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From BOOK SAVVY to Book Junkie
on November 23, 2013
From BOOK SAVVY to Book Junkie
Clean, concise and fun reading—that’s how I characterized Cynthia Lee Katona’s Book Savvy just nine pages in. After a cover to cover leisurely reading, this overall impression remains. A wealth of knowledge and advice abounds, no more and no less than what it took to get the job done—convince her audience of the art and pleasure of becoming a “book junkie” and how to get there. It is rare to find a resource of this caliber fleshed out in so few pages.
BOOK SAVVY starts with an autobiography that is short, swift and to the point. It is not meant to tell anything about the author other than her direct path to becoming a “book junkie”. The voice behind the words—informative yet personal—seems to want to remain detached. It’s Katona’s "savvy" direction that leads the reader from first to last page, a voice that is personally familiar with each creative work that found its way onto these pages.
BOOK SAVVY is an easy, enjoyable, and informative read. “Key to the Annotated Book List” whetted my appetite for the treasures to come. In that chapter, Katona uses icons, much like international road signage, to quickly inform the reader about the book, to let them know if they want to take that off-ramp or not.
My favorite chapter is the “Annotated Book List” and, like everything I truly savor, I left the best for last, skipping it to read after Part III, “Becoming a Book Junkie”. There, I became excited to find among the bounty a list of masterpieces that I had either read too young to understand or appreciate, or not at all for any number of reasons. LOLITA was one of those masterpieces, and here I quote Katona: “There is no turn of mind that can’t be empathized with as is shown so brilliantly in Nabokov’s Lolita which even makes child abuse explicable…” Wow! I had never read LOLITA, but because of this review and its rating of “5” (meaning a challenging masterwork of literature), my interest quickened and I purchased the book to read. Other titles tickled a faint memory, such as BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA, a book I’d heard about but had not yet had the opportunity to add to my personal queue.
When Katona introduces “Active Reading” she quotes Mortimer J. Adler’s “How to Mark a Book”. “Amen!” I said after reading it. It’s against my nature to read anything without scribbling penciled notes and commentary everywhere. The only section not to resonate entirely with me, however, was Chapter 7, “Developing a Reading Journal”. That would amount to teaching this ‘old dog’—already a veteran reader and writer—a new trick. But for those who aren’t yet there, a reading journal could be a sure fire way to develop and nurture the book junkie in them.
As well, I was particularly interested in Appendix A, “Book Lists and Awards”, a useful ‘inset’ of the greater map of how to become a lover of books. A plethora of quotes brings up the rear.
BOOK SAVVY is importantly accessible to its target market—those who need encouragement to read (as well as those who already know the value). It abounds with truths, insights, and discoveries—something for everybody. In other words, in a snappy no nonsense style, Katona has covered the bases.
I recommend BOOK SAVVY as a textbook to teachers/professors of literature and creative writing, and as a resource to anyone wishing to enhance their enjoyment of perhaps the greatest of all past-times—reading. BOOK SAVVY is a must-read for anyone who loves to write creatively, such as myself, because reading is writing.