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Book Title

Reading Life

Books for the Ages
Author 1
Sven Birkerts
In Reading Life, virtuoso critic and essayist Sven Birkerts examines what it means to return to resonant works of fiction—the books one thinks of "covetously, as private properties," the "personal signposts" of one's inner life. For Birkerts, these include The Catcher in the Rye, Humboldt's Gift, To the Lighthouse, Lolita. In essays on each of these important works, Birkerts reflects upon his first readings of them and what later encounters with them reveal about time, memory, the murmuring transistors of selfhood.

Praise for Sven Birkerts:

"To read Birkerts is to hear (and enjoy hearing) the voice of literary conscience."—Seamus Heaney

"Expansive and eclectic and laserous and lucid and impassioned and heartlessly smart. Birkerts is the most interesting and persuasive critic in the U.S. today."—David Foster Wallace

"Birkerts on reading fiction is like M.F.K. Fisher on eating or Norman Maclean on fly casting. He makes you want to go do it."—Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker

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A new, compelling collection of essays by Sven Birkerts, "one of America's most distinguished, eloquent servants of the poetry and fiction that matter."—Susan Sontag

About the Author

Sven  Birkerts
Credit: Mara Birkerts
Sven Birkerts is the author of Changing the Subject and nine previous books, including The Other Walk,The Gutenberg Elegies, The Art of Time in Memoir, and My Sky Blue Trades. He is the director of the Bennington Writing Seminars, and he edits the journal AGNI, which is based at Boston University. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts
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  • “Birkerts is a dedicated reader and a novelist’s best friend.”—Kirkus
  • “It is difficult to imagine anyone writing with greater passion and eloquence about the power of books to change our lives.”—Library Journal
  • “Weaving memoir with literary criticism, Reading Life feels like its own vicarious thrill.”Janet Pocorobba, Harvard Review
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