Lynne Sharon Schwartz: Ruined by Reading

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Schwartz, Lynne Sharon. Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books (Boston: Beacon Press, 1996)

I am often fascinated by books about books (meta-books?), so Lynne Sharon Schwartz's Ruined by Reading was an easy suggestion for a fellow bibliophile friend to make for my TBR stack. Weighing in at not much more than 100 pages, Schwartz's memoir is a brief and entertaining glimpse into her reading experiences and her relationship with books. Here are two choice quotes to give a taste of her bibliophilia:

Like the bodies of dancers or athletes, the minds of readers are genuinely happy and self-possessed only when cavorting around, doing their stretches and leaps and jumps to the tune of words. (p. 3)

When, every so often, I have a spasm of needing to get organized, I make lists of books to read. In between reading the books on the list I am sidetracked by the books pressed on me by friends, or the shelved books suddenly demanding loudly, after much postponement, to be read right away, or the piles of books arriving in the mail with notes from editors beseeching that I read them. If they only knew the convoluted agonies of choice! (pp. 103-104)

Her closing passage is especially delightful, eliciting many fond memories:

So much of a child's life is lived for others. We learn what they want us to learn, and show our learning for their gratification. All the reading I did as a child, behind closed doors, sitting on the bed while the darkness fell around me, was an act of reclamation. This and only this I did for myself. This was the way to make life my own. (p. 119)

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on April 15, 2010 1:55 PM.

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