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Readings; Essays and Literary Entertainments

Dirda, Michael

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ISBN 10: 0393324893 / ISBN 13: 9780393324891
Published by W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2003
Condition: Good Soft cover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

x, [2], 216 [8] pages. Frontis illustration. Cover has some wear and soiling. Signed by the author. on the title page. Michael Dirda (born 1948) is a book critic for the Washington Post. He has been a Fulbright Fellow and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1993. Having studied at Oberlin College for his undergraduate degree in 1970, Dirda took an M.A. in 1974 and Ph.D. in 1977 from Cornell University in comparative literature. In 1978 Dirda started writing for the Washington Post; in 1993 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his criticism. Currently, he is a book columnist for the Post. This volume collects Dirda's popular column published in the Washington Post Book World in the 1990s. Throughout, Dirda shares his passion for reading with humor, scholarship, and imagination. He's full of ideas about what to read next, and brings lively infatuation to the art of the book review. Derived from a Kirkus review: A delightful compendium of Dirda's most memorable Washington Post Book World essays revels in seven years' worth of bibliophilic passion. Although the 46 "literary entertainments" collected here range widely in topic and in tone, Dirda's hearty enthusiasm and good-natured bookishness stands at the forefront of his writing. From pulp fiction to serious literature, children's books to erotica, ghost stories to classics in translation, Dirda appears to have read more books-and to remember them in awe-inspiring detail-than most libraries contain. Many of the essays contain lists of little-known and forgotten novels with brief synopses of their contents, and these simple gifts leave one breathless with reverence for the man who read, recommended, and loved these countless titles. Dirda's erudition is obvious throughout. His response to required reading in high school and his hilarious suggestions to encourage children to read by forbidding them the classics reveal a man whose tongue may be firmly in his cheek but whose heart and mind never seem to stray from the joys of the printed word. The the joy of Dirda's opinions lies in letting the voice and wit of a true bibliophile into your head. First Paperback Edition [stated]. First Printing [stated]. Bookseller Inventory # 75309

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Readings; Essays and Literary Entertainments

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, New York

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Trade paperback

Illustrator: Susan Davis (Frontis Illustration)

Book Condition: Good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

"For some time now, the best book critic in America has been Michael Dirda."―Michael M. Thomas, New York Observer

Intimate, humorous, and insightful, Readings is a collection of classic essays and reviews by Michael Dirda, book critic of the Washington Post and winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. From a first reading of Beckett and Faulkner at the feet of an inspirational high-school English teacher to a meeting of the P. G. Wodehouse Society, from an obsession with Nabokov's Lolita to the discovery of the Japanese epic The Tale of Genji, these essays chronicle a lifetime of literary enjoyment.

Review:

If you have never happened upon Michael's Dirda's "Readings" column in the Washington Post Book World, yours is a sorry fate indeed. One never knows what one will find there, except that it will come filtered through the witty, unpretentious, voracious, book-besotted being that is Michael Dirda. In one column, Dirda introduces Guy Davenport, "the best literary essayist since Randall Jarrell and Cyril Connolly"; just as ardently, he reports elsewhere on a weekend convention of the P.G. Wodehouse Society. Another column finds Dirda spatting with his spouse over the preferred fate of his children's outgrown books (she says get rid of them; he hides them in the garage). Yet another column--several, actually--find him fondling and justifying the purchase of some first edition or another. Dirda writes about books he has (sort of) stolen, teachers who mattered, and an early 11th century Japanese novel (Murasaki Shikubu's The Tale of Genji). He even discusses his secret desire not to read so many books. "I sometimes think that a passion for omnivorous reading has seduced me into a lifetime of one-night stands," he says, "while the less promiscuous have managed to find a single true and more fulfilling love." For our sake, Mr. Dirda, keep up those love affairs--that passion is contagious. Those many Dirda enthusiasms, presented here in a collection of 46 "Readings" columns, will ignite fires aplenty in the curious reader's mind. --Jane Steinberg

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