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For the Love of Books: 115 Celebrated Writers on the Books They Love Most

Shwartz, Ronald R., Editor

113 ratings by GoodReads
ISBN 10: 0399144668 / ISBN 13: 9780399144660
Published by Putnam Pub Group, E Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S.A., 1999
Used Condition: Fine Hard Cover
From Kennedy Books (Jamestown, ND, U.S.A.)

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Fine/Fine unread copy protected by Archival Brodart Cover Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 001253

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Bibliographic Details

Title: For the Love of Books: 115 Celebrated ...

Publisher: Putnam Pub Group, E Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


For this ultimate book lover's guide, more than one hundred distinguished writers share their personal thoughts in response to the question: what books have left the greatest impression on you and why? The result is not a contrived list of Western civilization's "Great Books," but a heartfelt commentary on works that these lifelong readers most admire.

"For anybody with a passion for books, this is certainly the most entertaining literary companion...quite irresistible." -- Washington Post Book World

"Luxuriate in the memories of intellectual awakening...a memory book of fond epiphanies." -- Kirkus Reviews

"If you're a book lover, this is pretty irresistible stuff." -- Chicago Sun-Times

"The authors offer surprisingly intimate glimpses of themselves." -- The Miami Herald

"Gorgeously written paeans." -- The Improper Bostonian

Contributors include
Diane Ackerman
Russell Banks
Dave Barry
Ann Beattie
Robert Bly
Rita Mae Brown
Art Buchwald
Christopher Buckley
Bruce Jay Friedman
Nadine Gordimer
Doris Grumbach
Pete Hamill
John Irving
Tracy Kidder
W.P. Kinsella
David Leavitt
Elmore Leonard
Doris Lessing
Norman Mailer
James McBride
Elizabeth McCracken
Thomas McGuane
Arthur Miller
Sue Miller
Peggy Noonan
Joyce Carol Oates
Michael Ondaatje
P.J. O'Rourke
Amos Oz
Cynthia Ozick
Grace Paley
Robert B. Parker
Marge Piercy
Reynolds Price
James Purdy Mario Puzo
Anna Quindlen
Carol Shields
Neil Simon
Oliver Stone
William Styron
Gay Talese
John Updike
Kurt Vonnegut
Wendy Wasserstein
Tobias Wolff
Herman Wouk
and others


William Faulkner. Great Expectations. Marcel Proust. Moby Dick. Mark Twain. War and Peace. Virginia Woolf. Ulysses. Ernest Hemingway. They all show up repeatedly in For the Love of Books, for which each of 115 writers was asked to discuss the three to six books that influenced him or her the most. But the Hardy Boys are here, too, and Archie comics, as well as the Bobbsey Twins and Harold and the Purple Crayon. We are most susceptible to the impact of literature when we are in our 20s and younger, it seems, and several of the authors included here focus their attention on those early influences--how well they hold up over time.

Many of the book's contributors liken relationships with treasured books to those with loved ones. Some of Louis Begley's favorites (The Divine Comedy, Remembrance of Things Past), "like my children, are always on my mind." Mona Simpson warns that "we fall in with books the way we fall in with friends, irrationally, often permanently, not always wisely." The reading of some books, adds Guy Davenport, can even forge friendships: "A friendship lasting thirty years," he says, "began with the discovery at a dull luncheon that we had both read Hugh Miller."

Narrowing down one's favorite books to a mere half-dozen would daunt any reader, but it must be particularly arduous for those who eat and breathe books. While D.M. Thomas believes that "there are just a few books that, once you've read them, flow in your bloodstream," Neil Simon complains that "pin[ning] down the three or even six books that have left the greatest impression on me ... denies the four or five hundred great books that have imperceptibly changed my outlook on life." Some writers, says David Leavitt, "one thinks of as great but cannot love"; others "one loves but cannot think of as great." What a great pleasure it is to see the great and the not great, the humbling and the inspiring, gathered under one literary roof. And what a terrific task it would be to follow all the tendrils growing and shooting off toward so many sources of light, each a promise from a renowned contemporary writer that some kind of delicious reading can be found there. --Jane Steinberg

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