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An American Childhood by Annie Dillard

An American Childhood (original 1987; edition 1987)

by Annie Dillard (Author)

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1,779255,927 (4.09)96
Title:An American Childhood
Authors:Annie Dillard (Author)
Info:Harper & Roiw (1987), Edition: Book Club Edition

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An American Childhood by Annie Dillard (1987)

Recently added bypetermoccia, jeaniehh, amysan, MLRALibrary, whitefieldpl, rsnelson, RevBear, KLuce86, littlesquirrel, private library
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I'm a fiction reader by nature, and I often find it difficult to get into nonfiction. But I'm in love with Annie Dillard's nonfiction. (I still haven't read any of her fiction.) I could read her all day, every day. Although I enjoyed her "Pilgrim" more than "Childhood" ("Pilgrim" in on my "top 10 books of all time" list, though), this book was absolutely terrific. The prose is magical and lyrical, and the reflections both tender and deep. ( )
  petermoccia | Mar 20, 2019 |
I read Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek many years ago and so I've long meant to read another of her books. An American Childhood is a memoir of growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1950s and 1960s. The early chapters are vivid descriptions of her inner life as a child focusing on her imagination. A particular compelling passage describes her horror at a figure crossing her room at night which later realizes is only light from passing cars, but nevertheless she continues to imagine that something is really in her room. From an early age, Dillard is fascinated by nature and she describes learning about it from books at the library and experience much of nature even in her urban environment. As she gets older the narrative grows into more of a traditional memoir more focused on people in her life and her experiences at school and church. Dillard's prose is beautiful, but I didn't find this book nearly as engaging as Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. ( )
  Othemts | Nov 29, 2018 |
I really love Annie Dillard's writing, so I was interested to read about how she became the remarkable thinker and writer that she is. There seem to be two main reasons.

First, she was raised by loving, intelligent parents who allowed her significant independence of thought and activity. They respected and allowed her full personhood. They were also prosperous enough to put her in an excellent girls school.

Second, she was an incredibly curious, focused child with a strong inner locus of motivation and action.

The book is beautifully written and a joy to read. ( )
  LauraBee00 | Mar 7, 2018 |
Stick with Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, I think. ( )
  Laurelyn | Oct 20, 2017 |
Annie Dillard is a talented writer capable of creating vivid images in her descriptions of places and things. However, this book is very boring. ( )
  krista.rutherford | May 16, 2015 |
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I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of thy house and the place where dwelleth thy glory. - Psalm 26
for my parents Pam Lambert Doak and Frank Doak
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When everything else has gone from my brain--the President's name, the state capitals, the neighborhoods where I lived, and then my own name and what it was on earth I sought, and then at length the faces of my friends, and finally the faces of my family--when all this has dissolved, what will be left, I believe, is topology: the dreaming memory of land as it lay this way and that.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060915188, Paperback)

Annie Dillard remembers. She remembers the exhilaration of whipping a snowball at a car and having it hit straight on. She remembers playing with the skin on her mother's knuckles, which "didn't snap back; it lay dead across her knuckle in a yellowish ridge." She remembers the compulsion to spend a whole afternoon (or many whole afternoons) endlessly pitching a ball at a target. In this intoxicating account of her childhood, Dillard climbs back inside her 5-, 10-, and 15-year-old selves with apparent effortlessness. The voracious young Dillard embraces headlong one fascination after another--from drawing to rocks and bugs to the French symbolists. "Everywhere, things snagged me," she writes. "The visible world turned me curious to books; the books propelled me reeling back to the world." From her parents she inherited a love of language--her mother's speech was "an endlessly interesting, swerving path"--and the understanding that "you do what you do out of your private passion for the thing itself," not for anyone else's approval or desire. And one would be mistaken to call the energy Dillard exhibits in An American Childhood merely youthful; "still I break up through the skin of awareness a thousand times a day," she writes, "as dolphins burst through seas, and dive again, and rise, and dive."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:46 -0400)

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An autobiography describing the author's childhood and life in Pittburgh during the fifties.

(summary from another edition)

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