Finding and Losing Myself in Books by Maureen Corrigan (Read July 2006)
Myke gave me this book for no other reason than he thought I would enjoy it. Isn't that sweet. And I did enjoy it. Corrigan is an avid reader and the book is mostly biographical - dealing with how books helped her make connections with thought and experience throughout her life, as in this quote: ". . . sometimes even a few good sentences contained in an otherwise unexceptional book can crystallize vague feelings, fleeting phsical sensations, or, sometimes, profound epiphanies."
I adored the first chapter, 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough: Womane's Extreme-Adventure Books'. As a college literature teacher, Corrigan brought back to memory two of my favorite books: Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. One of my favorite quotes comes at the end of this chapeter. Corrigan is talking about the extreme adventure of her grandmother who got on a boat alone, left her mother, an unspecified number of brothers, and one sister and sailed to America. "She was one of the hundreds of thousands of immigrant women, from the end of the last century to the present, who began working the instant they arrived in this country and, thus, never learned how to read. The distance that stretches between the world she knew and mine - filled with books - is so vast that to me it's like Grandma Helen's first glimpse of the New York skyline. Incomprehensible."
I liked her praise for mysteries. She says that it was in mystery/crime books that she discovered the work ethic in literature. I will be adding Dashiell Hammett's Maltese Falcon to my 'to-be-read' list.
One chapter 'Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition: What Catholic Marty Stories Taught Me About Getting to Heave - and Getting Even' provided a lot of insight into her growing up years as a Catholic. She is now married to a Jew and they have adopted a Chinese daughter.
Included at the back are 4 pages with Corrigan's book recommendations. That's exciting, but there are many that are not on my list. Dilemma: do I add them or ignore them? I rate this book 4 out of 5.