Phyllis Rose
The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading

The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading


From the publisher: "Rose, after a career of reading from syllabuses and writing about canonical books, decided to read like an explorer. She "wanted to sample, more democratically, the actual ground of literature." Casting herself into the untracked wilderness of the New York Society Library's stacks, she chose a shelf of fiction almost at random and read her way through it. What results is a spirited experiment in 'Off-Road or Extreme Reading.' Rose's shelf of roughly thirty books has everything she could wish for—a remarkable variety of authors and a range of literary ambitions and styles. Stories of French Canadian farmers sit beside tales about aristocratic Austrians. California detective novels about a novel from an Afrikaans writer who fascinates Rose to the extent that she ends up watching a YouTube video of his funeral. A joyous testament to the thrill of engagement with books high and low, The Shelf leaves us with the feeling that there are treasures to be found on every library or bookstore shelf. Rose investigates her own discoveries with exuberance, candor, and while pondering the many questions her experiment raises and measuring her discoveries against her own inner shelf."

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