Similar to Michael Dirda's wonderful "An Open Book: Coming of Age in the Heartland" this is another reflection on how reading shaped the author's life and turned her into such a passionate book-lover. ("Without books, who would I be?' she asks herself) In addition to reminiscing about a number of books that made particularly vivid impressions on her at various stages of her life, she comments at length on the act of reading itself. At one point, she wryly notes that instead of "rushing about, going and doing in order to feel that each moment is actively and assertively 'lived'" reading requires that we slow down and pay attention to the moment. "Indeed what reading teaches us," she says, is "first and foremost to sit still for long periods periods and confront time head on." My favorite section in the book was towards the end where she talks about the dilemma of trying to figure out from among the many possibilities which book to read next, describing with a touch of wry humor, the "agonies of choice." Oh that's for sure, I kept thinking. How to choose from among the many titles on my book shelves that are "demanding loudly after much postponement to be read right away!" While in the meantime I keep adding to my ever expanding list of books I want to get at the library or possibly even purchase.
I was intrigued by the title of this book however, I was disappointed in the content. The author gives anecdotes to her life in relation to what she was reading at the time. I don't know who the author is and I was only familiar with the books she was talking about half the time. This is one of a handful of books (in my lifetime) that I did not finish, I really just didn't care what happened next. If this author was someone I was familiar with it might have given me some context. If you are well versed in classic literature you might relate to the story better than I did.