Wednesday 25 September 2019

Book Review: The Innocent Reader by Debra Adelaide (Non-Fiction/Essays)

Title: The Innocent Reader
Author: Debra Adelaide

Publication Date: 24 September 2019
ARC from Publisher


Books are impractical companions and housemates: they are heavy when you are travelling, and in the home take up a lot of space, are hard to keep clean, and harbour insects. It is not a matter of the physical book, it is the deep emotional connection that stretches back to my early years. Living without them is unimaginable.

These collected essays share a joyous and plaintive glimpse into the reading and writing life of novelist, editor and teacher of creative writing Debra Adelaide.

Every book I have read becomes part of me, and discarding any is like tearing out a page from my own life.

With immediate wit and intimacy, Adelaide explores what shapes us as readers, how books inform, console and broaden our senses of self, and the constant conversation of authors and readers with the rest of their libraries. Drawing from her experiences in the publishing industry, the academic world, her own life and the literary and critical communities, she paints a vibrant portrait of a life lived in and by books, perfect for any student, bibliophile, editor, or simple: reader.

The Innocent Reader was certainly an interesting read. In some of the essays, Adelaide's thoughts resonated closely to my own. There were things I found amusing and others with which I sympathised. The essays focusing on Adelaide's own writing fell a bit flat for me, but that may simply be because I have not read any of her work and thus had no point of reference for the discussion. However, I am sure many, if not all, readers, writers, and editors will find something to interest them in this volume. This is not a work I would return to again and again, but I did enjoy perusing it and getting a glimpse into the mind of a fellow reader and writer. 3.5 stars.

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