Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books

(Review notes written in 1998.) This is one of my personal books and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author deals with why we read and how, and her descriptions of the choices one makes between reading what we want and what we feel we should, reading at random and from a list, reading to learn, reading to escape (from our own voice and perception) are all fascinating and ring true for me. I especially liked her comments on power, as demonstrated by Sara in The Little Princess. She says, “Giving vent to every feeling may provide quick comfort, but true self-possession — keeping your own mind free, in the words of Mr. Cha himself, the Buddhist who set off these recollections –has more lasting rewards. As Sara knows, the power that must perpetually assert itself is no power at all. True power is confident, and has no need of display.”