AN OPEN BOOK
March 21, 2006
AN OPEN BOOK by Michael Dirda (Norton, 2003) Some kids love to play baseball, some love basketball, some track or tennis. I loved books. Reading was my favorite sport in childhood, maybe because it was the only one that I was good at. My family used to say of me, “That Georgie, always has his nose in a book.” Now, there were not a lot of other hardcore readers growing up in the projects of Bayonne, New Jersey. Sometimes I felt as if I were the only one. It’s too bad I didn’t know Michael Dirda. Dirda, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former Book Editor of THE WASHINGTON POST, had his nose in a book as well, as he makes plain in AN OPEN BOOK (Norton, 2003). Subtitled “Chapters From a Reader’s Life,” A OPEN BOOK is a sort of coming-of-age story, an engrossing chronicle of Dirda’s childhood and his gradual discovery of (1) literature, and (2) girls. That somehow he makes both discoveries equally fascinating, at least to me, may say something about the both of us. Whether it is his first kiss or his first Faulkner, Dirda makes you feel his excitement. I enjoyed his book immensely, and only wish I’d read half the books that he has.