“The title makes this a non-fiction companion to Fahrenheit 451, overtly and covertly. I thought it essential reading. Sure, some of the writers I dismissed--Francine Prose's essay tried too hard, contrived and trite, and Pico Iyer's narrative essay didn't register with me--but the others (John Updike, David Grossman, Russell Banks, Paul Auster, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, Ed Park, Nadine Gordimer, and of course, Toni Morrison) all wrote the truth of the matter.
Henry James said that a novelist must be someone "upon whom nothing is lost" and I agree and suggest going one step further. As a reader, I want to be one (speaking for myself only) "upon whom nothing is lost." That is, I want to foster the Thoreauvian reading code: To read books as deliberately as they were written.
This collection provided that rationale for the kind of reading necessary. ”