A Pulitzer Prize–winning critic’s often surprising meditation on those places where life and books intersect and what might be learned from both
Once out of school, most of us read for pleasure.Yet there is another equally important, though often overlooked, reason that we read: to learn how to live. Though books have always been understood as life-teachers, the exact way in which they instruct, cajole, and convince remains a subject of some mystery. Drawing on sources as diverse as Dr. Seuss and Simone Weil, P. G. Wodehouse and Isaiah Berlin, Pulitzer prize–winning critic Michael Dirda shows how the wit, wisdom, and enchantment of the written word can inform and enrich nearly every aspect of life, from education and work to love and death.
Organized by significant life events and abounding with quotations from great writers and thinkers, Book by Book showcases Dirda’s considerable knowledge, which he wears lightly. Favoring showing rather than telling, Dirda draws the reader deeper into the classics, as well as lesser-known works of literature, history, and philosophy, always with an eye to what is relevant to how we might better understand our lives.