Saturday, June 24, 2017

REVIEW: BOOKS FOR LIVING BY WILL SCHWALBE

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. Hardcover, 288 pgs
Goodreads Description

     Schwalbe perfectly articulates the feelings of bookish people- and is solidly my favorite
"books about books" novelist. Whether you relate to all or bits of his musings, it is a joyful read. Similar to The End of Your Life Book Club (where he chronicles the books he and his mom read while she was suffering from cancer), this is part memoir, part life lessons gleamed, and overall awe at the power of words. ".....most good books are not tackling big questions in isolation." "I also believe that no book is so bad that you can't find anything in it of interest."
"This book you are now reading is a manifesto of sorts....because I think we need to read and to be readers today now more than ever."
       Schwalbe makes me want to read all the titles he mentioned, even ones of which I was aware but hadn't considered- or had decided weren't for me. This perfectly illustrates that no two people will interpret a book or in this case, it's description, the same way- and it can also change over time.
      This would make an excellent book club selection. While not the traditional story, each book mentioned could be discussed in terms of Schwalbe's interpretation, and those of each reader in the club. It would be one long night though- because then you'd break down each book into thoughts of those who had read the mentioned stories vs ones unfamiliar with the discussed books. Would they be interested in reading them? Why or why not? Would spoilers be allowed by those who had read it? I'd vote no! :-) I seriously digress.
        Hypothetical book club meeting aside, I now must pick up Wonder by RJ Palacio and Stuart Little by E.B White for my girls (and me). Also, The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang- a book which had gone out of print but has (luckily) been reissued.
      Funny enough, on my friend Carol Kubala's Goodreads review, the paragraph she highlighted on unreliable narrators from The Girl on the Train was also one of my notes. The virtue of mediocrity found in his reading of The Odyssey was super fascinating, and brought an issue I had recently been contemplating to the forefront of my mind. Do yourself a favor and tuck into this gem. It'll be delightful, I promise!

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