The Books That Changed My Life: Reflections by 100 Authors, Actors, Musicians and Other Remarkable People

Edited by Bethanne Patrick. Regan Arts (S&S, dist.), $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-942872-94-8
The contributors to this lively, addictive collection from Patrick (An Uncommon History of Common Things) offer insights into the power of books to influence readers’ lives. The contributors include Margaret Atwood; Keith Carradine; Flora Darpino, the U.S. Army’s judge advocate general; Nicholas Kristoff; Ruth Ozeki; Al Roker; and Sunil Yapa, and each chooses a single title to examine. The selections include children’s books (Harriet the Spy), classics (The Great Gatsby, Anna Karenina), and current works (Nora Ephron Collected, The Stories of Frederick Busch). The authors who contribute essays typically focus on how their selection influenced their work. Participants from other fields discuss how reading opened up new directions for their lives or careers. The short entries are like literary snack food: once readers start consuming them, they may find it difficult to stop. Book lovers will recognize themselves in these portraits and feel among friends. Perhaps the most valuable takeaway from this joyous volume is that, in an increasingly digital world, the printed word still matters. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
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