Lynne Sharon Schwartz

Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books

“Reading was the stable backdrop against which my life was played.”

After a lifetime of reading books and even writing a few, Lynne Sharon Schwartz (b. 1939) revisits her decisions to spend so much time, energy, passion reading. Did it waste her time? Is she mindfully free, as she’s inundated by others’ thoughts?

In Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books Schwartz fingers qualities unique to an avid reader. For example, getting so deep into books we forget ourselves, the anxious fear of being interrupted, horror at tossing any book; and being distressed at how much is not remembered.

I’ve never felt compulsion to question my reading habit (who has time when there are books unread?), but were I to, I might approach it similarly: dissecting each decision – to read or not to read – and pad each with ample book references. Only to discover the pleasure of reading anew. We might be ruined by reading, but what would we be otherwise?