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Morningstar: Growing Up With Books by Ann…

Morningstar: Growing Up With Books (2017)

by Ann Hood

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I'm not very familiar with author Hood but I was immediately drawn to a premise of reading about Hood growing up with books. Sold!

It's a memoir of Hood and the role books have played in her life. From the individual books listed at the beginning of each chapter to her voracious reading habits and how books helped her in life, Hood talks about books, reading and more. Unfortunately, this slim volume was quite boring. Initially her childhood and early years seemed interesting and it was fascinating to see how she came from a background of limited access to books to becoming a widely published author. But it just falls flat.

The problem is that she tries too hard to frame it around particular books (which all get spoiled, so be warned if you planned to read any of them). It didn't particularly compel me to want to read any of the titles she discussed and her selection of the chapter headers as the titles were just not that interesting to me. I had not heard of some of the titles but they seemed pretty boring. Mostly men, I think mostly US-based, etc.

Will certainly concede that she came from a background where books were not readily available and so that might have affected what she sought out, what was accessible, etc. As another review on Goodreads notes, the book might be very much for people who are of Hood's generation. As a sidenote, she's also married to Michael Ruhlman, author of a couple of food/cooking-related books. I also found his titles rather boring.

It's a pity because I had initially liked Hood's 'The Book That Matters Most' only to find it rather hokey at the end. I guess she's not an author for me.

Library borrow but I suppose it could be a good gift for someone who's a fan hers or is a reader and is in the same age range as Hood (to better relate). ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
"I believe that magically the book we are supposed to read somehow appears in out hands at just the right time" (126).

Ann Hood grew up in a small town in Rhode Island, the children of Italian immigrants, who always dreamed of traveling beyond and becoming a writer. In this book of ten essays or Lessons she learned from books, Hood explores the many ways that reading is not an escape from life, but a way to live.

I generally love getting a glimpse of a reader's relationship with books, but I had a tough time with this one. I admit, some of the fault may lie with me as a reader. First, I didn't realize they were essays until I was partway through. I'd been reading it as a connected narrative and was growing impatient with repeated thoughts and not being able to follow what was happening chronologically. Next, Hood grew up during the 1960s and read a lot of books that I have not. Usually even when an author's personality or experience is markedly different from mine, I can connect with shared favorite books. I've only read one of the books that Hood mentions as seminal in her life, and I didn't like it - the others, I've heard of but have no interest in. There were moments where I could glimpse a fellow book and language lover, such as when she talks of reading the right book in just the right moment or having family members that didn't understand how she could be reading instead of playing outside. But most of the time I was bewildered by her precocious reading and wondering if she's really as elitist as she sounds when she almost apologizes for loving a book that she's since grown to realize isn't as well-written as she once thought. If you're a reader and love books about books, though, don't let my ambivalence discourage you. It's a short book worth spending the time to read, and you may discover it connects with you better than it did me. ( )
  bell7 | Dec 2, 2017 |
I find this type of book interesting, but this writer seems too self-absorbed. Growing up in the same time period, I expected to relate to her stories of growing up with books, but didn't. I've read other books of this sort and took away suggestions for future reading, but didn't. Surprisingly after making much of her immigrant roots and small town upbringing, the fact that both her and her brother attended college when many didn't is just a casual mention. ( )
  MM_Jones | Oct 27, 2017 |
Highly recommended for anyone who loves books. Thank you, Ann Hood, for stirring up so many long-forgotten memories of growing up reading. ( )
  Gingermama | Sep 11, 2017 |
This is a lovely book about books. Written so very well, each page is a joy. Ann Hood takes the reader on a wonderful journey of books that changed her life. Weaving the title of the book with the story of how and why the particular book led the author on a marvelous path, I read the book in one sitting, relating to many of which I had read.

Highly recommended! ( )
  Whisper1 | Aug 20, 2017 |
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This book is for all the giants whose shoulders I stand on-
With thanks for letting me see farther
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When I was four years old, for reasons no one in my family could explain, I picked up my older brother Skip's reading book and I read it.
I believe that magically the book we are supposed to read somehow appears in our hands at just the right time.
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"Growing up in a mill town in Rhode Island, in a household that didn't foster a love of literature, Hood discovered nonetheless the transformative power of books. She learned to channel her imagination, ambitions, and curiosity by devouring ever-growing stacks. In [this book], Hood recollects how The Bell Jar, Marjorie Morningstar, The Harrad Experiment, and The Outsiders influenced her teen psyche and introduced her to topics that could not be discussed at home"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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