation, wisdom, or insight.
RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): 4 Whistles
HOW TO PURCHASE: Amazon
Lead-In Image Courtesy of Srijaroen / Shutterstock.com
Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.
Laura can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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