Book by Book

Notes on Reading and Life

Michael Dirda

Henry Holt and Co.

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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.

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Preface
At Home in the World
 
Live-and-let-live over stand-or-die, high spirits over low, . . . love over charity, irreplaceable over interchangeable, divergence over concurrence, principle over interest, people over principle.
 
—Marvin Mudrick
 
Over the past fifty years I’ve spent a lot of time—some might say an inordinate amount of time—in the company of books. Storytelling has always enchanted me, and early on I found myself reading just about anything that came my way, from Green Lantern comics to the great classics of world literature.

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About the Author

Michael Dirda

Michael Dirda, a longtime staff writer for The Washington Post Book World, received the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. A popular lecturer and commencement speaker, he lives with his family in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Michael Dirda

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Available Formats and Book Details

Book by Book
Notes on Reading and Life
Michael Dirda

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
April 2007
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429900287
ISBN10: 1429900288
192 pages
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Henry Holt and Co.
Holt Paperbacks
May 2007
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780805083385
ISBN10: 0805083383
5 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches, 192 pages
$16.99
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Henry Holt and Co.

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