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Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read…

Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live

by Peter Orner

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I am not a lover of the short story, as this author is, but he did persuade me to look at certain stories in a different way, to value the way a short story can give a glimpse of a moment in time, a snapshot of a life or an incident. In this book of essays, Peter Orner features a different author and one of their writings, in each chapter. Most of the chapters describe a short story, and it’s impact on his life, although a few do mention novels. Throughout the book, the author tells much about his own life, and some chapters are much more autobiographical than others. I always enjoy hearing how reading has impacted a person’s life, and this was an enjoyable read. ( )
  jhoaglin | Aug 15, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I apologize for my late review, as I read this book months ago. I had high expectations because books about books is a favorite topic of mine. Peter Orner writes well, but I was unable to relate or identify with him and I found myself skimming through most of the chapters. Additionally, the books he highlighted were so obscure to me, I was not compelled to explore the works mentioned. This is a book worth picking up, if you appreciate musingings and thoughtful introspection. ( )
  cindyfh | Jun 6, 2017 |
Presents stories as a means of explaining things to oneself. Thought provoking, but hard to relate to some of the more obscure references. ( )
  MM_Jones | Feb 18, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I consider that I have read a lot of different authors but over half of the writers Peter Orner mentions in this memoir about living to read and reading to live are completely new to me. Even the ones of which I have heard are not exactly household names. And the ones that I have actually read I could count on the fingers of one hand.

Orner tends to extol writers of short stories whereas I prefer to read full length fiction. I do admit that when a short story writer is a master of the craft there is something magical that is achieved. One of the writers that Orner admires is Mavis Gallant who was a Canadian albeit having lived most of her adult years in France. He was reading an essay by her just before he learned of her death but he says that isn't a coincidence because he quite often starts out his day by reading something by her. "She sets the bar so high I can relax in the knowledge that, whatever I say, I'll never be able to say it as lucidly as she does." Having read Gallant's short stories I can agree with his assessment which makes me think that I should give some of the other writers he mentions like Vaclav Havel, Eudora Welty and Andre Dubus a try.

One of the great things about reading is how a book will lead you to reading another book and then another and so on. Thank you Peter Orner for opening my eyes to new authors and their works. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jan 27, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Thanks to Librarything and Catapult for a free copy of this book. Am I Alone Here? Is subtitled Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live. That pretty much sums up the book. Peter Orner has written a series of short essays, some just about his life and others about authors and stories that he has read. I was hooked right from the beginning. Orner muses in the introduction that "I'll be dead before I read even a quarter of the books down here. That leaves at least three-quarters of these books unread. But to measure a life in unread books seems about right to me. All the experiences we will never have, places we will never go, people we will never meet." As I was reading the introduction, I knew I had a found a kindred spirit. I may have finished this book but I have not finished with this book. I particularly enjoyed the essays about authors and their writing whether I was familiar with these authors or not. Horner has inspired me to regularly read an essay and then read the works discussed. This will be a treasured book in my collection and I would recommend it to any and all literary fiction buffs. ( )
  paulamc | Jan 25, 2017 |
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