Review published on January 6, 2018.
I’ve read a number of non-fiction titles this year about books and have enjoyed them all thoroughly. Will Schwalbe’s Books for Living is another non-fiction offering in this ilk and I must say it is perhaps my favourite. Schwalbe clearly knows and loves his books, and many readers will be familiar with his previous work: The End of Your Life Book Club. In this new title, Schwalbe considers a number of books that have had the greatest impact on him throughout his life and the lessons they have taught him. Covering a wealth of books and genres, everything from Stuart Little to 1984 to The Taste of Country Cooking, this is both an eye-opening and informative read. There were several titles that Schwalbe muses on that I had read myself but it is wonderful to see them through Schwalbe’s lens, not least because what he picks up from the books is often so valid and thought provoking. And then of course there were many titles that not only had I not read but not even heard of, but which unsurprisingly now find themselves added to my to-read list. And this is one of the joys of these sorts of books, that they give you so much more inspiration for your own reading. But what I loved most about Schwalbe’s book is the way that the books he has read have so clearly defined and shaped his character and beliefs in such positive and meaningful ways. It is a beautiful reminder of why books matter so much to humanity and their role in society and culture. There are lessons for everyone to take from Schwalbe’s meditations, and his introduction and epilogue alone provide much food for thought. Additionally, the book includes an appendix which lists the titles mentioned so that readers can discover plenty of other gems.
Jade Craddock 5/4
Books for Living by Will Schwalbe
Two Roads 9781444790801 pbk Jan 2018
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