The Books That Mattered

The Books That Mattered : A Readeras Memoir

3.86 (44 ratings by Goodreads)
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Frye Gaillard's first encounters with books were disappointing. As a child he never cared much for fairy tales - "stories of cannibalism and mayhem in which giants and witches, tigers and wolves did their best to eat small children." But at the age of nine, he discovered Johnny Tremain, a children's novel of the Revolutionary War, which began a lifetime love affair with books, recounted here as a reader's tribute to the writings that enriched and altered his life. In a series of carefully crafted, often deeply personal essays, Gaillard blends memoir, history and critical analysis to explore the works of Harper Lee, Anne Frank, James Baldwin, Robert Penn Warren, John Steinbeck, and many others. As this heartfelt reminiscence makes clear, the books that chose Frye Gaillard shaped him like an extended family. Reading The Books that Mattered: A Reader's Memoir will make you study your own shelves to find clues into your own literary heart.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 206 pages
  • 162.56 x 205.74 x 25.4mm | 430.91g
  • Montgomery, Albania
  • English
  • 1588382877
  • 9781588382870
  • 2,618,745

Review quote

"Frye Gaillard gives us a treat. Many books celebrate the collecting and possession of books, but few describe the first experience of reading one at just the right time to change our lives. The Books That Mattered will renew similar memories in every reader." --Dr. Wayne Flynt, author of Keeping the Faith
"In this era when a deep immersion in books is too-often viewed as unimportant, Frye Gaillard has given us a powerful reminder that literature can enrich, even dramatically change, the course of our lives. The Books That Mattered deserves a wide and appreciative audience." --Ron Rash, author of Serena: A Novel
"Written with warmth, a scholar's attention to detail and genuine insight, The Books That Mattered is a gift to readers everywhere--an engrossing personal history mapped, like stones across a river, in the books that shaped its author's life. A reminder of why reading matters to us all." --Michael Knight, author of The Typist
"Frye Gaillard draws inspiration from an intriguing array of writers -- from Richard Wright and Lillian Smith to Clyde Edgerton and Sena Jeter Naslund -- and some of his essays are as smart as the books that influenced him." --Curtis Wilkie, author of The Fall of the House of Zeus
"Frye Gaillard's The Books That Mattered not only evokes that wonder for the written word, but tackles the more difficult question of why the ethical and intellectual dimension in novels, essays and stories matter. Though most of us know intimately the shadowed self of our own experience, it is often through reading that we come to understand the doubt and sorrow of others and to recognize the heroic struggle of those trapped by injustice. [Gaillard's book] is beautifully rendered and wisely conceived; it gives insight as both memoir and literary guide." --Patricia Foster, author of All the Lost Girls and Girl from Soldier Creek
"In his latest work, Gaillard pays homage to the many writers who came before him. Though subtitled "A Reader's Memoir," it's more than that. A mix of biography, autobiography and literary criticism, the result is a heartfelt love letter to literature. Wavering precariously on the border between critic and bibliophile, Gaillard bucks both roles by combining them, bringing with him a lifetime spent buried in books. While each chapter explores a particular theme -- race, region, reportage, etc. -- his conclusions come not from his own experiences, but the experience of reading others' work through a historical lens. An exuberantly written account of one writer's leap toward understanding life's intersection with literature." --Kirkus Reviews
"Frye Gaillard's The Books That Mattered is one to join the ranks of those mentioned within. Combining personal and literary memories, he carves out his own landscape as a reader. The result is entertaining and enlightening. This book will inspire you to reach for old favorites as well as those you have missed along the way." --Jill McCorkle, author of Going Away Shoes and Carolina Moon
"Frye Gaillard doesn't simply read books; he inhabits them. The Books That Mattered is a fascinating, well-written book that keeps on giving." --Faye Jones, Chapter 16, Humanities Tennessee
"Frye Gaillard's latest contribution to the writerly world is a tidy volume of essays that celebrate the influence of books on his life. Reading about the books that made an impact on Gaillard gives a tremendous amount of insight into his writings." --Scotty Kirkland, Mobile Press-Register
"In sharing the books that have impacted him the most, Gaillard exposes his reader's soul. His personal connections to the literature he's read are laid bare for all to see, and through Gaillard's revelations, we are reminded just how powerful the written word can be.Truly an outstanding piece of nonfiction, Frye Gaillard's The Books That Mattered should be on everyone's reading list." --Montgomery Advertiser
"Reporter and author Frye Gaillard was one of the rare voices of reason in the South during the social upheaval that followed the outlawing of segregation. This thoughtful work shows where most of his ideas and inspiration got started." --Don McKinney, Island Packet
"This wonderful memoir sets a thoughtful tone as expected of a writer with extensive and important real-world journalistic experience and a bibliography near arm's length. The Books That Mattered: A Reader's Memoir is a voyage into books that have seen the test of time, some more than others, but all rating a space on the shelf. Gaillard is an admirable tour guide." --Mike Odom, The Fairhope Courier
"In The Books That Mattered: A Reader's Memoir, (Gaillard) meditates on his favorite books and authors. . . Now loaded with honors and comfortably ensconced as writer-in-residence at the University of South Alabama, Gaillard shares his eventful personal history and experience with a new generation." --John Sledge, The Mobile Bay Monthly
"Beautifully written ... highly recommended." --Fred Kasten, host and producer of WWNO's The Sound of Books
"Wonderful ... After reading The Books That Mattered I felt like compiling my own list." --Ann Marie Martin, The Huntsville Times
"The Books That Mattered is an individualized account of books that affected one accomplished writer. . . .there is something charming about this book. Perhaps it's the sensitivity with which Gaillard recounts his gradual coming to terms with his home. Or perhaps it's the dogged reassurance that books do matter, that they can instruct us if we endeavor, as we must, to put them into revealing contexts while expanding our own contexts. Or perhaps it's simply the joy that comes with getting to know someone, which is what you've done by the time you've finished The Books That Mattered." --Southern Literary Review
"Frye Gaillard, author of some twenty volumes and winner of both the Lillian Smith Award and the Clarence Cason Award writes here with insight and feeling about the books that mattered." --Don Noble, Alabama Writers' Forum
"In writing compellingly about some of his favorite books and authors, the ones that moved and shaped him, Gaillard has produced another book that matters. It makes you want to dissect your life the way you did that frog in 10th-grade biology, looking for the guts and backbone of your beliefs and morals and philosophical leanings." --Rheta Grimsley Johnson
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Rating details

44 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 23% (10)
4 52% (23)
3 16% (7)
2 7% (3)
1 2% (1)
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