Once out of school, most people read for pleasure. But for some of us, there is an equally important reason that we read: to learn how to live. 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 informs and enriches nearly every aspect of life, from education and work to love and death. From essential works for children to the handful of masterpieces that every reader should have at his command, Dirda offers us an opinionated, personal, and idiosyncratic account of what—and how—to draw meaning from what we read.
Organized by significant life events and brimming with quotations from great writers and thinkers, Book by Book showcases Dirda's capacious love for and understanding of books. Through his suggested readings and brief essays he draws us deeper into the classics, as well as lesser-known works of literature, history, and philosophy, always with an eye to how we might better understand our lives.