Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them by Roxanne J. Coady

The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them
by Roxanne J. Coady

October 19th 2006 by Gotham
Hardcover, 224 pages
1592402100 (isbn13: 9781592402106)

rating: 3 of 5 stars



"It's funny that reading and valuing words is now what anchors my life."

Roxanne J. Coady is the owner of R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut.  Together with editor Joy Johannessen, she put together a collection of essays from authors who have all, at one time or another, done readings of their works at her store.  Each brief essay tells of one (or sometimes two) books which "changed the life" of the author.

I had hoped there'd be an amount of freshness, of surprise, in the essays.  Instead, I found the sorts of references you'd expect.  Alice Hoffman wrote about Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger); Anita Diamant about A Room of One's Own (Virginia Woolf); Graeme Base wrote about The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien).  There are a few novelties, that sent me to Goodreads to look up a title, like Tomie dePaola's essay about Kristin Lavransdatter (Sigrid Undset).  Also, you can find out the meaningful books in the lives of Joe Lieberman and John McCain.

Overall, this is a nice little gift book for a librarian or bookseller; not a gift for someone who's not a truly avid reader. Also, proceeds go to the foundation started by Coady, Read to Grow.

4 comments:

  1. Sorry that the references weren't any fresher but I suppose those books are classics for a reason :-)

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  2. I read most of this book earlier this year and I understand what you're saying. I got about halfway through before I put it down. I think my favorite essay was Linda Greenlaw's on The Perfect Storm. It was fresh and so different from the other essays in the book.

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  3. Sounds interesting, but I think you're right about being a best for a librarian or bookseller. Oh, and probably English teachers too- this sounds like something one of my college professors would have liked.

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  4. This one was a light read, but I rather enjoyed it. It's fun to hear others' comments on some books you've read.

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