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So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading Paperback – October 5, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
...a fitting conclusion to a work that will make readers run to the shelf to discover which book beckons next. -- Library Journal, starred review, September 15, 2003
A smart, witty, utterly original memoir about how every book we read becomes a part of us. -- Augusten Burroughs
Book clubs...will find this...memoir a handy reading guide, while...book junkies will devour every page. -- St. Petersburg Times, December 2, 2003
This is a wonderful read in itself and an invaluable source of books to be explored. -- Barbara Wyatt, Elle
[Nelson's] passion for the page shines throughout. -- People, November 24, 2003 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
As early as the Prologue and the first chapter, so appropriately named, "Great Expectations," as I believe it expressed Sara's intent at the beginning of this reading project, and it expressed the reader's state upon entering her creation; I was completely committed. And I continued to feel great expectations with each chapter that I read. While it did take me 3 days to read the book, longer than it should have, I did take to carrying it everywhere with me in those 3 days, a behavior that is rare for me.
The book describes Sara Nelson's one-year journey to read books of her selection and to write about the experience. But as all of us `read-a-holics' know, the next book we read is always driven by circumstances that we cannot predict. Thus it was for Ms. Nelson as well. She had a well chosen list of books she wanted to read, but ended up reading several that she did not intend to, and not reading some that she did intend to. This process could have been predicted by any well-addicted reader. We all know, that what we want to read next, may not be what we thought we would want to read next, when we started what we are reading now.
It was with great pleasure that the author mentions Anne Lamott's book Bird By Bird as I felt from chapter 2 that Nelson's book had the same, `look and feel' as Lamott's; but with a very significant difference. Lamott is trying to teach us how to self-discipline ourselves to write. Nelson is telling us what happens to us when we read. And in so many ways, she was right on. In page after page, Nelson explains what she looks for in a book, why she likes it, and sometimes why she doesn't like it, and sometimes, nothing at all.
Her November 25 chapter is particularly interesting and speaks of opening lines. She is right; you only get one opening line. And had she not mentioned Melville and opening lines, I would have completely missed the full implications of her opening line, which I went back to read after I read that chapter. "Call me Insomniac." Despite the overt reference to the story of the Great White Whale, I would have missed it, because her first line did exactly what she wanted it to do, it captured me and reeled me in, because, like her, I am an insomniac.
In the final analysis, I would recommend that all read-a-holics put this book into their "MUST READ" pile with special prejudice toward bringing it to the top of the pile. As read-a-holics, we must stick together. This book is one of the finest books for serious readers I have found. And she did NOT solve my problem; because she suggested so many books I had never read yet, that I now have another 5,000 pages on my shelf as recommendations. Be careful, Sara reads everything, even those 1200 page tomes that we often avoid, but shouldn't. Happy Reading!
Nelson attacks her subject with, uh, uninhibited desire. Examining a year of her own reading habits, she unveils the tendencies and quibbles and sparks of heated excitement found between the covers. (Of printed matter, of course--don't let her infatuations confuse you.) The metaphor is appropriate, if you share her love for books. There's the starry-eyed introduction, the clumsy yet heady getting-to-know-you stage, the culminating union of heart and soul. Our mothers tried to warn us, though: "Be careful, I tell ya. Most boys are up to no good." Yeah, and not all books are as wonderful as they appear; not all classics live up to our expectations.
Nelson's unafraid of pointing fingers here. She tells us which ones left her uninvolved and clammy. While dispensing insights into her own roles as wife and mother, she also reveals truths she's discovered through the joys (and travails) of reading. Not all books are for everyone. Not everyone finds a match the first time around. Nelson never loses faith, however, in the idea that reader and book will find each other eventually.
In this search for Mr. Write, Nelson keeps us laughing at her, at ourselves, and the wacky world around us. For the jaded among us, beware...You might find yourself falling in love all over again.