A beautiful celebratory tribute to the powers of one of our most undervalued skills — an ideal gift for the avid reader.
‘What you are doing right now is, cosmically speaking, against the odds.’
As young children, we are taught to read, but soon go on to forget just how miraculous a process it is, this turning of scratches and dots into understanding, unease and inspiration. Perhaps we need to stop and remember, stop and learn again how to read better.
Damon Young shows us how to do exactly this, walking alongside some of the greatest readers who light a path for us — Borges, Plato, Woolf. Young reads passionately, selectively, surprisingly — from superhero noir to speculative realism, from Heidegger to Heinlein — and shows his reader how cultivating their inner critic can expand their own lives as well as the lives of those on the pages of the books they love.
‘[S]ometimes even I find myself in a bit of a slump and forget how wonderful it is that type on a page can conjure up vivid worlds. In The Art of Reading, Young shows us how to cultivate our inner critic and read better, while celebrating reading and readers.’
Sarah Shaffi, Stylist
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‘Attempts something like an ethical guide to literary life.’
‘Damon Young has written a neat little book … One of the key aims of The Art of Reading is to sharpen our interest in reading, and to train us to read more intelligently.’
The Mail on Sunday
‘An erudite and engaging enquiry into the transformative power of reading.’
Melissa Harrison, author of Rain
‘Damon Young’s The Art of Reading is a brilliant, wide-ranging exploration of the nature and value of reading, a serious philosopher’s serious game with literature. Witty and graceful it does what it sets out to do, to turn black text into an illuminated theatre of mind, heart and consciousness as it passes through the teasing virtues and vices of its main headings. By taking a few key texts and introducing them to each other Young expands into the vast universe of his and our remembered and potential reading.’
‘Damon Young’s purpose in this elegant volume is to demonstrate just what an extraordinary thing it is to be a reader — and how much power we have to be even better at it … [his] approach is omnivorous and inspiring.’
Sarah Ditum, In the Moment
'Reading about reading feels like it should be confusing, but Damon Young makes it both intriguing and insightful.’
Dean Burnett, author of The Idiot Brain
‘A beautifully written and thoughtfully constructed ode to the inner worlds opened up by the page, and the role of reading in the discovery and development of the self. The Art of Reading is just what I needed to remind me I am neither alone — nor irrational — in my bibliophilia.‘
‘Bibliophiles will relish Damon Young’s The Art of Reading, a hypnotic, erudite and riveting analysis of why we lose and find ourselves in the pages of books … A rare joy, a company of pages to cherish for a long time.’
'This literary study is serious but also witty and fun—a tough balance to strike, but Young nails it.'
‘The Art of Reading is not just another bibliomemoir; it is also a manifesto of sorts … [Young’s] ambitious goal is to re-enchant an activity which, “cosmically speaking”, is very much “against the odds”.’
The Irish Times