... a wide-ranging homage to the power of books and reading ... [Kakutani] lists more than 100 books of varying eras and genres that have shaped her life, alongside concise but illuminating essays about her connection to the work ... Her selections are as diverse as they are plentiful ... For each book, Kakutani touches on the plot (there aren’t spoilers, but if you’ve never read a certain work, you won’t be totally in the dark), and writes succinctly but eloquently about why these books matter. Whether or not you’ve read the titles in question is kind of irrelevant; Kakutani’s passion for these works is palpable, and her respect for their authors immense.
... an ebullient celebration of books and reading ... Each selection is accompanied by a brief, elegant essay explaining her connection to the work ... Kakutani’s recommendations and her 'sense of the shared joys and losses of human experience' are revelations.
In the introduction, Kakutani rehearses predictable assertions about the benefits of reading ... The essays themselves are more perceptive, offering fresh, inspired assessments of a wide range of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry: memoir, biography, and history; social, political, environmental, and cultural analysis; nature writing; children’s books (she responds to six Dr. Seuss stories with her own, unfortunate, doggerel), and young adult fiction ... A spirited, heartfelt homage to reading.