Join our celebration of the freedom to read during Banned Books Week with these works of nonfiction about books and reading.
Read Dangerously by Azar Nafisi
What is the role of literature in an era when the president wages war on writers and the press? What is the connection between political strife in our daily lives, and the way we meet our enemies on the page in fiction? How can literature, through its free exchange, affect politics?
In this galvanizing guide to resistance literature, Nafisi seeks to answer these questions. Drawing on her experiences as a woman and voracious reader living in the Islamic Republic of Iran, her life as an immigrant in the United States, and her role as literature professor in both countries, she crafts an argument for why, in a genuine democracy, we must engage with the enemy, and how literature can be a vehicle for doing so.
Structured as a series of letters to her father, Baba, who taught her as a child about how literature can rescue us in times of trauma, Nafisi explores the most probing questions of our time through the works of Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood, and more.
1,000 Books to Read Before You Die by James Mustich
Covering fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die ranges across cultures and through time to offer an eclectic collection of works that each deserve to come with the recommendation, You have to read this. But it’s not a proscriptive list of the “great works”—rather, it’s a celebration of the glorious mosaic that is our literary heritage.
Flip it open to any page and be transfixed by a fresh take on a very favorite book. Or come across a title you always meant to read and never got around to. Or, like browsing in the best kind of bookshop, stumble on a completely unknown author and work, and feel that tingle of discovery. There are classics, of course, and unexpected treasures, too. Lists to help pick and choose, like Offbeat Escapes, or A Long Climb, but What a View. And its alphabetical arrangement by author assures that surprises await on almost every turn of the page, with Cormac McCarthy and The Road next to Robert McCloskey and Make Way for Ducklings, Alice Walker next to Izaac Walton.
There are nuts and bolts, too—best editions to read, other books by the author, “if you like this, you’ll like that” recommendations , and an interesting endnote of adaptations where appropriate. Add it all up, and in fact there are more than six thousand titles by nearly four thousand authors mentioned—a life-changing list for a lifetime of reading.
Book Lust by Nancy Pearl
What to read next is every book lover’s greatest dilemma. Nancy Pearl comes to the rescue with this wide-ranging and fun guide to the best reading new and old. Pearl, who inspired legions of litterateurs with What If All (name the city) Read the Same Book, has devised reading lists that cater to every mood, occasion, and personality. These annotated lists cover such topics as mother-daughter relationships, science for nonscientists, mysteries of all stripes, African-American fiction from a female point of view, must-reads for kids, books on bicycling, chick-lit, and many more. Pearl’s enthusiasm and taste shine throughout.
How to Read A Book by Mortimer Jerome Adler
Originally published in 1940, this book is a rare phenomenon, a living classic that introduces and elucidates the various levels of reading and how to achieve them–from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading. Readers will learn when and how to judge a book by its cover, and also how to X-ray it, read critically, and extract the author’s message from the text. Also included is instruction in the different techniques that work best for reading particular genres, such as practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy and social science works. Finally, the authors offer a recommended reading list and supply reading tests you can use measure your own progress in reading skills, comprehension, and speed.
The Book of Books by Jessica Allen
What are America’s best-loved novels? PBS launch The Great American Read series with a 2-hour special in May 2018 revealing America’s 100 best-loved novels, determined by a rigorous national survey.
The Great American Read: The Book of Books presents all 100 novels with fascinating information about each book, author profiles, a snapshot of the novel’s social relevance, film or television adaptations, other books and writings by the author, and little-known facts. Also included are themed articles about banned books, the most influential book illustrators, reading recommendations, the best first-lines in literature, and more.
Beautifully designed with rare images of the original manuscripts, first-edition covers, rejection letters, and other ephemera, The Great American Read: The Book of Books is a must-have book for all booklovers.