Recommendation: The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life
January 14, 2006
I just finished reading The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life, by Steve Leveen. It is indeed a little guide - I read it in about 2 1/2 hours, while taking extensive notes. But I think it's very high yield, and I recommend it to you if you would like to read more, or would like to get more out of what you do read. I think that it's worth the cover price for the quotes about books alone. For example:
- "Never force yourself to read a book that you do not enjoy. There are so many good books in the world that it is foolish to waste time on one that not give you pleasure". -- Atwood H. Townsend.
- "A library is a fueling station for your mind." -- Steve Leveen
- "I think it's an essential need of the human being to hear another human being tell them a story...it makes us feel there's somebody else here with us." -- George Guidall
Mr. Leveen is a strong believer in keeping lists of books that you have read (your Bookography), want to read (your List of Candidates) and own but haven't yet read (your Library of Candidates). I found this concept highly validating, as I have for the past couple of years maintained my lists of Read and Liked, Want to Read, and Have But Haven't Read (see my Book List website). I break mine down further by children's books vs. adult books. It's the same idea, though Steve Leveen has cooler names for his lists than I do. This book encouraged me to be even more detailed with my own lists, and also gave me some ideas for new lists. I'm currently brainstorming on "books that I expect to re-read regularly for the rest of my life." I'll keep you posted.
The The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life also includes discussion about how to process and remember more of what you read, the benefits of audiobooks, the pros and cons of bookclubs, and whether or not it's a good idea to write notes directly in the book that you're reading. All of these discussions come back again and again to two themes that are clearly important to the author. First, be active about what you choose to read, rather than haphazard, making the best choices that you can. Second, accept the fact that the list of best books to read for you will be unique, tied in to your own interests and experiences and attributes.
I personally would have liked to see the book talk more about raising children who love books, rather than focusing purely on adults, but I know that I'm just bringing my own biases to the table. I still enjoyed the book a lot, intend to implement some ideas from it myself, and recommend it to you.
This book was a Christmas gift to me from my Mom, which seems fitting, since she started me on my book loving life. Thanks Mom! -- Jen
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.