A champion of reading in the electronic age, Birkerts (Mount Holyoke College) combines selections from his four previous books with new essays to discuss authors ranging from Robert Musil to Don DeLillo and topics such as biography, the enigma of poetic inspiration, nostalgia, the modern sense of time, and the future of the creative spirit. The collection is not indexed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Readings combines the best of Sven Birkerts's previously published criticism with vital new essays. A dazzling writer whose clarity, rigor, and far-flung intellectual curiosity have been widely praised, Birkerts the literary critic is in top form in these pages. Whether discussing Elizabeth Bishop or Don DeLillo, Rilke or Kerouac, Keats or The Great Gatsby, he brings fresh insight, sharp thinking, and reflective sensitivity to each of his subjects.A brilliant cultural commentator, Birkerts also addresses broader, more associative topics, such as biography and the enigma of poetic inspiration, contemporary nostalgia, our modern sense of time, and the future of the creative spirit. As Jonathan Franzen wrote in The New Yorker, "Birkerts on reading fiction is like M.F.K. Fisher on eating or Norman Maclean on fly casting. He makes you want to go do it." This is writing about reading at its best.