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For the joy of reading: 12 bibliomemoirs


I’m sure you can all work out what sort of books are classified as bibliomemoirs. They are not all that common but memoirs about a life of reading, or the books that have particularly influenced someone are intriguing to fellow bibliophiles. Readers can always relate to fellow readers. Here is a selection of bibliomemoirs to whet your appetite for another good book.

The Books in My Life by Henry Miller
Published in 1952, this is the daddy of all bibliomemoirs. Miller lists the 100 books that influenced him the most – be ready to hear about Proust, Plutarch and Petronius.

Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books by Wendy Lesser
Lesser is known for her non-fiction but this book is a personal journey through her favourite books and includes a list of 100 books to read for pleasure.

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead
Just published, this book reveals an enduring admiration of George Eliot that began at 17.

Out of Sheer Rage: Wresting With DH Lawrence by Geoff Dyer
Dyer fails to produce an academic study of Lawrence’s work and tells an amusing tale about his struggles.

The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death and Pretty Much Everything Else by Christopher Beha
A very long title. Beha reads all 51 volumes of The Harvard Classics.

A Year of Reading Proust: A Memoir in Real Time by Phyllis Rose
A book where Proust is applied to daily life. Not sure whether that’s wise.

Great Books: My adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World by David Denby
Another epic title. Denby returns to further education as an adult, having failed to appreciate it during his youth.

Outside of a Dog: A Bibliomemoir by Rick Gekoski
The bookseller and Guardian writer lists the 25 books that shaped his life.

U and I: A True Story by Nicholson Baker
Baker writes about his obsession with the books and life of John Updike.

Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading From Home by Susan Hill
Hill spends a year reacquainting herself with her book collection, including all the forgotten titles.

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma
Alice’s father tries to read aloud to his daughter for 100 consecutive nights but can’t stop after reaching the target.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch
A mother of four spends one year wading through a great book a day from Pynchon to Nora Ephron.

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