The Innocent Reader by Debra Adelaide & Wild About Books by Michael Wilding

Reviewed by
December 2019, no. 417
Susan Sheridan reviews 'The Innocent Reader: Reflections on reading and writing' by Debra Adelaide and 'Wild About Books: Essays on books and writing' by Michael Wilding

The Innocent Reader: Reflections on reading and writing

by Debra Adelaide

Picador, $29.99 pb, 272 pp, 9781760784355

Book Cover 2 Small

Wild About Books: Essays on books and writing

by Michael Wilding

Australian Scholarly Publishing, $39.95 pb, 202 pp, 9781925801989

The Innocent Reader by Debra Adelaide & Wild About Books by Michael Wilding

Reviewed by
December 2019, no. 417

The Innocent Reader, Debra Adelaide’s collection of essays reflecting on the value of reading and the writing life, also works as a memoir. Part I, ‘Reading’, moves from childhood memories of her parents’ Reader’s Digest Condensed Books to discovering J.R.R. Tolkien and other books in the local library, and to the variable guidance of teachers at school and university. Its centrepiece is the powerful essay ‘No Endings No Endings No’, which juxtaposes the shock of discovering that her youngest child has cancer with her grief at the death of Thea Astley in 2004. The last words of Astley’s final novel, Drylands (1999) give this essay its title. Adelaide draws out the hope that they suggest as she tells how reading – aloud to her son in hospital, and to herself when he was too ill to listen – enabled her to survive this terrible time.

Susan Sheridan reviews 'The Innocent Reader: Reflections on reading and writing' by Debra Adelaide and 'Wild About Books: Essays on books and writing' by Michael Wilding

The Innocent Reader: Reflections on reading and writing

by Debra Adelaide

Picador, $29.99 pb, 272 pp, 9781760784355

Book Cover 2 Small

Wild About Books: Essays on books and writing

by Michael Wilding

Australian Scholarly Publishing, $39.95 pb, 202 pp, 9781925801989

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