My Life in MiddlemarchBook - 2014
Rebecca Mead was a young woman in a coastal town of England when she first read George Eliot's Middlemarch. After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs and then marriage and family, Rebecca Mead reread Middlemarch. The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people," offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not.
In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads the reader into the life that her favorite book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that perfectly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot's novel and brings them into the world. Offering both a fascinating reading of Eliot's biography and an uncanny portrait of the ways in which Mead's life echoes that of the author herself, My Life in Middlemarch is a book for who wonders about the power of literature to shape our lives.
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Reading is sometimes thought of as a form of escapism, and it's a common turn of phrase to speak of getting lost in a book. But a book can also be where one finds oneself; and when a reader is grasped and held by a book, reading does not feel like an escape from life so much as it feels like an urgent, crucial dimension of life itself. There are books that seem to comprehend us just as much as we understand them, or even more. There are books that grow with the reader as the reader grows,like a graft to a tree.
This kind of book becomes part of our own experience, and part of our own endurance. It might lead us back to the library in midlife, looking for something that eluded us before.
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