In her admired works of fiction, including the recent The Book That Matters Most, Ann Hood explores the transformative power of literature. Now, with warmth and honesty, Hood reveals the personal story behind these beloved novels.Growing up in a mill town in Rhode Island, in a household that didn't foster a love of literature, Hood discovered nonetheless the transformative power of books. She learned to channel her imagination, ambitions, and curiosity by devouring ever-growing stacks. In Morningstar, Hood recollects how The Bell Jar, Marjorie Morningstar, The Harrad Experiment, and The Outsiders influenced her teen psyche and introduced her to topics that could not be discussed at home: desire, fear, sexuality, and madness. Later, Johnny Got His Gun and The Grapes of Wrath dramatically influenced her political thinking, while the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings became headline news and classics such as Dr. Zhivago and Les Misérables stoked her ambitions to travel the world. With characteristic insight and charm, Hood showcases the ways in which books gave her life and can transform--even save--our own lives.
How to dream
How to become a writer
How to ask why
How to buy books
How to write a book
How to fall in love with language
How to be curious
How to have sex
How to see the world
How to run away.
"How does one learn to dream, to scheme, to aspire, to inquire? For best-selling novelist Hood (The Book That Matters Most, 2016), the answers to questions she had about herself and her life could always be found in the pages of a book. Whether it was a sense of how to fit in or how to stand out, how to protest injustice or how to support equality, Hood discovered inspiration in the lives of fictional characters, followed instructions revealed in scenes of novels, and felt emotionally validated by images revealed in lines of poetry. Hood knew early on that she wanted to be a writer at a time when such a career choice was widely disdained. Determined nonetheless, she found a way to make it happen and discerned guidance in everything from classic literature to pop and pulp fiction, from John Steinbeck to Erich Segal, Boris Pasternak to Sylvia Plath. Not many people could point with such specificity to books that have imparted valuable life lessons, and Hood shares beloved works with an affecting and inspiring reverence.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2017 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"As a child, novelist Hood (The Book That Matters Most) had an insatiable appetite for reading, a preoccupation disdained by her large, no-nonsense Italian family in 1960s Rhode Island. For Hood, as she lovingly recounts in this ode to the power of words, books were an escape from the dead-end mill town, West Warwick, where she lived. Books guided Hood through her outsider youth and helped her to define the "yearning" for something bigger that she knew wouldn't be found on West Warwick's small, ordinary streets. Louisa May Alcott's Little Women was the first book to transport Hood away from West Warwick; the next was Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar. Marjorie Morningstar brought Hood enormous pleasure because of its heft but also because Hood thought it was as if Wouk were writing about her family's immigrant story. Morningstar (and later Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar) captured what Hood was feeling but could not express or share: dissatisfaction, anxiety, sexual curiosity, and the aspiration to write for a living. In adulthood, books such as John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath taught Hood how to be a writer and Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago ignited her desire to travel. Hood has beautifully crafted a very convincing case for discovering literature and getting lost in the pages. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved