Bringing you reviews of books that have delighted, edified or enchanted me, including lavish spreads of choice quotations and rich metaphors, word-mosaics for the mind.

By the age of 70, he who doesn’t read will have lived only one life. He who reads will have lived 5,000 years. Reading is immortality working backwards.

Source: Umberto Eco (1932-2016), El Pais, 23 Feb. 2016, p. 48

The latest brace of reviews …


In praise of books which have ‘gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind’ (Emily Bronte).

‘Bestellar’ unhitches the quality of a book from the quantity sold, since the correlation isn’t always obvious.

Readers create writers who in turn create readers.

Source: Alberto Manguel, The City of Words, CBC Massey Lecture Series (Toronto: Anansi Press, 2007), p. 68

‘Do you prefer reading to cards?’ said he; ‘that is rather singular’.

Source: Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice (Oxford, World’s Classics, 2008; 1813), p. 27

“I’ve had time to read and work out new things,” The Rat said.  “Reading is like traveling.”  

Source: Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Lost Prince (Marston Gate: Amazon, no date), p. 237

Review for you

Reviewing a few of the marvellous books that have enlightened or enchanted me.

Your chosen literary family can extend over thousands of years and beyond the borders of empires, poet connecting to poet, sharing the mitochondria of imagination.

Source: Molly Peacock, The Paper Garden (London: Bloomsbury, 2012 (2010)), p. 315

They read, they choose, they love: they read forever, and what they read never passes away.  In reading, they choose, and, in choosing, they love. 

Source:  St. Augustine, Confessions


  1. Liisa

    Dear Beatrice, I believe I have read most of the books soon that you recommend. Reading these books has given me great joy.

    I hope you continue to suggest books for us to read as I am getting to the end of the list!

    Thank you.

    Best wishes, Liisa

    • beatriceotto

      Many thanks Liisa – good to know. I will try to keep at least one or two book reviews ahead of your reading, so you don’t run out of suggestions. All best, Beatrice

  2. Liisa

    Thank you for the wonderful reading recommendations. Just finished reading Vasily Grossman’s ‘An Armenian Sketchbook’. It was like making the journey to Yerevan and beyond myself.

    A warm thanks for great reading suggestions.

    • beatriceotto

      Great to hear Liisa, thank you. It’s deeply gratifying to know someone has been inspired by one of the reviews, and has found the book rewarding.

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