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Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading

Finding and Losing Myself in Books

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


In this delightful memoir, the book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air reflects on her life as a professional reader. Maureen Corrigan takes us from her unpretentious girlhood in working-class Queens, to her bemused years in an Ivy League Ph.D. program, from the whirl of falling in love and marrying (a fellow bookworm, of course), to the ordeal of adopting a baby overseas, always with a book at her side. Along the way, she reveals which books and authors have shaped her own life—from classic works of English literature to hard-boiled detective novels, and everything in between. And in her explorations of the heroes and heroines throughout literary history, Corrigan’s love for a good story shines.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 25, 2005 – Corrigan, the book reviewer for NPR's Fresh Air and mystery columnist for the Washington Post, makes her own book debut with an often longwinded and tedious account of how books have shaped her life. It's clear from every page that Corrigan is obsessed with reading books. Her compulsion is a bit far reaching, however: she offers books as the reason why she delayed getting married and why she adopted her daughter in China. She intersperses lengthy descriptions and analysis of her favorite books, like Jane Eyre, Lucky Jim and Karen with stories from her own life. At times, the book reads like a feminist diatribe against the injustices female authors (and graduate students) have endured and the stereotypical portrayal of female characters. In its favor, the book allows readers to reexperience some perennial favorites, such as Pride and Prejudice and The Maltese Falcon. Corrigan does speak to the ability of books to provide escape and solace, and for the creation of characters we can relate to, but these few gems are buried deep in text so thick and analytical that the reader is often left gasping for air.

Customer Reviews

Leave me alone, I

Ok. I never thought I'd devour a whole book about...other books? But Maureen Corrigan's memoir is so funny, vivid and spot-on that I raced through it, resisting the urge to bury my laughter discreetly in my palm while in public. This is a little like armchair travel...Some of us will never willingly re-read "Jane Eyre" (or climb Everest) -- but the best parts are all here, anyway, with startling comparisons (detective fiction?) and real-world anecdotes that satiate our intellectual wanderlust.

Some of my favorite parts of this book have to do with what Corrigan delicately calls "academic farce," as this Queens native ventures off to be immersed in the Sherry-swilling, theory-spinning Ivy League. Perhaps there comes a point in most of our lives when the happiest among us realize that we are, well, who we are. Being comfortable in your skin allows you to laugh at situations -- and yourself. Corrigan shows us how. And so much more.

If you enjoy a smidge of that old Irish Catholic New York, underpinning a story of self-discovery, true curiosity and personal evolution, this is a great book for you. I loved it.

Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading
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  • $5.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary Criticism
  • Published: Jan 02, 2007
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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