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

By Phyllis Rose

Phyllis Rose embarks on a grand literary experiment—to learn her approach via a random shelf of library books, LEQ–LES

Can you might have an severe event in a library? Phyllis Rose casts herself into the wilds of an higher East facet lending library which will do exactly that. Hoping to discover the “real flooring of literature,” she reads her approach via a slightly randomly selected shelf of fiction, from LEQ to LES.
     The shelf has every thing Rose may perhaps want for—a vintage she has no longer learn, a impressive number of authors, and a variety of literary kinds. The early nineteenth-century Russian vintage A Hero of Our Time through Mikhail Lermontov is backbone through backbone with The Phantom of the Opera through Gaston Leroux. tales of French Canadian farmers sit down beside these approximately aristocratic Austrians. California detective novels abut a picaresque novel from the 17th century. There are a number of novels by means of a superb, humorous, modern novelist who has became to elevating canine a result of tepid reaction to her work.
     In The Shelf, Rose investigates the books on her shelf with exuberance, candor, and wit while puzzling over the numerous questions her scan increases and measuring her discoveries opposed to her personal internal shelf—those texts that accompany us via lifestyles. “Fairly definite that nobody within the background of the area has learn precisely this sequence of novels,” she sustains a feeling of pleasure as she creates a refreshingly unique and beneficiant portrait of the literary enterprise.

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Additional resources for The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading

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A typical entry in Contemporary Authors provides the facts about a writer’s life (dates of birth and death, list of publications with dates, and so on) followed by a section in which critical opinion on the writer’s work is summarized, often with quotations from contemporary (that is to say, ancient) reviews. The entry on Leroux quoted a review by Charles R. Larson, an American scholar specializing in African fiction, from 1969. ” Here was the perspective I sought. Expecting political fiction to depict conflict realistically, as in Malraux or Steinbeck, I was confused by Leroux’s work, which is not like that at all.

I skimmed every chapter to see if Henry met Salome. I skimmed to see if anything happened. I read the set pieces. I kept dipping into the disquisitions on philosophical subjects to see if they would begin to interest me. That was the nature of my reading of this book. We give the name “reading” to many different activities, and the only one that matters to me is the one in which attention is fiercely focused, each word has weight, and each sentence makes me more aware of the world I am reading about than the one in which I actually live.

Superb seaman that he was, he sensed an extraordinary storm in the offing. He sought shelter in the harbor of Santo Domingo on the island of Hispaniola, but the governor, jealous of Columbus, found a reason not to let him bring his ships in. Columbus begged the governor to detain the treasure fleet that was about to set sail for Spain, but the governor would not do that either. Denied shelter in the harbor, Columbus led his ships northwest to relative safety and rode out the storm. The treasure fleet headed northeast, into the path of the hurricane, and no one survived.

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