Monday, May 6, 2024

Why We Read by Shannon Reed Book Review

About the Book:

We read to escape, to learn, to find love, to feel seen. We read to encounter new worlds, to discover new recipes, to find connection across difference, or simply to pass a rainy afternoon. No matter the reason, books have the power to keep us safe, to challenge us, and perhaps most importantly, to make us more fully human.

Shannon Reed, a longtime teacher, lifelong reader, and New Yorker contributor, gets it. With one simple goal in mind, she makes the case that we should read for pleasure above all else. In this whip-smart, laugh-out-loud-funny collection, Reed shares surprising stories from her life as a reader and the poignant ways in which books have impacted her students. From the varied novels she cherishes (Gone GirlTheir Eyes Were Watching God) to the ones she didn’t (Tess of the d’Urbervilles), Reed takes us on a rollicking tour through the comforting world of literature, celebrating the books we love, the readers who love them, and the ways in which literature can transform us for the better.

My Review:

How fun, reading a book about reading books. And read books I do. This was number 92 so far this year. I sold books for over three decades and still love to read and review them.

Reed shares her reasons she began life as a reader. I identified with many of them. "[I]n reading, I was never lonely, the way I sometimes felt in real life." (14) People left her alone when her nose was in a book. (Yes! Me too! And they still do.) A book never abandoned you like people sometimes did. The book was always there waiting for you. "Reading was always safe and always good company." (14) "Reading gives me the world." (16) It gave me the world in my childhood, venturing far and wide from my small town on an island in Puget Sound.

While reading is a solitary pursuit, Reed notes the experience of discussing what is read. I have been in a book discussion group for decades. I am always amazed at the insights others found in a book we read together. I post reviews of most of the books I read, my way of sharing my thoughts. 

This is a fun book for readers. You'll enjoy Reed's comments on her reading and teaching experiences. And you'll be introduced to a number of books on a variety of subjects.

About the Author:

Shannon Reed is a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh and a contributor to The New Yorker's “Shouts & Murmurs” pieces. Her work has also appeared in Real Simple, The Paris Review, Slate, LitHub, Longreads, The Guardian, AFAR, The Washington Post, and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and most notably, McSweeney's. She holds an MA in Educational Theatre and Teaching Secondary English, and an MFA in Creative Writing.

Hanover Square Press, 336 pages.

I read this book as a loan from my local library. What a great idea! Libraries! Books I get to read and do not have to buy.

1 comment:

DVDgal75 said...

Thank you for sharing