Books: Book by Book: Notes on Reading and LifeWhy I am recommending this book:
I love my books! It is because I love books and because I believe that reading books, in fact reading a lot of books often, is a good habit to develop, that I like this book. Dirda's love for books and his relationship to books and life experiences guides the reader to a deeper appreciation for one of our most precious privileges - the opportunity to read.
Longtime Washington Post Book World staff writer and Pulitzer-winning critic Dirda writes a guide to reading and its life lessons ranging widely and pithily through the universal themes of learning, school, work, love, childhood and spiritual guidance. Dirda's message is simple: if reading is to be life enhancing, we need to focus our attention on books that are rewarding. Dirda encourages readers to forge a subjective and intimate relationship with books. He urges readers to spend less time on brand-name authors and more time discovering the books that truly excite them, paying attention to works from the past, including the classics. With humor and pragmatism, Dirda sets forth advice for building a hypothetical guest-room library: "Ideally items should be family, cozy, browsable, above all soothing" (and include a Jane Austen novel). Throughout are eclectic snippets of writing gleaned from a lifetime's reading; Dirda draws on a notebook in which he has recorded striking quotations and passages, and his volume has the agreeable feeling of a commonplace book. Highly cultured yet never pretentious, Dirda's survey convincingly demonstrates what a wealth of life lessons-moral, emotional and aesthetic-a good library can contain. For those who enjoy books about reading, and for all those seeking to encourage others to read, Dirda's brief yet suggestive book will inspire.