Monday, July 13, 2009

The Art of Reading


The Art of Reading: Forty Illustrators Celebrate RIF's 40th Anniversary. With a Foreword by Leonard S. Marcus. 2005. Dutton (Penguin).

This is a book for those with curious minds. It asks forty illustrators to talk about which books in their lives have inspired them. Sounds simple, but how would you choose just one? (That's what I'd like to know.) But what is the book like? Well, each artist is given two pages. One page for an illustration--at times this is an "inspired-by" piece. And a second page for text--a paragraph or two for talking about reading, drawing, and imagination. Who was inspired by The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe? Pat Cummings. Who was inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? Robert Sabuda. Who was inspired by Harold and the Purple Crayon? That would be Bryan Collier. It was interesting to me--and it may be to you as well--to see that novels (both children's novels and more adult titles even) can inspire potential artists just as much as picture books. (For example, The Outsiders inspired David Diaz; The Martian Chronicles inspired Brian Selznick; 2001 A Space Odyssey inspired David Wiesner.) I also loved that this book conveyed passion and enthusiasm. It was a book that showed people excited about reading, about books.

I also want to mention that this is a great browsing-type book. If you like art--no matter your age--you'll probably enjoy the illustrations in this one. It features artists paying tribute to their favorite books. So you'll see art that is inspired by particular books.

Which books have 'inspired' you in your life?

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

8 comments:

MotherReader 12:20 PM  

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Such a lovely and interesting book.

Tracie 7:01 PM  

This sounds like a really good "coffee table" book. One thing nice about having a toddler is that the book reminded me how beautiful the pictures can be.

As for inspirations, The Kite Runner. The book inspired me to learn more about Afghanistan and to give to more charities besides those in the US.

The Book Chook 7:28 PM  

I was inspired by Mem Fox's wonderful picture books to try to write for children.

I'm still trying!

Rawley 5:29 PM  

Sounds like a great book for readers, writers, and artists alike. I love the idea of choosing one book that has inspired you and sharing it with others. What a wonderful way to reflect on yourself as a reader and to motivate others to read as well! (This would make an excellent end-of-the-year journal topic...Hmmm...)

C Lee 10:54 AM  

Loved the post about this book. The cover, of course, is by one of my favorite illustrators, so it caught my eye immediately.

The book that lured me into the fantastic world of reading was Alice in Wonderland. I always give this a gift to young readers because I hope they'll become addicted to reading as I did because of Mr. Carroll's story.

Sliding on the Edge 5:14 PM  

Had to add a ps. Went to Hicklebees, one of my favorite Indies, yesterday. And there was The Art of Reading! Had to buy it. Thanks for the nudge into the bookstore.

Z-Kids 9:46 AM  

This is a great book. I'll have to find it again so the kids can see it.

There's a book called "Little Gorilla" that I loved as a kid. But my biggest inspiration came later in life when I saw Eric Rohmann's "Cinder-Eyed Cats" for the first time.

Natasha @ Maw Books 12:12 AM  

This sounds like a book that I would really like to thumb through.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
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  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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