Why do we read? Why do we re-read? Why do some novels live in the imagination and summon us back time and again? How do Wuthering Heights, The Lord of the Rings and Black Beauty continue to wield their spells? These are among some of the questions that shape the journeys undertaken in Second Readings.
From America to Ireland; Russia to Brazil; Germany to South Africa, Second Readings is a celebration of reading and breathes new life into well-known and long-forgotten novels. Isn't there a book you always go back to, or one that you always meant to read but have not got around to yet?
There are some surprising choices: Orwell's Coming Up For Air features, instead of 1984 or Animal Farm; or The Lord of the Rings but not Finnegan's Wake - although Ulysses is there. Yet this is literary appreciation without an agenda. And while there may be no Henry James, no Victor Hugo, no Flann O'Brien it is only a question of capacity as opposed to criticism.
Certainly, there will many discussions prompted by the variety and breadth of what has been included and there is plenty to attract the widest range of readers, with The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne; All Quiet on the Western Front; Wuthering Heights; A Confederacy of Dunces; The Great Gatsby; and The Picture of Dorian Gray among the 52 selections.
This collection by Eileen Battersby - one for every week of the year - is sure to be a very popular Christmas gift for every book-lover.
About the Author
Born in California, Eileen Battersby discovered reading at an early age. After graduating from a BA in English and History at University College Dublin and then an MA on the American writer Thomas Wolfe, she became involved in journalism, initially through sports writing and book reviews.
Eileen is an arts journalist with The Irish Times, where she is also the literary correspondent and has written on all aspect of the arts including classical music, the visual arts, cinema and theatre. She has won the National Arts Journalist of the Year Award four times.