Monday, May 1, 2017

Reads for Writers: The Most Wonderful Books edited by Michael Dorris and Emilie Buchwald

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

          The Most Wonderful Books: Writers on Discovering the Pleasures of Reading edited by Michael Dorris and Emilie Buchwald is the most delightful book I’ve read in ages. Not only do you discover the books first loved by other writers, you remember your own. In fact, readers of this book that are also writers will be hard pressed not to write essays about the readers and books in their lives.

[The editors] imagined an anthology that would inspire readers by providing a variety of examples of how well-known and successful writers first encountered the magic of the printed word. (Introduction, pp. xiii-xiv)

Here are some quotes from the 57 essays in the book:

On page 10, Marion Dane Bauer wrote: I turned to books to laugh, to weep, to burn with indignation, to revel in melancholy or silliness, to shiver with fear, and to share all those feelings with another being who felt them, too. I turned to books to know I was alive and connected with the rest of the universe.

On page 56, Barbara Juster Esbensen wrote: I read so that I can experience yet again, the miracle that happens when the paper, the ink, the book itself all seem to disappear, and I am journeying somewhere I have never been before on the wings of those magic words so carefully chosen by someone I will never know.

On page 195, Naomi Shihab Nye wrote: In books I could wander for hours. I sat in the stairwell at my grandmother’s ancestral home, sunken deep into Little Women. I was Jo for three whole years and no one knew. If you know how to read, you could never be lonely.

On pp. 203-204, Katherine Paterson wrote: I read, of course, for information. I want to know more about almost everything—science, religion, philosophy, geography, history, human nature. But I also want to know more about myself. And I have always felt that when it comes to exploring the geography of my inner life, great books are my most effective guide.

I recommend this book to all readers and writers.

For the week of April 23-29, I wrote 7,377 words.

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