Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers by Sally Allen
Published by: Griffins Wharf Productions
Published: November 2015
Trade paperback, 225 pages
Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don't just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own.
In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately - and compassionately - can unlock the world beyond our back yard. Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection.
Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can't leave the house without a book in hand.
Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski
I thoroughly enjoyed this book about books, probably because I have read many of the books referred to by the author, having the same reactions and having come to similar conclusions about them! I too have often chosen books on their looks and/or title before knowing anything about them apart from the description on the back cover. Thus I can wholeheartedly agree with "the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection." There is something about the smell and feel of books, the anticipation of entering another world that connects book lovers, too. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle loved "that faint, subtle reek which comes from an ancient book." We're in good company!
I like the literary captions that preface each chapter, ranging in scope from Rainer Maria Rilke to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I like the suggestions made near the end of the book to record one's thoughts about a book, including where and when it was read, whether it was in hardcover, paper or e-book, favorite lines and quotes, and intellectual or emotional experiences while reading it. Time has a way of losing track of these things. The extensive bibliography and suggestions for books not yet read are useful.
My favorite quote from the author is "....a conversation that may have begun in a single book one or two hundred years ago is picked up, extended, and continued across time and culture, illuminating what endures." (Think Jane Austen, for example.)
This is a very well-written, thoughtful, eloquent book that is at the same time witty and humorous. In short, a must-read for book lovers of all sorts. I highly recommend it.
Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter
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Disclosure from Sandra Olshaski: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.