... less a bromide on the pleasures of reading and more an existential dive into the word-saturated brain. Her rewarding book pokes and probes our reading consciousness in order to overturn the nature of textual engagement, like stirring the ocean floor to find the strange, ghostly invertebrates living in its depths ... To metacognitively read about the reading process, to double back onto one’s own track, to sniff the air for one’s own scent, can be a heady experience. Cass White grounds us expertly. Books Promiscuously Read: Reading as a Way of Life is a delight to read primarily because it eschews the easy commonplaces of the 'why you should read' genre in order to get at the core of the experience itself.
She’s every bit as ready to write about the healing, uniting power of reading, but her pages aren’t populated with wistful vicars and earnest librarians with tiny apartments crammed with books ... For so short a book, this is a surprisingly sweeping look at books and reading, but it’s a very different one from the norm ... White is emphasizing that reading’s core is molten. It’s an odd thing, for a book about the joys of reading to be such a fierce thing. On almost every page, usually through the method of her thrilling interpretations of dozens of literary works, White explores what she calls 'the paradox at the heart of reading,' which she characterizes in oddly anthemic terms ... both cautionary and uplifting ... a call to arms issued to people who thought all was quiet on the reading front.
It flows almost like poetry and draws the reader into the experience of reading, and at the same time informs a perspective of reading ... White...masterfully weaves these techniques and ideas through her own work, making this book as enjoyable as it is informative ... This book is a good reminder that reading is meant to be enjoyed; it is itself a refreshing, freeing, and inspiring read.
... discerning ... White’s prose style tends toward the academic, and given the sometimes abstract subject matter, can be difficult follow. Such density, however, doesn’t conceal White’s triumphant conviction that reading should stay 'wild.' Literary-minded readers will appreciate this fresh approach.
Only some of the quotes are attributed in the body of the text. While White makes a note of this structural element, discerning readers may tire of flipping to the back pages. Meanwhile, the language at times strains to be lofty ... Throughout, White seems less interested in making new readers than emboldening the already well-read. Herein lies its strength, including when the author takes up counterarguments ... Yes, everyone deserves the right to literacy, but not all souls hunger for Middlemarch. So don’t look down your noses at nonreaders. A mixed bag that will end up in the book sacks of the literature-inclined—not unintentionally.