Summer 2006 • Vol. XXVIII No. 3 Book Reviews |

The Casual Reader

Some say life is the thing, but I prefer reading.—Ruth Rendell I have never read War and Peace. Nor have I read The Magic Mountain, James Frey's now-infamous A Million Little Pieces, Gilgamesh, Memoirs of a Geisha, or anything written by James Fenimore Cooper. There are huge gaps in my reading landscape, gaps I sometimes (but not often) feel guilty about. In moments of happiness, or in times of despair, I like to return to my old standbys instead of trying something new—Cheever's stories, E.F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia tales, Sherlock Holmes, Boswell's endlessly wonderful biography of Samuel Johnson, everything by William Maxwell. Meanwhile, the books pile up at home. By the sofa, next to the armchair, stacked under the bedside reading table, vast numbers of books await their turn to be noticed, picked up, tossed aside, or devoured. In this regard I suspect I am much like any other reader of The Kenyon Review: like Jefferson I need books to live, but finding the right one

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André Bernard is vice president and secretary of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The author of four books, he also compiles “Commonplace Book” for the American Scholar.

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The Casual Reader

By André Bernard

Some say life is the thing, but I prefer reading.—Ruth Rendell I have never read War and Peace. Nor have I read The Magic Mountain, James Frey's now-infamous A Million […]

The Casual Reader

By André Bernard

Some say life is the thing, but I prefer reading.—Ruth Rendell I have never read War and Peace. Nor have I read The Magic Mountain, James Frey's now-infamous A Million […]

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