What people are saying about
Robert Kanigel's "VINTAGE READING
selection for new subscribers to Doubleday Book Club, and
one of six featured alternates to the monthly feature at Literary
*Robert Kanigel is a National Book Critics Award finalist,
a Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, winner of the Grady-Stack
award for science writing, and winner of "Author of the
Year" honors in 1998 by the 1200-member American Society
of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). His "The One Best
Way" was one of four finalists for the Global Business
Book Award for biography, co-sponsored by the Financial Times
of London and the management consulting firm of Booz-Allen.
A Kanigel talk on Vintage Reading was broadcast on C-Span's
"Book TV" in August 1998. Since September 1999,
Kanigel has been professor of science writing at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT), and administrator of its new
Graduate Program in Science Writing.
An evergreen that readers will joyfully discover for decades
-- DOUBLEDAY BOOK CLUB
Charming and smart.
-- CHARLES MCGRATH, Editor - New York Times Book
A sound springboard into an odyssey of a lifetime, an invaluable
reference for personal, high school, and academic libraries,
and a brilliant introduction to the world of literature. (Recommended
for Grades 9 and up.)
-- BOOK REPORT
The 80 members of Kanigel's canon are often provocative and
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Robert Kanigel's reviews may be about vintage books, but
his insights are contemporary and his voice is witty, intelligent,
and gracious. His "personal tour of some of the world's
best books" is a trip we should all take.
-MICKEY PEARLMAN, Ph.D., author of What to Read:
The Essential Guide for Reading Group Members and Other Books
I am an inveterate collector of book lists and book reviews.
If the lists are intelligent, they will contain many familiarities-enough
to suggest the worthiness of those that are unfamiliar or
not yet read. If the reviews are good, they add immediacy
to the need to read or reread them now. Kanigel passes both
tests, and my own list has now grown by several new names.
-CHRISTOPHER B. NELSON, President, St. John's College,
Annapolis, MD, home of the Great Books Program
In a world beset with the often mindless clutter of television,
films, the internet, and other distractions, many of us long
to renew our acquaintance with the great literature and thought
of the ages-to read a book. But what book? Robert Kanigel's
Vintage Reading, with its fascinating summaries of books,
great and near-great, is the perfect guidepost. Kanigel, a
distinguished writer, so effectively conveys his love of great
books that one can envision his creating a new generation
-GWINN OWENS, former Baltimore Evening Sun editor
The essays are light and amusing. Each includes a bit of
information about the author, some plot outline, and a reason
to read the book. Book groups looking for titles would find
this a good choice, as would library users who want a list
to guide their reading. Recommended for public libraries.
I belong to two book clubs-one for women, one co-ed. Vintage
Reading is a great source of ideas for books, as well as for
topics of discussion.
-LINDA FOX, member, Lake Falls & Roland Park
For those who like to lower their brows from time to time,
Kanigel rescues from oblivion some hearty old bestsellers.
--WASHINGTON POST "Book World"
...a collection of brief and graceful essays on 80 evergreen
books, by authors from Herodotus to Willa Cather. Book-group
discussion leaders, take note.
--CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER
If you feel intimidated by the classics, and all of those
"must-read books" you have heard about but missed
over the years, you will find this book entertaining and useful.
--THE BLOOMSBURY REVIEW
A professional reviewer, Kanigel occasionally chose books
to review for the Baltimore Sun that weren't new. He gathered
those columns into this cozy and enlightening book In it,
he takes another look at titles as varied as Alice's Adventures
in Wonderland and Nana; The Microbe Hunters and A Bell for
Adano; and he makes us want to pick them up again and read
what he read... Fun to read and fine fodder for book-discussion
groups. And teens suffering through required-reading lists
might be captivated by an adult who views the books with pleasure.
With lively and concise commentary, award-winning author
Robert Kanigel throws an arm around the reader and becomes
tour guide to eighty of the world's most unforgettable books.
Vintage Reading is perfect for reading groups and book lovers
who want to discover books they may have missed, or rediscover
once-loved books now forgotten.
--BOOKS ON BOOKS REVIEW
Wisely, Kanigel does not confine himself to a mere recitation
of these books' plots or to an academic dissection of their
merits, but chooses to relate their contents to readers' lives
today. Further, his wry observations often contain a ring
of unexpected truth.
A readable, friendly literary companion, Vintage Reading
is like those samples that seduce you into tasting because
Kanigel's enthusiastic eclecticism, sharing with you the books
he loves best, makes it clear that a good reader is really
someone ready to venture between the covers. Kanigel's mini-forays
between those covers seem cozy, not intimidating. The antidote
to Cliff's Notes, Vintage Reading's unpretentious appetite
for literature will inspire readers young and old to new adventures
and, most importantly, a confidence in themselves.
-- RACHEL EISLER, former English Dept. chair, Bryn
Mawr School (Baltimore, MD)
A book that fills in the gaps in your education, Vintage
Reading is a wonderful addition to anyone's library, by an
author who's an amazing storyteller. Recommended for the well-read
and the not-so-well read.
--EDITOR'S CHOICE BOOK REVIEW
For everyone who despairs of finding the time to identify
and read history's great books, Robert Kanigel offers a casual
and friendly summary of eighty classical and modern favorites.
--BIBLIO: EXPLORING THE WORLD OF BOOKS
Like a well-loved English teacher, Robert Kanigel throws
an arm around you and becomes the tour guide to eighty of
the world's most unforgettable books. He guides you comfortably
through titles of our literary heritage that, for me at least,
have seemed intimidating in the past. His summaries of the
greats and near-greats effectively convey an unparalleled
love of books, along with concise, easy to understand commentary.
It's infectious. Trust me!
A truly enjoyable introduction to the books that everyone
is supposed to have read but hasn't. They may sate your appetite
or, instead, spur you to check out the originals. (They inspired
me to tackle Gibbon's Decline and Fall.) At least you will
know why these works are considered classics, even if you
decide to pass. The author is knowledgeable, but also concise
and breezy, and has a light, humorous touch. If you are a
graduate student in Comparative Literature working on a dissertation
on deconstructionism, this book may not do anything for you.
For this reasonably well-educated general reader, though,
it was a pleasure.
-- NEW YORK READER COMMENTING ON AMAZON.COM
A novel concept - that you can be your own judge of good
reading -- and an honest, charming, profound, fair, and fascinating
book... If you're already a reader, consider Vintage Reading
a validation. If you haven't yet discovered the joys of discovering
new worlds in print, get ready... All of Vintage Reading is
an incitement to action - to read these books. I do hope there's
--GEORGE LISTON SEAY, HOST OF "DIALOGUE,"
a weekly interview a series produced by The Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars and aired weekly by Public
Radio International (PRI)
Robert Kanigel is a master at reviewing older books. Some
of the books he reviews are ones readers wish they'd read,
and now that they know more about them, they can and probably
will! Some books readers may never have heard of before, but
Kanigel makes mouths water for them with his terse, intriguing
reviews. Many, if not most, of the books recommended are not
on any literary experts' lists. But Kanigel makes readers
want to delve into them just the same. Reading Vintage Reading
is like wine tasting. Pretty soon, you'll want more of this
and a lot more of that. So sip a little from Robert Kanigel's
Vintage Reading. You'll enjoy it!
-- MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW