Reading can result in boredom or transcendence, rage or enthusiasm, depression or hilarity, empathy or contempt, depending on who you are and what the book is and how your life is shaping up at the moment you encounter it. ——-Wendy Lesser
To those of you who presume to understand why you always have a book in hand, prepare yourselves for a most exciting journey into the world of literature that requires a mental concentration, extraordinaire. Wendy Lesser, in a most articulate, intellectual style, dissects the components of a book and the authors thereof in a profound, exacting manner which encourages the reader to replicate the process. In so doing, partakers of this activity may also be left with the distinct perception that their previous understandings are found wanting and that there are many substantial readings they have yet to undertake. Ms. Lesser provides analytical examples that may be totally unfamiliar for some, underscoring the vastness of her literary experiences. This is a comprehensive critique of the world of books.
Within the introduction of each element discussed, the author poses questions pertinent to the subject and forces the reader to become a critical thinker from the outset. Is a character separate from the plot (and vice versa) or are they inextricably intertwined? Why does she suggest that Cervantes’s Don Quixote is such a magnificent example of literature in novel form? These are just two of the representations that support the quality of this book. In addition, her discussions of authority, grandeur and intimacy which are rooted in words are brought forth so that everyone walks away with an in-depth understanding that perhaps was never previously entertained. The desire to debate or explore her interpretations is overwhelming.
If you choose this chronicle, upon completion you will never look at a book the same way again. Ms. Lesser throws down the gauntlet and challenges the reader to never falter in discovering new vistas in the realm of books and to never cease the search for that special literary gift that might cause one to salivate. That is why we read.