Not a book to read from cover to cover, more a book to pick at every now and then.
The author has written essays about the books that have made an impression on him throughout his life, and have helped to enrich his life in some way.
“I confess that I think of a cookbook as something to read while you wait for the pizza to be delivered.”
“There was nothing great about the Great War. Its shadow still falls on us, even after one hundred years. It shook the ground under some of the most significant foundations of western culture and identity. What vocabulary could possibly describe such horrors? How could language deal with atrocities that lay beyond the realm of thought?”
“Sadly, history is full of armies that have gone to war confident that God is wearing their uniform.”
“This addiction to feeling good is a problem. Surely if we ask young people to experience something troubling, we should want them to feel troubled. The soul of education is being strangled by a monster called anxiety. Real education is all about risk. It is a risk, after all, to learn to read, because reading will inevitably bring ideas into your life that upset your apple cart.”Quotes from the book.
- Sydney Morning Herald: “McGirr’s life-saving books include those he read when lonely (Thomas Merton’s The Sign of Jonas); a story that comforted and distracted him when his father died (War and Peace – watched on TV when McGirr was seven); and poetry that did the same when his mother died (John Shaw Neilson’s Love’s Coming – and visiting the poet’s grave in Melbourne).”
- Readings: “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.”