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There are books which for mysterious reasons remain in the mind long after they are read,” writes playwright Arthur Miller in For the Love of Books: 115 Celebrated Writers on the Books They Love Most (Grosset/Putman). Edited by Ronald B. Shwartz, JD’77, this collection reveals the books that have influenced and entertained some of the Western world’s best-known authors. Asking writers to “Identify those 3-6 books that have in some way influenced or affected you most deeply, ‘spoken to’ you loudest, and explain why—in personal terms,” Shwartz received a range of responses, from Mario Puzo’s spartan list to Frank McCourt’s lengthy discourse. Classics from J.D. Salinger, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce earn frequent mention, balanced by childhood favorites such as Harold and the Purple Crayon and the Archie, Spiderman, and Superman comic books. Contributors with U of C ties include Kurt Vonnegut, AM’71, who cites The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters and The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen; Joseph Epstein, AB’59, who returns to Max Beerbohm’s And Even Now more than any other book; and professor Mark Strand, who sees himself in Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet.

In short, For the Love of Books is the ultimate reading list: a collection of book recommendations from some of today’s leading literary lights.—M.D.B.

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