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on January 6, 2003
I think this book was horribly mis-advertised. I expected essays written by the National Book Award winners themselves, describing their own literary loves and inspirations. Instead, this book is a collection of extremely mediocre interviews with these otherwise interesting and remarkable talents. There are precious few pages in this book that themselves inspire anything beyond ennui. To add insult to injury, the featured writers and every true bibliophile will be appaled at the poor quality of printing and materials used for this book. The mass-market paperback stock used seems highly inappropriate, even considering the marginal quality of the content.
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on May 13, 2015
The title implies that these authors will talk about "the book that changed their life." Buyer beware.

They're actually just rather general interviews like you might read on the back page of TIME - only longer. Sure, they talk about the books that influenced them, but the interviews themselves are more about the authors, their past work, and their upcoming novels.

Some of the interviews were interesting, but the authors were almost entirely contemporary "literary" authors, so I had not heard of most of them.

Overall, I felt cheated and bored. Slugged through the book in general.
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VINE VOICEon September 21, 2009
Offers fairly brief, edited transcripts of interviews with fifteen writers who either won or were finalists for the National Book Award. Focusing on explorations of "insights in the many ways in which the experience of reading shapes the act of writing," the editor, freelance writer Diane Osen, offers readers a collection of wide-ranging discussions from some of the best writers of our present generation.

Writers interviewed include: James Carroll; Don DeLillo; E.L. Doctorow; Charles Johnson; Diane Johnson; Philip Levine; David Levering Lewis; Barry Lopez; David McCullough; Alice McDermott; Cynthia Ozick; Grace Paley; Linda Pastan; Katherine Paterson; and, Robert Stone.

Because of the type of book it is -- with each writer bringing his/her own style, pace and content -- readers may want to read this book slowly, one writer's interview per day. Otherwise, it it may appear a bit disjointed and uneven. Still, there are real nuggets of wisdom and insight for the patient reader.

Recommended for college and university libraries and large urban public libraries.

R. Neil Scott
Middle Tennessee State University
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on May 12, 2016
a rather lukewarm book, shipped quickly
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on February 20, 2009
Appears to be raggedly edited interviews. And while it touches on the books that various authors claim have "changed their "lives" its rarely clear in what ways. Picked this for a book club book, most didn't care for it.
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on March 29, 2013
I found this book tedious. None in my Book Club finished it. It was more of a literary report for use as a reference
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on September 17, 2002
Diane Osen has done it again! In a brilliant followup to her previous book The Writing Life, Osen interviews National Book Award winners about the books that changed their lives. Each interview is a gem and it is clear that Osen has approached her subjects with the utmost scholarship and thoughtfulness.
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on September 17, 2002
Diane Osen has done it again! In a brilliant followup to her previous book The Writing Life, Osen interviews National Book Award winners about the books that changed their lives. Each interview is a gem and it is clear that Osen has approached her subjects with the utmost scholarship and thoughtfulness.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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