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Time Bites: Views and Reviews Paperback – November 28, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060831413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060831417
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Arguably the grande dame of English letters—the list of her published works comes to 60-plus—Lessing has always been outspoken about literature, politics and social issues. The 65 essays and book reviews collected here range over those topics and others, all declaimed in Lessing's brisk, wry voice and articulated with pragmatic intelligence. Her literary reviews always amplify the book at hand; the pieces on Virginia Woolf, Leo Tolstoy and Jane Austen resonate with fresh insight. Her enthusiastic reconsiderations of authors who are little read today, including Olive Schreiner, George Meredith, A.E. Coppard and Walter de la Mare, may pique readers' curiosity. Another obscure book, about an American prostitute, comes to light in the fascinating "The Maimie Papers." Six essays discuss the writer Idries Shah and his books about the mysteries and consolations of Sufism, which, Lessing claims, were "like a depth charge" and fulfilled all her philosophical and spiritual needs. Not every reader will be convinced. There's a tirade against Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (Rhodesia was Lessing's homeland) and a coruscating indictment of American complacency before 9/11. The main theme, whether addressed overtly or underlying her literary criticism, is the indispensable place of books in the life of an educated person and an enlightened culture. Hers is a clarion call. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Lessing has been prolific for decades, writing diverse novels, short stories, plays, nonfiction, and autobiographies. She is also a superb essayist: lucid, wise, knowledgeable, and witty. Most of her conversational, fast-moving, often wry inquiries into literature, politics, and ethics were originally published in England, hence little known in America, a lack redressed in this generous and pleasurable collection. Knowing books as intimately as she does, and caring deeply about reading and writing, Lessing pens critical essays that are vibrant and illuminating, with quotable lines on every page. She writes of cats, censorship, Sufism, the exhilaration of rereading Stendhal, "book hunger" in African villages, and the nature of memory. Lessing revs up readers'love for books, observes that "the voices of common sense are always softer than the noisy rhetorics of extremism," and, in one of her more contemplative pieces, "Problems, Myths, and Stories," considers how intrinsic storytelling is to humanness, even as education loosens its connection to great literature, and the art of reading is altered by new technologies and expectations. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Schweizer VINE VOICE on July 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am old enough to remember a time when every self-respecting woman had a copy of the "Golden Notebooks" on her shelf. I am not sure that books are important to today's hip woman, but I have been a life long reader of hers, and she continues in her 80s to be a great humanitarian if not quite the great writer she used to be. "Time Bites" which could just as well be called "tidbits" is not much in the way of a book. These are not even proper essays really, certainly not prize winners, but they are 'occasional pieces' which is a respectable genre in itself. She writes appreciations of writers such as D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf, she addresses what she calls the stupidity of political correctness which, correctly, she says has destroyed American universities, she reminds us of the insanity of the American left, but also of the lunatic right, she speaks in her old age of moderation, shares her love of animals, and speaks yet again to the tragedy of Zimbabwe, her former home country. The voice of sanity is rare these days, so I highly recommend this collection, which includes dozens of short, probing, gently critical pieces. Lessing, one feels, cares far more about the world than about herself. How's that for a recommendation?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This collection of small essays reveals to us the world of Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing. Lessing is an extremely serious writer , one with a strong moral sense. She writes here about a number of her fellow writers, D.H.Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, A.C.Coppard, Bulgakov, George Meredith, Olive Schreiner, Tolstoy- about the writer who has meant the most to her Idries Shah, and the religious philosophy he espouses, Sufism- about animals, especially cats, about being young and being old, about the changes she has seen in writers mentality and motivation in her lifetime, about Education , about the tragedy of Zimbabwe,about Opera and her connection with the composer Philip Glass, about the difference between writing fiction and writing autobiography, about the satisfaction of knowing her book 'The Golden Notebook' has been read and enjoyed by so many people in so many different places. She also writes an essay about the wisdom of 'Ecclesiastes'. She writes of its prose. "From the very first verse of Ecclesiastes you are carried along on a running tide of sound, incantantory, almost hypnotic , and it is easy to imagine yourself sitting among this man's pupils, listeningt them..... Your ears are entranced , but at the same time you are very much alert."
I would say of this collection on the whole that there are spots in it in which the reader will be made very alert and feel that they have truly learned and enjoyed. But that there is not real inspiration or fire or humor in it. A decent work.
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By bookworm on April 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I recently got this book out of the library and had time to read only a few of the essays. I was going to renew it ,but instead am buying it because I found what she had to say so profoundly true, that I had to own it. I am going to have all of my American friends and family read "The Wrong Way Home"--she speaks to the idea of terrorism and cult thinking and how to defeat it with books and education worldwide.

Some of the essays are short but provacative. She covers so many subjects and mentions so many writers that I've never heard of that I think I will have to write them down to read later. I've read many of her other books, The Canopus in Argus Series, Mara and Dan, The Good Terrorist, The Fifth Child, to name a few--they are all so different, and she never fails to take me away to that other place I go to in a good book. And I love that she has an affinity for cats. She is so wise, and so funny sometimes....I'd like to take her to lunch.
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By Luis F. Anterzana on September 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THis is a serious book because it brings you to the author's views in a number of subjects, all of them worth knowing. Her points of view are contemporary and useful as a guide for those who wonder why and how come certain things are the way they are. Her observations put light into events very clearly and in especially the events involving the Zimbabwe situation.

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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Betty Burks on February 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In the preface for the 'Writers' and Artists' 2003 Yearbook,' this author tells about how hard it was to get her first book published. "Since I began writing seventy or so years ago everything has changed for writers." This is a collection of sixty-five essays on diverse subjects, all of which comprised her long life. She has written fourteen novels, six non-fiction, two operas, several collections of short stories, poetry, possibly a type of sci-fi about planets 5 & 8, and other writings.

"I do not believe that one can be changed by a book (or by a person) unless there is already something present, latent or in embryo, ready to be changed. Books have influenced me all my life." She says that we take stories and storytelling for granted. "The great reservoir of myth, legends, parables, tales, that we dip into for entertainment, use for films and plays, refer to so as to elucidate a point or draw a parallel -- it is alwalys there and we hardly think about it. Tales are as old as humanity, like a long shadow thrown by our history."

She wrote two short stories about felines: "On Cats" and "Particularly Cats." "Whatever was the quality that made Egyptians worship cats was probably the same one that associated them with magic and witchcraft in Europe." She compared Desmond Morris' CATLORE to an earlier: "This new book is because the first, CATWATCHING, was such a success, provoking storms of questions from all over the world. Some are dealt with here. There is, too, more cat history, but I think facts are often just stated and left at that (here and in other cat books) when surely demand further investigation. For instance, why did the Egyptians worship cats?
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