Review: Monsieur Proust’s Library – Anka Muhlstein

Monsieur Proust’s Library by Anka Muhlstein takes us on a literary pathway through Marcel Proust’s great work, À la Recherche de Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time). This slim volume (141 pages) is a printed in blue ink on high quality paper, with attractive illustrations at the beginning of each chapter.

I can’t say [...]

Review: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die – Peter Boxall

Christmas Gifts for Readers no. 1. (a short series)

Over the next month or so I’m going to write a few articles on books which if I’d not already got them I would be delighted to receive on Christmas Day.

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is a controversial volume among book-lovers. [...]

Review: Such Stuff as Dreams – Keith Oatley

Keith Oatley is a novelist and professor of cognitive psychology at the Univeristy of Toronto. He has some remakable things to say about the act of reading. His book, Such Stuff as Dreams suggests that when we read, our brains interpret social interactions in a work of fiction as the real thing – as far [...]

Review: The Possessed – Elif Batuman

Elif Batuman’s book of essays, The Possessed, loosely based on the joys of reading classic Russian literature, turns out to be a bit of a hodge-podge of travel-writing, literary criticism and a personal reading history, enlivened by a butterfly mind that flutters from one subject to another without really landing for too long on any [...]

Don Quixote – windmills for the mind

Stu, of Winstonsdad’s Blog has a copy of Edith Grossman’s highly-regarded translation of Don Quixote and is proposing a “readalong” starting in late summer this year (2010). The idea is to read the book together and publish blog posts about the experience.

I bought this book pretty much when it came out in 2004 [...]

Readers are sad losers

A short report in The Guardian on Saturday on a survey conducted by the National Reading Campaign tells us that lower income, non-professional families see readers as losers and loners, people who “don’t know how to live . . . an alien and unexciting tribe they seldom meet”.

I think I kind of guessed that [...]

Review: Hitler’s Private Library – Timothy W Ryback

I am always interested in the way reading affects people, and also in the psychology of the German people in the build-up to the Second World War. Timothy Ryback has studied the remnants of Hitler’s private library, some 1200 books, which occupy shelf-space in the rare book division of the Library of Congress in Washington. [...]

Review: Proust and the Squid – Maryanne Wolf

In Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, Maryanne Wolf, an expert on the reading brain, describes how our brains manage to read. Reading is not an innate activity, but it is an invention, and only a few thousand years old at that. It does not come naturally to humans [...]