My Life with Bob

Like Mary Karr’s Art of Memoir, the best parts of this book were descriptions of other books that have special meaning for Pamela Paul. The bibliography, namely BOB, which was the starting point for this book and the narrative thread that weaves throughout, is worth the price of the book itself.

Unlike many readers I know (who have been readers since they were children), I’ve only recently come to think of myself as a reader. Which, in some ways, is a heartening development. It’s never too late to become a new kind of person. But in the last 5 or 7 years, as my reading has picked up, as I’ve kept a record of everything I read and review, I find kinship with others who think of their life’s work of reading as a whole.

Tyler Cowen, another big reader I feel connected to, is sometimes praised as a blazingly fast reader. People have reported seeing him read entire pages at a glance. When asked about this, he said that in some ways, it’s taken him 40 years to read a book. The sum total of his reading, throughout his life, is what makes him the reader he is today. I’ve only started this journey. It’s exciting to think about what kind of reader I’ll be in 40 years.