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Readings: Essays & Literary Entertainments (edition 2000)
by Michael Dirda
Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments by Michael Dirda
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One of my favorite literary essayists, Michael Dirda's ability to discuss books in a way that makes the most difficult tome seem delightful is just amazing. I cannot recommend highly enough his essays for encouraging reading and providing suggestions on how and where to look to fulfill your literary dreams. ( )
Excellent essays on books, literature, book collecting, etc. Clear sharp writer, true lover of books, wide range.
One of those books that I’ve had to copy long passages from, whole chapters even. Don’t miss Vacation Reading, Talismans, and One More Modest Proposal.
The essays here are excellent--reflective, evocative, eager to learn more about the life literary journalist Dirda has chosen. And above all, they show the impure erudition (impure because mortal, as Dirda clearly knows) of a true liberal-arts scholar.
One small complaint: the essays seem logically ordered--starting lighthearted, on such topics as his family and Wodehouse, then becoming pensive, almost despairing at times, as Dirda yearns to enjoy both the cerebral pleasures of the book and the more sensible pleasures of, say, a day in New Orleans. Yet the book is not divided into parts which might make finding a piece of a particular mood easier. An index of names would also be welcome so the reader could gain a clearer picture of Dirda's wide-ranging learnedness. Then again, this can be done easily enough as is--merely dive in to this small, inexpensive collection, and remember that, just as no man is an island, it is no shame to springboard off the enthusiasm of another reader.
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Wikipedia in English (2)
Readings Literary Entertainments Michael Dirda The best of the column, "Readings," fromWashington Post Book World, by Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Dirda. Since 1993Washington Post Book World has published a monthly column by Michael Dirda called "Readings." Personal, erudite, serious, and sometimes playful, these columns cover a variety of subjects: classics in translation, intellectual history, children's books, fantasy and crime fiction, American and European literature, poetry, innovative writing, the joys of collecting first editions, rediscovering neglected novels, ghost stories, teaching writing, and the challenges of parenthood and life in general. Dirda is a writer's reader and a reader's writer. He is an impeccable guide to good reading from the light--he loves P. G. Wodehouse--to scholarly esoterica. His columns are always worth a pause, always worth reading, always worth coming back to. Readings presents his most memorable essays, including "The Crime of His Life" (a youthful caper), "Bookman's Saturday" (the scheming of a book collector), "Weekend with Wodehouse," "Mr. Wright" (an exemplary high school teacher), "Listening to My Father," "Turning Fifty," and "Millennial Readings." This is a book to keep on your bedside for ending the day with pleasurable reading. Michael Dirda is a writer and senior editor forWashington Post Book World. For three years he was a board member of the National Book Critics Circle. His essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications. In 1993 Dirda received the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism. [Use one of these excerpts from book] "Pleasures of a book reviewer: To open a new book tentatively, with indifference even, and to find oneself yet again in thrall--to a writer's prose, to a thriller's plot, to a thinker's mind. Let the whole wide world crumble, so long as I can read another page. And then another after that. And then a hundred more." "Book collecting is often a form of hero worship--or heroine worship (no one bows lower than I before the genius of Angela Carter, Colette and Agatha Christie, to mention only three high Cs). After a while, though, one yearns for more than first editions and scholarly sets of an author's complete works. Enthusiasm spreads, insidiously, into what one may call supplementary areas."
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An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.
Indiana University Press
An edition of this book was published by Indiana University Press.