Growing Up with Books
A memoir about the magic and inspiration of books from a beloved and best-selling author.
In her admired works of fiction, including the recent The Book That Matters Most, Ann Hood explores the transformative power of literature. Now, with warmth and honesty, Hood reveals the personal story behind these beloved novels.
Growing up in a mill town in Rhode Island, in a household that didn’t foster a love of literature, Hood discovered nonetheless the transformative power of books. She learned to channel her imagination, ambitions, and curiosity by devouring ever-growing stacks. In Morningstar, Hood recollects how The Bell Jar, Marjorie Morningstar, The Harrad Experiment, and The Outsiders influenced her teen psyche and introduced her to topics that could not be discussed at home: desire, fear, sexuality, and madness. Later, Johnny Got His Gun and The Grapes of Wrath dramatically influenced her political thinking, while the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings became headline news and classics such as Dr. Zhivago and Les Misérables stoked her ambitions to travel the world. With characteristic insight and charm, Hood showcases the ways in which books gave her life and can transform—even save—our own lives.
Praise For Morningstar: Growing Up with Books…
— Library Journal
Not many people could point with such specificity to books that have imparted valuable life lessons, and Hood shares beloved works with an affecting and inspiring reverence.
Charming. . . [an] homage to the power of books.
Morningstar is a love letter to the very act of reading and the power of books to light the way. I can think of no better guide than Ann Hood, whose generosity of spirit, courage, humor, gumption, and grace are a powerful reminder that language and story have the capacity to heal, to instruct, and to change our lives. What a mighty little book, so full of heart.
— Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion and Slow Motion
As a childhood reader myself, I loved this enchanting journey through Ann Hood’s early fascination with reading and how it shaped her life and sensibility. Hood is a delightful writer, wise, charming, and lucid, and book lovers will find Morningstar irresistible.
— Lynne Sharon Schwartz, author of Ruined by Reading
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393254815, 192pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2017