"The Little Guide to Your Well Read Life"
(Reviewed by Carisa Richner JUN 12, 2005)
“I have come to believe that living your well-read life is measured not by the number of books read at the end of your life but by whether you are in book love today, tomorrow, and next week. Book love is something like romantic love. When we are reading a really great book, burdens feel lighter, cares seem smaller, and commonplaces are suddenly delightful.”
Hearing his customers complain about the lack of time to read (Leveen sells “tools for serious readers”), Steve Leveen penned this guide to help readers make more time to read, and get more out of what they read. Laying aside the irony of reading a book about how to make more time to read, and even the irony of selling “tools” for people who claim to have no time for reading, this little guide does have good advice for people who see the benefits of reading for pleasure, but need a little pep talk to make room in their lives for it.
Some of Leveen’s advice, such as joining a book club or listening to audiobooks, is hardly groundbreaking, but to Leveen’s credit, his persuasive prose will inspire you to finally look around for that book club or check an audiobook out of the library. Other advice includes keeping a running “List of Candidates,” a list of books that you compile from recommendation, book store browsing, even important trade books which are significant in your field. From your “List of Candidates,” Leveen recommends building a “Library of Candidates.” “You probably have some books at home that you plan to read. I suggest that you expand this to a whole new level: a to-read library in which you gradually accumulate shelves of books, in different categories, that you plan to read…instead of having five books, have fifty, or a hundred, or more.” While I’m sure this advice sounds like a wonderful plan to a book seller, to me it seems to encourage a tendency which many time strapped readers have probably already perfected, buying books and not reading them.
As a serious reader, I appreciated Leveen’s advice as to how to gain more from your reading. He says resist the “clean your plate” mentality and stop reading a book if it doesn’t speak to you within the first fifty pages, and to freely write comments in the margins. Your comments will be useful when you re-read the book, and priceless when you pass the book on to your children.
Leveen’s book contains an outstanding bibliography of books about books which, being a person who loves that sort of thing, I’ve marked up and added to my growing “List of Candidates.” Someday, when I have enough time, I may even read them all.
- Amazon readers rating: from 34 reviews
Read a chapter excerpt from The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life at author's website
(back to top)
Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
- The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life: How to get more books in your life and more life from your books (April 2005)
(back to top)
- Official website for Your Well Read-Life
- And more from Steve Leveen
- Written Voices interview with Steve Leveen
- James Bickers review of The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life
- Christian Science Monitor review of Well-Read Life
(back to top)
About the Author:
Steve Leveen is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, and earned both master's and doctoral degrees in sociology from Cornell University. is the co-founder and CEO of Levenger, known for its catalog of "tools for serious readers." "The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life" is his first book, and the keystone in a three-year national campaign that Steve is undertaking to help other readers yearning for ways to awaken to their well-read lives.
He and his wife Lori live in Del Ray Beach, Florida.