Books That Saved My Life

Books That Saved My Life : Reading for Wisdom, Solace and Pleasure

3.9 (30 ratings by Goodreads)
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Here are forty texts to read at some stage in your life- forty texts that can enrich you in all manner of ways. Some are recent, like Harry Potter; some ancient, like Homer and Lao Tzu. There are memoirs (Nelson Mandela), poetry (Les Murray) and many of the world's great novels, from George Eliot's Middlemarch to Toni Morrison's Beloved.

Our guide, in entertaining short essays about personal encounters with each of these works, is Michael McGirr- schoolteacher and former priest, reviewer of hundreds of novels and lifelong lover of literature. His humour and insight shine through in stories that connect the texts he has selected with each other, and connect us to them.

Never prescriptive, and often very funny, this book is an invitation to reflect on-and share with others-the extraordinary gift of reading. 'It is a gift that is taking me a lifetime to unwrap,' McGirr writes. 'The excitement has never worn off.'
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 145 x 217 x 29mm | 451g
  • The Text Publishing Company
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • English
  • 1925773140
  • 9781925773149
  • 16,154

Review quote

`[McGirr's] clever wit and intellect shines through...fabulous stuff.' * Good Reading * `[A] gentle, joyful take on a roll call of authors from Joseph Conrad, Charlotte Bronte and Shakespeare to Nelson Mandela and J. K. Rowling.' * Courier Mail * `From the first essay, McGirr's book feels like that of a man happy to have had the most wholesome of prayers answered: for a loving family, a happy home, satisfying work and travel. It is difficult...not to find the gratitude a little infectious...McGirr's essays are often like good sermons, with their small bits of wisdom expressed simply...Other essays are more playful.' * Age * `A fine, pared-down elegance...takes us to the heart of his sometimes complex meanings...I love the modesty of this book, its honesty and lack of pretension...Subtle, humble, wry and courteous...The moment of illumination often comes quietly or humorously, or stealthily towards the end of the essay, leaving the reader with a surprisingly powerful choke of emotion or with a laugh. It's a deeply personal collection that calls on a formidable line-up of authors...There are so many gems in this collection.' * Australian * `Readers will come for the humour, but they'll stay for McGirr's haunting memories...brimming with lyrical insight and earthy humour, this debut is a rare treat.' * Publishers Weekly on Things You Get For Free * `McGirr is an inspired synthesiser, serious in intent even while riotous in execution.' * Eureka Street on Snooze: The Lost Art of Sleep * `Books that Saved My Life captivated my immediate interest...[It] roams widely across genres...This is not a prescriptive book, instead one where McGirr shares tales of connection.' * Big Issue * `His anecdotes will make you laugh out loud. If you haven't read any books by him before, seek them out.' * Good Reading * `For those of us similarly saved by, shaped by, the books we have loved, McGirr's beautiful essays will be deeply fortifying. The sensibility that ties them all together is both edifying and intimate; this, too, is a book that will save.' * Sarah Krasnostein, author of The Trauma Cleaner *
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About Michael McGirr

Michael McGirr is the bestselling author of Snooze- The Lost Art of Sleep, Things You Get for Free and Bypass. He has reviewed almost one thousand books for various newspapers; his short fiction has appeared in Australian and overseas publications; and he has been a publisher of Eureka Street and fiction editor at Meanjin. He teaches at St Kevin's College in Melbourne.
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Rating details

30 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 37% (11)
4 37% (11)
3 13% (4)
2 7% (2)
1 7% (2)
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