NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Friday, November 20, 2009


edited by Toni Morrison

"Published in conjunction with the PEN American Center, Burn This Book is a powerful collection of essays that explore the meaning of censorship and the power of literature to inform the way we see the world, and ourselves." (From the book jacket.)

Burn This Book: PEN Writers Speak Out on the Power of the Word makes a person very happy to be living in a country where we can write and read pretty much as we please, where we can question ourselves and our institutions. We forget that there are too many places in the world where this is not true.

This is an extremely thin volume, clocking in at just over 100 pages, but there is a lot to fire some deep introspection. One of my favorite essays included a portion that said, and I paraphrase here, writers often do not write to deliver a message to readers but to attempt to find answers to their own questions. Readers come along for the ride. That interesting spin made me think of books that didn't feel "complete" to me. Perhaps the questions raised in those stories were the point, and I had been looking for answers where there were none. I potentially missed out on some great personal meditation. More important than revisiting some of those titles is keeping this lesson in mind as I go forward with more difficult or intimidating reading in the coming year.

It is small discoveries like this that enrich my relationship with my book choices and make "books about books" such a joy for me to read!


A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Ooh, this sounds excellent! Thanks for highlighting this book here. I'll have to see if my library has it. Or maybe just order it for myself. (I'm also a huge 'books about books' nerd.)

Lezlie said...

Bookshelf Monstrosity ~ The Essay Challenge is what really brought some of these kinds of books to my attention. Just another reason to love those challenges. :-) I hope you get a hold of this book. It's a good one!


JoAnn said...

This is already on my wish list. Also wanted to tell you that I'm just loving my latest Teaching Company lectures on The Art of Reading. Have listened to the first 5 or 6, and think this may be the best course yet! Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention.

Lezlie said...

JoAnn ~ I'm so glad you're enjoying it! Isn't the instructor great?? I emailed him once I finished the course, and he even emailed back, which I thought was very cool. I hope you take as much from the course as we did. My reading has not been the same since, and I mean that in the very best way!


Andi said...

You're killin' me! Another book I think I'm going to have to have. Love Morrison, love essays, and love food for thought. Great combo. I have a B&N card burning a hole in my pocket, or maybe my library has this one. *crossing fingers*

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ There is some really great stuff in here, angles I never thought to consider. I hope you get a hold of a copy!


Rebecca Reid said...

Sounds really good!

Lezlie said...

Rebecca ~ I think you would enjoy the essays in here a lot.