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Praise for The Books That Mattered

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Frye Gaillard gives us a treat. Many books celebrate the collecting and possession of books, but few describe the first experience of reading one at just the right time to change our lives. The Books That Mattered will renew similar memories in every reader.
Frye Gaillardís The Books That Mattered not only evokes that wonder for the written word, but tackles the more difficult question of why the ethical and intellectual dimension in novels, essays and stories matter. Though most of us know intimately the shadowed self of our own experience, it is often through reading that we come to understand the doubt and sorrow of others and to recognize the heroic struggle of those trapped by injustice. [Gaillardís book] is beautifully rendered and wisely conceived; it gives insight as both memoir and literary guide.
In this era when a deep immersion in books is too-often viewed as unimportant, Frye Gaillard has given us a powerful reminder that literature can enrich, even dramatically change, the course of our lives. The Books That Mattered deserves a wide and appreciative audience.
Written with warmth, a scholarís attention to detail and genuine insight, The Books That Mattered is a gift to readers everywhereóan engrossing personal history mapped, like stones across a river, in the books that shaped its authorís life. A reminder of why reading matters to us all.
Frye Gaillard draws inspiration from an intriguing array of writers -- from Richard Wright and Lillian Smith to Clyde Edgerton and Sena Jeter Naslund -- and some of his essays are as smart as the books that influenced him.
In his latest work, Gaillard pays homage to the many writers who came before him. Though subtitled ďA Readerís Memoir,Ē itís more than that. A mix of biography, autobiography and literary criticism, the result is a heartfelt love letter to literature. Wavering precariously on the border between critic and bibliophile, Gaillard bucks both roles by combining them, bringing with him a lifetime spent buried in books. While each chapter explores a particular theme -- race, region, reportage, etc. -- his conclusions come not from his own experiences, but the experience of reading othersí work through a historical lens. As such, when tackling Southern race relations (a subject in which Gaillard is well-versed), he pairs Harper Leeís To Kill A Mockingbird alongside the tragic real-life story of the Scottsboro Boys, nine African-American teenagers sentenced to death based on little more than scurrilous testimony. The author repeats this juxtaposition of life and literature throughout, providing an evaporative effect between fact and fiction. Gaillardís revelations are mostly modest, and though he sets forth the occasional semicontroversial claim -- in one instance he argues that the 1960s work of Nikki Giovanni and Eldridge Cleaver was ďmore catharsis than literatureĒ -- it is his ability to rise above this fray that makes for a pleasurable reading experience. An exuberantly written account of one writerís leap toward understanding lifeís intersection with literature.
Frye Gaillard's The Books That Mattered is one to join the ranks of those mentioned within. Combining personal and literary memories, he carves out his own landscape as a reader. The result is entertaining and enlightening. This book will inspire you to reach for old favorites as well as those you have missed along the way.
Frye Gaillard doesnít simply read books; he inhabits them. The Books That Mattered is a fascinating, well-written book that keeps on giving.
Frye Gaillard's latest contribution to the writerly world is a tidy volume of essays that celebrate the influence of books on his life. Reading about the books that made an impact on Gaillard gives a tremendous amount of insight into his writings.
In sharing the books that have impacted him the most, Gaillard exposes his reader's soul. His personal connections to the literature he's read are laid bare for all to see, and through Gaillard's revelations, we are reminded just how powerful the written word can be.Truly an outstanding piece of nonfiction, Frye Gaillard's The Books That Mattered should be on everyone's reading list.
Reporter and author Frye Gaillard was one of the rare voices of reason in the South during the social upheaval that followed the outlawing of segregation. This thoughtful work shows where most of his ideas and inspiration got started.
This wonderful memoir sets a thoughtful tone as expected of a writer with extensive and important real-world journalistic experience and a bibliography near armís length. The Books That Mattered: A Readerís Memoir is a voyage into books that have seen the test of time, some more than others, but all rating a space on the shelf. Gaillard is an admirable tour guide.
In The Books That Mattered: A Reader's Memoir, (Gaillard) meditates on his favorite books and authors. . . Now loaded with honors and comfortably ensconced as writer-in-residence at the University of South Alabama, Gaillard shares his eventful personal history and experience with a new generation.
Beautifully written ... highly recommended.
Wonderful ... After reading The Books That Mattered I felt like compiling my own list.
The Books That Mattered is an individualized account of books that affected one accomplished writer. . . .there is something charming about this book. Perhaps itís the sensitivity with which Gaillard recounts his gradual coming to terms with his home. Or perhaps itís the dogged reassurance that books do matter, that they can instruct us if we endeavor, as we must, to put them into revealing contexts while expanding our own contexts. Or perhaps itís simply the joy that comes with getting to know someone, which is what youíve done by the time youíve finished The Books That Mattered.
Frye Gaillard, author of some twenty volumes and winner of both the Lillian Smith Award and the Clarence Cason Award writes here with insight and feeling about the books that mattered.
In writing compellingly about some of his favorite books and authors, the ones that moved and shaped him, Gaillard has produced another book that matters. It makes you want to dissect your life the way you did that frog in 10th-grade biology, looking for the guts and backbone of your beliefs and morals and philosophical leanings.