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Reading Life: Books for the Ages


In 12 far-reaching and intimate essays, Birkerts reflects upon his first readings of classic texts, including "The Catcher in the Rye" and "Lolita," ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Reading Life: Books for the Ages

Overall customer rating: 5.000

Reading the Inner Life

by rejoyce on Aug 13, 2007

One of this country's finest critics, Sven Birkerts turns to formative fiction in twelve essays that seamlessly wed acutely close readings and insights about the books' shaping of the critic's inner life. Books for the Ages is double in meaning; the essays explore the profound transactions between reading and life. If there are obvious canonical choices (Madame Bovary, Lolita, To the Lighthouse), Birkerts also writes about the cult classic Catcher in the Rye for Salinger's indelible portrait of adolescent male alienation, Women in Love for Lawrence's dramatization of the power struggle in heterosexual relationships, and Bellow's Humboldt's Gift as a surprising, eccentric personal favorite. The author's readings are at once so incisive and intimate that he excites the reader enough to discover those unread texts or revisit the ones that might've been dismissed the first time around. A singular book about reading for readers who love to read.

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