Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading


Product Details

$18.00  $16.74
Farrar, Strauss & Giroux-3pl
Publish Date
5.2 X 7.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Phyllis Rose's many books include A Woman of Letters, a biography of Virginia Woolf that was a finalist for the 1979 National Book Award; Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages; Jazz Cleopatra: Josephine Baker in Her Time; and The Year of Reading Proust: A Memoir in Real Time. She divides her time between Key West and New York City.


"Simple but radical." --Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune

"Rose is consistently generous, knowledgeable, and chatty, with a knack for connecting specific incidents to large social trends." --Christine Smallwood, The New Yorker

"Immensely appealing . . . In encouraging us to be more independent thinkers, less swayed by convention and the critical consensus, more empathetic and open-minded, her book teaches us much about how to approach life as it does about how to read books . . . Irresistible." --Priscilla Gilman, Boston Globe

"Readers of 'The Shelf' will feel befriended." --John Williams, The New York Times

"It's thrilling to see, in The Shelf, the happenstance and whimsy that sprang from a random grab bag of books. And the vastness of possibility those books (good or bad) possess is a terrific match for the vastness of Rose's intelligence, which swerves from scholarly to oddball, and from sophisticated to fun." --Diane Mehta, Bookforum

"A seasoned, open-minded, and passionate reader, inquisitive thinker, and delectably lucid and witty writer, Rose rallies readers to affirm our love of literature and libraries." --Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

"If the world's greatest librarian held hands with the greatest English teacher you ever had and they led you into the middle of the Forest of Literature, Phyllis Rose's The Shelf would be right there, waiting for you. The Shelf is an exceptional, goofy, erudite, deeply thoughtful, and completely enchanting foray into the world of books. As Grace Paley said in another context, you'll learn something." --Amy Bloom, author of Away

"Phyllis Rose calls her irresistibly charming journey through the LEQ-LES shelf an experiment in Off-Road Reading. But the lesson I drew from it was that no matter what bookish road you take, whether it's a superhighway or a bumpy track that requires the literary equivalent of four-wheel drive, you're bound to enjoy the scenery if you're as interesting a reader as Rose." --Anne Fadiman, author of Ex Libris and At Large and At Small

"In her brilliant and original The Shelf, Phyllis Rose proves how much you can learn about yourself and the world just by reading any book you come across and thinking seriously about it." --Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Foreign Affairs

"The Shelf is a surprising and wonderful book--a magnificent treat!" --Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series

"It's always a pleasure to read Phyllis Rose. She ignites our imagination with her own intellectual curiosity, encouraging us to read widely and take chances." --Judy Blume, author of Summer Sisters

"Exhilarating, adventurous, original--Phyllis Rose's The Shelf is a reminder of what reading and writing are all about." --Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran