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Great literature is thrilling. It will feed your hungry mind and take your heart on a journey. It will help you on the wonderful path to one of life’s most elusive and hard-won freedoms, freedom from the ego.
Here is a book about the sheer joy of living, exploring forty texts that can enrich us in all manner of ways. Some are recent, such as Harry Potter; some ancient, such as Homer and Lao Tzu. There are memoirs (Nelson Mandela), poetry (Les Murray) and many of the world’s great novels, from George Eliot’s Middlemarch to Toni Morrison’s Beloved. This book uses them to muse upon life in all its glorious complexity.
Our guide, in entertaining short accounts of personal encounters with these works, is Michael McGirr: schoolteacher and father, reviewer of hundreds of books and lifelong lover of literature. His humour and insight shine through in essays that connect the texts he has selected with each other, and connect us to them.
This is the ideal companion for a keen reader—and it may just inspire someone you know to become one, too. Never prescriptive, and often very funny, Books that Saved My Life is an invitation to reflect on the extraordinary gift of reading. ‘It is a gift that is taking me a lifetime to unwrap,’ McGirr writes. ‘The excitement has never worn off.’
REVIEWS and INTERVIEWS