Fearless Reader

Helpful votes received on reviews: 65% (102 of 156)



Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,329,905 - Total Helpful Votes: 102 of 156
Negotiating With The Dead: A Writer on Writing by Margaret Atwood
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
This book was like finding treasure. My own copy is dogeared and underlined; how many times have I read her passage about Brown Owl, the original reader of her young career, as a reminder that it is knowing exactly who your own ideal reader is and none other that directs the inner voice successfully onto the page? I've read many times her examination of the process of digging into the subconscious, the transition where the writer is no longer herself, but someone permitting herself to plunder, commit larceny, explore the truth all around. She reminds us of Keats' advice to ensure our books have the "negative capability" for the reader to enter, she explores the strange duality of the… Read more
Flaubert's Parrot (Picador thirty) by Julian Barnes
3 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Having written a comic novel in which I resuscitate Voltaire to see how he'd like Switzerland in the 21st century, ("A Visit from Voltaire") I can't resist reading books that play with form to retrieve writers of the past, even to the extent that the authors deconstruct or reconfigure the admired writer in personal terms, e.g. Alain de Botton's "Why We Read Proust," as well as this one. In the Proust book, de Botton presents the relevance of Proust's experiences both real and literary in straightforward essays, (almost classroom lectures,) while Barnes' approach is more oblique, original, and playful. He flits from style to style, voice to voice, ranging from the three variations on a… Read more
How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton
How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton
19 of 41 people found the following review helpful
I only learned of this book after I had started the second draft of my comic novel, "A Visit from Voltaire," but was fascinated to see the same idea--of learning lessons in life from the Greats of the past--brought to the page in a completely different and much more academic way. The author can sometimes verge on the professorial in tone, and theoretical in his approach, but this makes the outline and message of his book very readable. I always enjoy de Botton, especially his perceptions on the vagaries of love. Buy The Romantic Movement for a more intimate version of this interesting mind.
Dinah Lee Küng, "A Visit From Voltaire," "Under Their Skin"