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Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books (Vintage)

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Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books (Vintage) Cover

ISBN13: 9780375709036
ISBN10: 0375709037
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

As book reviewer for NPR’s Fresh Air and contributor to many publications, Maureen Corrigan literally reads for a living. For as long as she can remember, books have been at the center of her life, a never-failing source of astonishment, hard truths, new horizons, and welcome companionship. Now Corrigan has added a volume of her own to the shelf of classics, by reading her life of reading with all the attention to complexity, wit, and intelligence that any good book–or life–deserves.

Part memoir, part coming-of-age story, and part reflection on favorite and influential books, Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading views the world through an open book. From her unpretentious girlhood in the working-class neighborhood of Sunnyside, Queens, to her bemused years in an Ivy League Ph.D. program, from the whirl of falling in love and marrying (a fellow bookworm, of course), to the ordeal of adopting a baby overseas, Corrigan has always had a book at her side.

We read this life in reverse as Corrigan begins the book as a “professional reader” always conscious of the many people, like her own mother, who don’t “get” the power of reading, and we end up as a fly on the wall of this only child in Queens, transported to exciting yet threatening worlds beyond her small apartment, a block from the #7 subway.

Corrigan’s references range from Richard Wright to Philip Roth to Chekhov, but certain themes emerge. Corrigan subverts the classic “man conquers mountain or ocean or battlefield” genre by juxtaposing it with what she calls “female extreme adventure novels”–books such as Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, the Collected Poems of Stevie Smith, and Anna Quindlen’s Black and Blue, which feature women quietly fighting for their lives.

Hard-boiled detective stories that cloak social criticisms of work and family beneath their protagonist’s trench coat–-Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers, Sara Paretsky’s mysteries–are another abiding passion. More surprising, and perhaps more revealing, is her taste for tales of Catholic martyrs and secular saints, a holdover from her days in parochial school that left an indelible impression.

Moving from page to life and back again, Corrigan writes ultimately of fashioning a complicated, sometimes contradictory self out of her class background, her classroom teaching, and her own classics of literature; a list of favorite books is also included. In Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading, Maureen Corrigan invites us to accompany her on the journey of a lifetime.

From the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis:

One of the country's most popular book lovers wryly recounts the stories and authors that have shaped her life, from the classics of English literature to the hard-boiled detective novel--and every page in between.

Synopsis:

“Its not that I dont like people,” writes Maureen Corrigan in her introduction to Leave Me Alone, Im Reading. “Its just that there always comes a moment when Im in the company of others—even my nearest and dearest—when Id rather be reading a book.” In this delightful memoir, Corrigan reveals which books and authors have shaped her own life—from classic works of English literature to hard-boiled detective novels, and everything in between. And in her explorations of the heroes and heroines throughout literary history, Corrigans love for a good story shines.

About the Author

Maureen Corrigan is the book critic for NPRs Fresh Air. Her reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, The Nation, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, and other publications. Winner of an Edgar Award for criticism, Corrigan also regularly writes a mystery column for The Washington Post and teaches literature at Georgetown University. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and daughter, both avid readers.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Bonnie Palmer, March 28, 2008 (view all comments by Bonnie Palmer)
Maureen Corrigan’s careful readings of whatever books she has been able to get her hands on throughout her life have obviously stimulated her own writing and critiquing abilities, making her an excellent author of her own story as well as a terrific book critic. But what really comes through in this memoir is how reading is a skill that can be practiced and honed, just as learning a musical instrument or playing a sport can, and that Corrigan is a master at it. Though I am fairly literate and have a master’s degree in history, I feel like a novice reader compared to Corrigan; but she also inspires me to want to read more, read better, and eventually scale my own reading versions of Mount Everest, whatever they may be.
This was an highly enjoyable book from which I gleaned many recommendations for future reading. I particularly liked the section on detective fiction that analyzed its value as literature about work, which Corrigan wishes there were more of – and I agree!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375709036
Author:
Corrigan, Maureen
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
Books and reading
Subject:
Books and reading -- United States.
Subject:
Corrigan, Maureen - Books and reading
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Subject:
memoir;books about books;non-fiction;essays;literary criticism;literature;biography;adoption;bibliophilia
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20070131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
7.96x5.28x.62 in. .56 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Metaphysics » Magic Witchcraft and Paganism
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Reference » Books on Books
Reference » Reading

Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books (Vintage) Used Trade Paper
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$9.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375709036 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , One of the country's most popular book lovers wryly recounts the stories and authors that have shaped her life, from the classics of English literature to the hard-boiled detective novel--and every page in between.

"Synopsis" by , “Its not that I dont like people,” writes Maureen Corrigan in her introduction to Leave Me Alone, Im Reading. “Its just that there always comes a moment when Im in the company of others—even my nearest and dearest—when Id rather be reading a book.” In this delightful memoir, Corrigan reveals which books and authors have shaped her own life—from classic works of English literature to hard-boiled detective novels, and everything in between. And in her explorations of the heroes and heroines throughout literary history, Corrigans love for a good story shines.
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