The Pleasure of Reading

The Pleasure of Reading


In this delightful collection forty-three acclaimed writers explain what first made them interested in literature, what inspired them to read and what makes them continue to do so. First published in 1992 in hardback only, original contributors include Margaret Atwood, J. G. Ballard, Melvyn Bragg, A. S. Byatt, Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Gray, Germaine Greer, Alan Hollinghurst, Doris Lessing, Candia McWilliam, Edna O'Brien, Ruth Rendell, Tom Stoppard, Sue Townsend and Jeanette Winterson. The new edition will include essays from five new writers, Emily Berry, Kamila Shamsie, Rory Stewart, Katie Waldegrave and Tom Wells.

Our Review

The Pleasure of Reading edited by Antonia Fraser is not a book for everyone, after all who but a bookworm wants to read a book about books? Also, if you are a true bookworm you don’t need a book to describe the pleasures of reading to you because you already know them and if you aren’t a bookworm you probably won’t want to read it in the first place.

On the other hand, if haven’t yet found a book you love this could help you to find one as the author’s contained within the book discuss their top ten books.

This edition of The Pleasure of Reading was a reprint for a charity – Give a book. More information can be found on

One of the things I thought was good about the book was reading about likeminded people:

“I am that irritating person who reads your book over your shoulder in the train or the tube.”

This is something I am definitely guilty of. I want to know what people are reading in case there is a book I am missing out on somewhere.

I found some of the chapters in the book more interesting than others, and some chapters I ended up skipping right to the authors favourite books.

Some of the authors had books in common with me but a lot of the author’s favourite books were very heavy on the classic books and there aren’t many of them that I share.

One of the things I did find was that where authors became interested in reading during childhood they often shared a love of the books I remember as being treasures of my childhood, in particular the books of Enid Blyton tended to be a common shared love.

The chapter by Margaret Atwood was my favourite as she is my favourite author, and this was the chapter I most enjoyed reading. I paid particular attention to her favourite books so that I could add them to my reading list.

I also liked the chapter by Wendy Cope and loved her experiences of childhood reading which were similar to my own.

“…much preferred reading to any other pastime. My parents regarded this as a mixed blessing. When they told me off for being unsociable, I thought unsociable sounded like a good thing to be.”

The Pleasure of Reading is a delightful little book.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 3.5/5

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