Dear Reader

Dear Reader


For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, books kept her afloat. Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help.

Our Review

There are a very specific set of people who will enjoy reading a book about books, I am one of those people. There is something very satisfying about reading a book written by someone who understands what it is like to be a bookworm.

There were many times whilst reading Dear Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books that I felt like the author could have been describing me. It is a book about a life live through books, a chronological record of the books she read at different times in her life. There is humour in their but loss too and how the books she was reading helped her deal with her grief.

One such time was when she talks about her need to reread old familiar books when everything become overwhelming.

“This is what I have always done. When the bite of real life is too brutal, I retreat into made-up worlds and tread well-worn paths. I don’t crave the new when I feel like this but look for solace in the familiar.”

One particular passage of the book is what I would use if I had to sum myself up using a quote.

“Reading has been a great source of comfort, knowledge, pleasure and joy. It is the most central aspect of my identity; the truest thing I could say about myself is, I am a reader.”

Her early experiences of people disapproving of the speed of which she read and the comments she received about her love of reading are all ones I had experienced myself, a kind of shame. For example, one of my teachers once asked my parents to stop letting me read at home because I was showing up the other students.

Many of the books mentioned are books I have read and loved but there were also some that I jotted down along the way as books to add to the list of books I want to read.

I felt nostalgic as she told us about disobeying her parents and standing by the window to try and snatch the last vestiges of light to carry on reading long after she should have been sleeping. I have vague memories of doing the same thing because I wanted to carry on reading but shared a room with my sister who wanted to sleep.

One of the things she talks about that particularly holds true for me is the use of books to alleviate difficult times.

“Reading has saved my life, again and again, and has held my hand through every difficult time.”

There are many passages in the book which spoke to me, but I will add this final one:

“I still ignore my friends and neglect my family to carry on reading, and it remains nearly impossible for me to stop reading something when I’m within grasping distance of the end.”



Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 3.7/5

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