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Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life

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When you hear a riveting story, does it thrill your heart and stir your soul? Do you hunger for truth and goodness? Do you secretly relate to Belle's delight in the library in Beauty and the Beast? If so, you may be on your way to being a book girl. Books were always Sarah Clarkson's delight. Raised in the company of the lively Anne of Green Gables, the brave Pevensie childr When you hear a riveting story, does it thrill your heart and stir your soul? Do you hunger for truth and goodness? Do you secretly relate to Belle's delight in the library in Beauty and the Beast? If so, you may be on your way to being a book girl. Books were always Sarah Clarkson's delight. Raised in the company of the lively Anne of Green Gables, the brave Pevensie children of Narnia, and the wise Austen heroines, she discovered reading early on as a daily gift, a way of encountering the world in all its wonder. But what she came to realize as an adult was just how powerfully books had shaped her as a woman to live a story within that world, to be a lifelong learner, to grasp hope in struggle, and to create and act with courage. She's convinced that books can do the same for you. Join Sarah in exploring the reading life as a gift and an adventure, one meant to enrich, broaden, and delight you in each season of your life as a woman. In Book Girl, you'll discover: how reading can strengthen your spiritual life and deepen your faith, why a journey through classic literature might be just what you need (and where to begin), how stories form your sense of identity, how Sarah's parents raised her to be a reader--and what you can do to cultivate a love of reading in the growing readers around you, and 20+ annotated book lists, including some old favorites and many new discoveries. Whether you've long considered yourself a reader or have dreams of becoming one, Book Girl will draw you into the life-giving journey of becoming a woman who reads and lives well.


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When you hear a riveting story, does it thrill your heart and stir your soul? Do you hunger for truth and goodness? Do you secretly relate to Belle's delight in the library in Beauty and the Beast? If so, you may be on your way to being a book girl. Books were always Sarah Clarkson's delight. Raised in the company of the lively Anne of Green Gables, the brave Pevensie childr When you hear a riveting story, does it thrill your heart and stir your soul? Do you hunger for truth and goodness? Do you secretly relate to Belle's delight in the library in Beauty and the Beast? If so, you may be on your way to being a book girl. Books were always Sarah Clarkson's delight. Raised in the company of the lively Anne of Green Gables, the brave Pevensie children of Narnia, and the wise Austen heroines, she discovered reading early on as a daily gift, a way of encountering the world in all its wonder. But what she came to realize as an adult was just how powerfully books had shaped her as a woman to live a story within that world, to be a lifelong learner, to grasp hope in struggle, and to create and act with courage. She's convinced that books can do the same for you. Join Sarah in exploring the reading life as a gift and an adventure, one meant to enrich, broaden, and delight you in each season of your life as a woman. In Book Girl, you'll discover: how reading can strengthen your spiritual life and deepen your faith, why a journey through classic literature might be just what you need (and where to begin), how stories form your sense of identity, how Sarah's parents raised her to be a reader--and what you can do to cultivate a love of reading in the growing readers around you, and 20+ annotated book lists, including some old favorites and many new discoveries. Whether you've long considered yourself a reader or have dreams of becoming one, Book Girl will draw you into the life-giving journey of becoming a woman who reads and lives well.

30 review for Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    After reading a few pages I realized this is a book with a focus on Christian spirituality and deepening your faith through reading a narrow list of white European/American writers. I wish it had been more clearly labeled. Not for me - back to the library.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jami Balmet

    I immensely enjoyed certain parts of this book and didn’t love a few other parts. Overall it was an enjoyable read and will be a reference books for years to come! I added over 100 titles to a new Goodreads list I started (you can go see it as “book girl recommendations” and there are dozens of books on that list I’m really excited to read (and several that I know I should read at some point)! I would rate this book higher, but I disagree with most of her theological/Christian recommendations. W I immensely enjoyed certain parts of this book and didn’t love a few other parts. Overall it was an enjoyable read and will be a reference books for years to come! I added over 100 titles to a new Goodreads list I started (you can go see it as “book girl recommendations” and there are dozens of books on that list I’m really excited to read (and several that I know I should read at some point)! I would rate this book higher, but I disagree with most of her theological/Christian recommendations. We clearly hold to different theological beliefs, some of them major. And as a Christian book, this heavily affects my ability to recommend this book. But if you read it with that in mind and take all recommendations with a grain of salt, then it is an excellent reference for finding new (and old) books to read!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I don’t review a lot of non-fiction books on my blog, but when I saw there was a book about books, the reading life and bookworms, I knew I needed to read and share it! This book is not only a wonderful read, but an amazing resource, filled with book lists for different seasons of a reader’s life! In Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life by Sarah Clarkson, Clarkson begins each section with a little essay of her own, and then proceeds to give us some I don’t review a lot of non-fiction books on my blog, but when I saw there was a book about books, the reading life and bookworms, I knew I needed to read and share it! This book is not only a wonderful read, but an amazing resource, filled with book lists for different seasons of a reader’s life! In Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life by Sarah Clarkson, Clarkson begins each section with a little essay of her own, and then proceeds to give us some book lists that correspond with the essay. I learned a lot from Ms. Clarkson’s essays and found them very relatable. Ms. Clarkson argues that reading shapes who we are and it’s the lens through which we view the world. She talks of stories helping us to understand things better in real life; they help show us what is good and give us hope to fight and cope with the evil in the world. Ultimately, she says that our lives are a story as a part of the Kingdom of God. I couldn’t agree more with her arguments for how important reading and stories are! I personally have such a passion for Story. Ms. Clarkson talks all about the exact reason why my blog is named Faery Tales Are Real, arguing for the importance of fairy tales and how they point us to the greatest Story of Christianity. I love how she found connections between fairy tales and Biblical narrative. I just felt through reading this book that I had found a kindred spirit, as the author talks about Anne from Anne of Green Gables and how she loves the Lord of the Rings (can I get an Amen). The Lord of the Rings helped strengthen her faith when she was younger, in the same way that it did for me. I highly recommend this book to any person who loves reading, no matter what stage of the reading journey they are in. It is an excellent resource to have on hand (the book lists are amazing)! Content: This is a clean read. The only content is: mentions rape when describing To Kill a Mockingbird; word damn is used. Rating: I give this book 5 stars! Genre: Christian non-fiction I want to thank Tyndale Momentum, Tyndale House Publishers and Sarah Clarkson for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    Me: If I were to write a book about books, I would include all my favourite Manga, contemporaries, young adult and LGBTQ reads. (And not include the classics or the world's greatest books. Because everyone knows that list by now. Of course, I have read and loved a few classics and such books. And I will keep reading such recommended reads.) I enjoyed this book. It's well written but sometimes I just couldn't help feeling why the chapters were so long. But it's still okay. It's a memoir. I liked it Me: If I were to write a book about books, I would include all my favourite Manga, contemporaries, young adult and LGBTQ reads. (And not include the classics or the world's greatest books. Because everyone knows that list by now. Of course, I have read and loved a few classics and such books. And I will keep reading such recommended reads.) I enjoyed this book. It's well written but sometimes I just couldn't help feeling why the chapters were so long. But it's still okay. It's a memoir. I liked it nevertheless. For me, this book got a bit intimidating at times and as much as I was into the lists and favourite lists and recommended readings, I feel like the lists are just too limited. But the author seems really open-minded and I liked the fact that she talked about her reading life and reading tastes in terms of one's own preferences. I just wish there weren't a lot of chapters on religious or faith kind of reading recommendations and book summaries. It's my own problem getting intimidated by the list of books in this one because it sounds like I have read nothing much in my life. But it's okay. Our tastes and choices are different. And I will still choose my own kind of reads. I have accepted the fact a long time ago that reading is not a competition. And not to get intimidated by anything that is subjective when it comes to reading and books. Yes, it's subjective. I really appreciate the parts in this particular book when the author talks about being someone who has similar struggles with the rest of the readers everywhere and how she deals with it. At some parts, she's so similar with the reader me at how she's grateful to her reader life. I can totally get her whenever she says something about how books shaped her life and how reading changed her life. But I just had to skip some chapters which seemed repetitive and do not see much difference between these similar chapters. But yes, I do take the recommendations seriously. I liked this one while reading it. But my most favourite book about books so far is "I'd Rather Be Reading" by Anne Bogel. I would love your recommendations too.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    "To be a book girl is to take up membership in the ranks of women who read and, by their reading, live to the brave and courageous full." I wanted to love this book. I wanted this book to be about the celebration of books and the love of books that we share. But what it felt like, for me, was mostly convincing me that I should love books. (Even though I think only a true book girl would pick up a book entitled "Book Girl.") And even more, convincing me what books I should love. I don't know that t "To be a book girl is to take up membership in the ranks of women who read and, by their reading, live to the brave and courageous full." I wanted to love this book. I wanted this book to be about the celebration of books and the love of books that we share. But what it felt like, for me, was mostly convincing me that I should love books. (Even though I think only a true book girl would pick up a book entitled "Book Girl.") And even more, convincing me what books I should love. I don't know that the author intended it to feel that way, though, because many times she offered the idea that we should love what we read and read what we love. However, she then contradicted that thought by saying we should be "intelligent readers." And spent quite a few chapters explaining what "intelligent reading" is and is not. Basically, I am a very unintelligent reader. (Or at least by her terms I am.) Even though I consider myself a very diverse reader. Once that was established (because I don't pick books to read the author believes I should), then it felt a bit condescending. No, I am not an Oxford person and she is, but I don't believe that because I pick less "difficult" or "arduous" books to read that it means that I'm an unintelligent reader. Yes, I believe in being a discerning reader, but to me that means I should read all different view points while holding strong to my values and belief system. I believe in challenging myself, but not to the point of hating what I'm reading or THAT I'm reading. And in all honesty, if I subjected myself to some of the books that she so highly recommends (I'm looking at you Dante), then I could truly come to begrudge reading. The majority of the chapters in the book read like Pinterest pins or blog posts of book lists that fit a certain category. Nothing wrong with the books listed, but I only connected with about 10% of the books in the lists. And being that she harped on "intelligent reading" so much, it was shocking how few books were by diverse authors or about diverse characters. I mean, how do you write a chapter on the best poetry books and not include Maya Angelou? (But I do love the Anne books and the Lord of the Rings trilogy just as much as the author does!) All that to be said, I ultimately just don't think the book was for me. (I very much preferred I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel.) Clarkson and I have very different reading tastes. I, however, do not believe that either one is right or wrong. I do think a LOT of readers will find a kindred spirit here, just not me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    K.M. Weiland

    Sarah Clarkson speaks to me. In both the books I’ve read from her (Caught Up in a Story and this), it’s like someone has looked into my head and described my experiences to me with a greater emotional understanding than I had heretofore had for myself. In both instances, her books have come to me at opportune moments, when my life was in flux, with me standing at a crossroads of sort. I read this one after a significant move—and, just as significantly, after several years of struggling with the Sarah Clarkson speaks to me. In both the books I’ve read from her (Caught Up in a Story and this), it’s like someone has looked into my head and described my experiences to me with a greater emotional understanding than I had heretofore had for myself. In both instances, her books have come to me at opportune moments, when my life was in flux, with me standing at a crossroads of sort. I read this one after a significant move—and, just as significantly, after several years of struggling with the motivation to read. Her ode to words and stories and her loving lists of great books—so many of which I’ve already read—has reinvigorated the reader in me. I don’t think it’s too much to say that her first book changed my life; this one did too.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    I LOVED this book! Book Girl is an amazing book-on-books, probably the best I've ever read. Sarah Clarkson, as a young woman, wife,( and new mother poised to transform her own daughter into a "book girl"), and Oxford theology graduate, writes extremely well on a subject that is truly dear to her heart as well as her readers. She is perceptive, discerning and having grown up with books from birth is exceedingly well read. I had to suspend reading my library copy, return it and buy one for myself, I LOVED this book! Book Girl is an amazing book-on-books, probably the best I've ever read. Sarah Clarkson, as a young woman, wife,( and new mother poised to transform her own daughter into a "book girl"), and Oxford theology graduate, writes extremely well on a subject that is truly dear to her heart as well as her readers. She is perceptive, discerning and having grown up with books from birth is exceedingly well read. I had to suspend reading my library copy, return it and buy one for myself, so I may highlight and notate; in fact, digest this book slowly! The book is broken into lovely Books Can.... chapters and subchapters, interspersed with recommended reading lists of her personal friends and family. There are the perennial favorite classic titles along with newer book mentions, that will be added to my TBR list. Highly recommended!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    Book Girl, or Christian Woman Wants You* to Read Classics** Written by White People about White People*** *only if you’re also a woman **including those written by her and her mother ***and hobbits

  9. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    too christian and author tells you she went to Oxford approximately 1 zillion times

  10. 4 out of 5

    The Hofs

    DEVOURED this book! Cheers to Sarah Clarkson who truly is a kindred spirit! I found myself resisting the urge to mark this book and then about 25 pages in, I grabbed a pencil and went back to the beginning and marked away! This is so well written and such an encouragement for those of us who love books and I hope, motivating for those who have yet to discover their inner “book girl”. So many excellent quotes, book suggestions to mention. I wish that I could sit and chat with Sarah for a bit. We DEVOURED this book! Cheers to Sarah Clarkson who truly is a kindred spirit! I found myself resisting the urge to mark this book and then about 25 pages in, I grabbed a pencil and went back to the beginning and marked away! This is so well written and such an encouragement for those of us who love books and I hope, motivating for those who have yet to discover their inner “book girl”. So many excellent quotes, book suggestions to mention. I wish that I could sit and chat with Sarah for a bit. We have many things in common but notable differences in Faith, I disagree with her stance on HP but we share many many favorites for all the right reasons. Perfect gift for yourself or any person in pursuit of the good, the true and the beautiful (all of us!). This is just what our culture needs!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Celeste

    This was a sweet book. Books mean the world to me, and it’s wonderful to see that same love written out on the page for the world to see. Reading recommendations are among my favorite things, whether I’m giving or receiving them. I loved the lists provided by this book, and that fact that the author explained what each book meant to her, as well as why she had crafted these lists regarding particular topics. I believe that stories are one of the ways God speaks to us the most deeply, and that sa This was a sweet book. Books mean the world to me, and it’s wonderful to see that same love written out on the page for the world to see. Reading recommendations are among my favorite things, whether I’m giving or receiving them. I loved the lists provided by this book, and that fact that the author explained what each book meant to her, as well as why she had crafted these lists regarding particular topics. I believe that stories are one of the ways God speaks to us the most deeply, and that same mindset very obviously went into the crafting of this book. However, I do have to say that I enjoyed the front half of this book, heavy on fiction, more than I did the back half, which concentrated more on poetry and spiritual nonfiction. This is purely a matter of taste, as my reading life is comprised predominantly of fiction.I would recommend this book to anyone who is sentimental about the very act of reading, especially if you share the author’s Judeo-Christian worldview as it is very prevalent in her writing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Callie

    I'm going with 3 stars for this one. I received this book for review a few months ago, and to be honest, I wanted to give up on it after the first few chapters. I was a little worried when I requested this book from the publisher because of my previous experience with Sarah Clarkson's writing in my attempt at The Life-Giving Home. Her writing has come off stilted and pretentious to me in the past. I had hopes that this book (about books! one of my favorite subjects) would be one I would enjoy, bu I'm going with 3 stars for this one. I received this book for review a few months ago, and to be honest, I wanted to give up on it after the first few chapters. I was a little worried when I requested this book from the publisher because of my previous experience with Sarah Clarkson's writing in my attempt at The Life-Giving Home. Her writing has come off stilted and pretentious to me in the past. I had hopes that this book (about books! one of my favorite subjects) would be one I would enjoy, but I was almost immediately bogged down in that same pretentious tone. I liked a lot of what she had to say, but her writing style is just not for me. I snagged the audiobook because I was not getting anywhere in print, and her writing came across much more relatable and friendly with the narrator's voice. Overall, while listening, I enjoyed it. Most of the book was composed of recommended booklists, with thoughts on reading and personal stories in between. I liked hearing her book recommendations, as well as her thoughts on the reading life and the benefits that can come from reading good books. However, I won't be adding all of these books to my to-read list (even if I did have time to read them all). I could tell from her interjections and the actual book recommendations that we are not on the same pages theologically. I wouldn't trust all her non-fiction recommendations, but I am interested to check out a few of the fiction books she referenced. The book also lost half a star for the constant references to Oxford. I'm sure studying at Oxford was a cool experience and formative for Clarkson (if something can be "formative" at 30 years old), but it was starting to feel awkward, like name-dropping (except with a place instead of a person). The "place-dropping" just added to my problems with the writing style. Overall, would I say this book is worth reading? Sure, go for it if you want. Not everyone will mind her style, and she did have some good recommendations (but take some of what she recommends regarding Christianity with discernment). I'll keep this one on my shelf as a reference for when I want to add a meaningful fiction book to my reading list. However, I think I can pretty confidently say this is the last book I'll be reading by Sarah Clarkson. I've read enough of her writing at this point to be able to say it's not my cup of tea. Note: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Preston

    “Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old. I have seen a great many lists of her drawing up at various times of books that she meant to read regularly through–and very good lists they were–very well chosen and very neatly arranged–sometimes alphabetically and sometimes by some other rule. The list she drew up when only fourteen–I remember thinking it did her judgement so much credit that I preserved it some time; and I dare say she may have made out a very good list “Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old. I have seen a great many lists of her drawing up at various times of books that she meant to read regularly through–and very good lists they were–very well chosen and very neatly arranged–sometimes alphabetically and sometimes by some other rule. The list she drew up when only fourteen–I remember thinking it did her judgement so much credit that I preserved it some time; and I dare say she may have made out a very good list now. But I have done with expecting any course of steady reading from Emma. She will never submit to anything requiring industry and patience and a subjection of the fancy to the understanding.” Mr. Knightley discussing Emma’s faults with Mrs. Weston, who will not admit them Emma, volume 1, chapter 5 Books about books have exploded on the market recently. It seems to be an obsession among the bookish types - this is at least the 4th I've read personally, with Read-Aloud Family being the most useful. But at the end of the day, it's just a book of book lists. I feel like Book Girl is just capitalizing on the trend rather than adding something new and valuable to the collection. Sarah Clarkson spends the first chapters waxing poetic about the reading life - "becoming a book girl" or a "bookish person" before launching into her collection of lists. And yet, I assume, anyone who would even grab this book is already convinced of the value of frequent reading. Also this is just a personal quirk but the more I read of the Clarksons (both Sally and Sarah), the more their excessively descriptive vocabulary bugs me. While there are times that torrents of explanation serve a purpose, there are other times that it comes across that the author appreciates the sound of her own voice... Book Girl gets a few stars from me for a handful of solid book suggestions. But I can't give it many for the reasons listed above.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carol Bakker

    You were made to be a learner. Book Girl was a joyous, head-nodding, affirming, geek-inducing read. As she wrote about the books that formed her, memories cascaded over me: where I read My Name Is Asher Lev, the grief I wore like a sweater while reading Cry, the Beloved Country, or the mountain curve that accompanied Sissy Spacek's narration of To Kill a Mockingbird. We both have been nourished by a glorious alphabet of authors: Austen, Berry, Cather, Dickens, Eliot, Fitzgerald, Goudge, Hugo, You were made to be a learner. Book Girl was a joyous, head-nodding, affirming, geek-inducing read. As she wrote about the books that formed her, memories cascaded over me: where I read My Name Is Asher Lev, the grief I wore like a sweater while reading Cry, the Beloved Country, or the mountain curve that accompanied Sissy Spacek's narration of To Kill a Mockingbird. We both have been nourished by a glorious alphabet of authors: Austen, Berry, Cather, Dickens, Eliot, Fitzgerald, Goudge, Hugo, Ishiguro, J.R.R. Tolkien, Keller, C.S. Lewis, Marilynne, Nesbit, O'Brien, Gene Stratton Porter... If our interests were identical, comparing lists could become a listless bore. Sarah's theology recommendations reflect her Anglican faith and Oxford training, referencing many authors I don't know. My own book-about-books would suggest more gems on history, travel, music, gardening, and food. Geek-inducing? For sheer pleasure, I counted the books and poems Sarah mentioned directly in book lists or indirectly in epigraphs and such [389]. Unscientific, I counted series, chronicles, and sagas as one. I tallied which titles I had read [207]; the number of books Sarah recommended which occupy my shelves, as yet unread [23]; and the titles that were already on my TBR (to be read) list on Goodreads or my Wish List at Paperbackswap before I read this book [21]. Kindred, much? Whenever I read a book by a living author, I keep in the back of my mind The Dinner Question. I ask myself, "Would I want to have [author's name] to my house one evening for dinner and conversation?" This doesn't at all mean 'do we agree on most things?' Could I imagine asking her more about herself or could I envision discussing the book in greater depth? The Dinner Answer is an unqualified Yes! I'm afraid if that happened, our husbands would be reduced to silence while we interrupted each other with wild exclamations of wonder and delight.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kalena

    Non-fiction/Book love. This is the BEST book I have read about the love and importance of reading life. While I am autodidactic by nature (so I loved all the lists!), it was more than that. Mrs. Clarkson voices so many of the feelings in my heart regarding how reading has contributed to my salvation (in multiple ways). It is important people understanding she is a Christian and discusses how her reading added to how she walks her Christian life, overcomes struggles, questions the world as we kno Non-fiction/Book love. This is the BEST book I have read about the love and importance of reading life. While I am autodidactic by nature (so I loved all the lists!), it was more than that. Mrs. Clarkson voices so many of the feelings in my heart regarding how reading has contributed to my salvation (in multiple ways). It is important people understanding she is a Christian and discusses how her reading added to how she walks her Christian life, overcomes struggles, questions the world as we know it, and celebrates the imagination. She states, "Next to Scripture and the influence of my parents, great books have formed my worldview, developed my moral imagination, and shaped my idea of virtue." For those who have ever questioned the place fantasy and imagination have in your Christian walk, she answers this well. "A great book meets you in the narrative motion of your own life, showing you in vividly imagined ways exactly what it looks like to be evil or good, brave or cowardly, each of those choices shaping the happy (or tragic) ending of the stories in which they're made." She clearly loves classic literature and holds a special fondness for C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien, L.M. Montgomery, and Wendell Berry. The timelessness of so many of their stories speaks to their wisdom and ability to touch readers of all ages and backgrounds--so powerful! This book articulates how reading and sharing books helps us form our lives, find inspiration and faith, as well as create community (Hello, CFD!). Plus, who could resist a book that celebrates book girls?!? Absolutely loved this!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    I can't finish it. I wanted to like it. The author is very impressed with herself and reminds the reader over and over that she's Oxford educated and blahhhhhh.... she's made me not even care enough to finish this review. I can't finish it. I wanted to like it. The author is very impressed with herself and reminds the reader over and over that she's Oxford educated and blahhhhhh.... she's made me not even care enough to finish this review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This book is such a disappointment to me. The tag line for this book is “A journey through the treasures and transforming power of a reading life.” I expected a book about reading and how reading can enrich your life. And this book only just reaches that mark. The author talks about reading widely and reading great books that “if you read every title in this book, you’d have a rich exposure to some of the best writers around.” The problem I have with this is that there is very little about Clark This book is such a disappointment to me. The tag line for this book is “A journey through the treasures and transforming power of a reading life.” I expected a book about reading and how reading can enrich your life. And this book only just reaches that mark. The author talks about reading widely and reading great books that “if you read every title in this book, you’d have a rich exposure to some of the best writers around.” The problem I have with this is that there is very little about Clarkson’s recommendations that I would consider wide. Her “if you only read these books” lists includes: Austen, Eliot, Dickens, Lewis, Tolkien, and Tolstoy. That’s six out of twelve books that were written by white European writers before 1950. There is not one book mentioned in the entire book (not just on the “must read” list) that is a primary account of a person of color, no book from an LGBTQ perspective. I mean I also love Anne of Green Gables and Jane Austen and Narnia. I do. But there are other books out there that also tell stories of character who inhabit the diverse word we really live in. Take my advice and give this book a hard pass.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    Got about halfway through then skimmed the rest. I usually enjoy books about books, but not this one.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Hurd

    I LOVED this book. Sarah Clarkson is such a treasure. My full review will be posted at Englewood Review of Books within the next few weeks.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Like many book bloggers, reading is one of my biggest hobbies. Talking about my latest read or your favorite book is one of my favorite pastimes. Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson is all about her love of books and reading. In Book Girl, Sarah Clarkson starts about by sharing how she got her love of reading and books. She then shares how books have shaped her life and how she created book lists. She then shares some of her book list categories: books that broaden your world, books can shape your story, Like many book bloggers, reading is one of my biggest hobbies. Talking about my latest read or your favorite book is one of my favorite pastimes. Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson is all about her love of books and reading. In Book Girl, Sarah Clarkson starts about by sharing how she got her love of reading and books. She then shares how books have shaped her life and how she created book lists. She then shares some of her book list categories: books that broaden your world, books can shape your story, books can stir you to action, books can cultivate imagination, books can foster community, books can open your eyes to wonder, books can deepen your soul, and books can impart hope. In each of these sections, Clarkson shares books that can affect readers in ways related to each section. She shares about the books that she has found to be helpful in each of these areas and why she recommends them. She closes Book Girl with the importance of passing books and the love of reading to those coming behind us and to those around us. Clarkson's passion for books comes through in Book Girl. As someone who shares her love of reading and books, I enjoyed this book. It is a keeper for me and one I will refer to again. I found some new titles to add to my reading list and I appreciated the fact that some of my favorites were also some of her favorites. It was like getting together with another bookish friend and gushing over books together. I would recommend this book to all other book lover girls out there. I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    ryan elizabeth

    3.25/5 This was a cool book, but I wasn't expecting it to be so focused on classics. I was hoping for some modern gems that I haven't heard of before (since this is basically a book of recommendations), but I've heard of almost all of the books mentioned (outside of the theology sections...and I just skimmed for the most part because they sounded so boring tbh). Also, I got this vibe that the author thought that her favorites are superior to any other books. Of course I understand it's pretty muc 3.25/5 This was a cool book, but I wasn't expecting it to be so focused on classics. I was hoping for some modern gems that I haven't heard of before (since this is basically a book of recommendations), but I've heard of almost all of the books mentioned (outside of the theology sections...and I just skimmed for the most part because they sounded so boring tbh). Also, I got this vibe that the author thought that her favorites are superior to any other books. Of course I understand it's pretty much a book about her favorites, but people have different opinions and are any books really objectively the best? I wasn't a huge fan of the writing style. It sounded very formal and intellectual, if that makes sense? Well-written, but sometimes a pain to read. I had to push through to get past certain sections. While this book about books has a neat concept, I thought it lacked in a few areas. I'd probably only recommend it to Christian moms (who aren't readers) looking for books for their kids. And even then, I think it'd be smarter to just search some book lists on the internet. 🤷 I did like the sections about how reading affects your faith! I loved hearing her thoughts on escapism and the benefits of reading for your spiritual and mental health. Honestly, I think this book would've been much better as a memoir only.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Samantha B

    This is such a lovely book for anyone who has ever loved a book, and anyone who has ever wondered if there were other people who loved books as much as they did. (This is not something that most of the book blogosphere wonders, methinks, but it was something I was wondering when I read it for the first time a couple of years ago). It's composed of essays about being a "book girl", with book lists that go along with the essays. Both the lists and essays are delightfully cozy, and bring you into t This is such a lovely book for anyone who has ever loved a book, and anyone who has ever wondered if there were other people who loved books as much as they did. (This is not something that most of the book blogosphere wonders, methinks, but it was something I was wondering when I read it for the first time a couple of years ago). It's composed of essays about being a "book girl", with book lists that go along with the essays. Both the lists and essays are delightfully cozy, and bring you into the author's world. The book lists are obviously highly individual to her, but it was so fun for me to have a window into her reading life, to see where our reading had overlapped, and to find new books to look forward to! One caveat: I'm not sure why I thought it was a good idea to read a book full of book recommendations when I was already being slowly smothered by my TBR, but...there's almost twenty more books on my TBR now. (Good books, though, by all appearances. XD) So: let the reader be warned. Four stars!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Trace

    The title of this book and even the cover seem to hint at a very light hearted look at the reading life. It was my trust in the Clarkson family that urged me to read it. Instead of a frivolous look at books - it is a very serious argument for the reading life with an extremely worthwhile reading list. Reading the books suggested in this book would provide a deep and well-rounded classical education. Excellent book that I highly recommend. I had listened to this on Audible but will be purchasing The title of this book and even the cover seem to hint at a very light hearted look at the reading life. It was my trust in the Clarkson family that urged me to read it. Instead of a frivolous look at books - it is a very serious argument for the reading life with an extremely worthwhile reading list. Reading the books suggested in this book would provide a deep and well-rounded classical education. Excellent book that I highly recommend. I had listened to this on Audible but will be purchasing a hardcopy of it for my library.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Rather interesting read. Provided a lot of interesting information and I have to agree with her on some points. Ms. Clarkson also provides some suggestions on books that I look forward to reading.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This was a treasure of a book. She articulates, with a Biblical perspective, what we already know about the importance of reading and passing this love of reading to our children. It also includes over 20 book lists from which I added to my "to read" list. This was a treasure of a book. She articulates, with a Biblical perspective, what we already know about the importance of reading and passing this love of reading to our children. It also includes over 20 book lists from which I added to my "to read" list.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    Part memoir, part book recommendations, part... spiritual observations? Her book lists are good, with many titles I already know or love. But she repeats recommendations several different times across the chapters, which felt a little strange. I'd like to flip through a hardcopy, to see the format and try to understand the overlap and repetitions. I'm pretty sure in one chapter she said it took her six months to work through The Brothers Karamazov, and in the next chapter she said it took her si Part memoir, part book recommendations, part... spiritual observations? Her book lists are good, with many titles I already know or love. But she repeats recommendations several different times across the chapters, which felt a little strange. I'd like to flip through a hardcopy, to see the format and try to understand the overlap and repetitions. I'm pretty sure in one chapter she said it took her six months to work through The Brothers Karamazov, and in the next chapter she said it took her six days. If you're into the subculture of Lewis, Tolkien, and the Inklings, it's worth a read. A good companion to other books like Surprised by Oxford. To all the atheists writing one-star reviews, complaining this book is too religious, read the synopsis you guys: it literally says it's about spiritual life and faith.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This book feels as though it was for me and to me. I want to improve my reading life. I want to remember what I have read. I want to be able to tell someone my favorite books. I want to know and begin to understand better quality writing. Sarah Clarkson's focus in this book does all of these things and more. She offers book lists from people she respects as readers and friends, she makes me feel comfortable and okay with where I am in my reading and this book will gently guide me to better readi This book feels as though it was for me and to me. I want to improve my reading life. I want to remember what I have read. I want to be able to tell someone my favorite books. I want to know and begin to understand better quality writing. Sarah Clarkson's focus in this book does all of these things and more. She offers book lists from people she respects as readers and friends, she makes me feel comfortable and okay with where I am in my reading and this book will gently guide me to better reading. Between this book and Anne Bogel's Book Club I look forward to this year being my year of better reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susy *MotherLambReads*

    This book has been on my radar ever since it came out. So glad I finally borrowed it from a friend (actually I gave it as a present) and then borrowed it back. lol. I need it for my own reference book though, “A woman who reads is a woman who knows she must act: in courage, in creativity, in kindness, and often in defiance of the darkness around her. She understands that life itself is a story and that she has the power to shape her corner of the drama.” I felt like Sarah was my personal coach/men This book has been on my radar ever since it came out. So glad I finally borrowed it from a friend (actually I gave it as a present) and then borrowed it back. lol. I need it for my own reference book though, “A woman who reads is a woman who knows she must act: in courage, in creativity, in kindness, and often in defiance of the darkness around her. She understands that life itself is a story and that she has the power to shape her corner of the drama.” I felt like Sarah was my personal coach/mentor- guiding me through the lense of reading and books worthy of being read. This is a book about books. And yes my TBR grew and I also noted a lot of authors she mentioned are already on my TBR list. It was in some sense a balm to my soul- I'm on the right track. Sarah, I feel like, is more philosophical (theological) than I will ever be- and because of this it was so eye opening and refreshing to see how she gets glimpses of truth and goodness in everything she reads- regardless of author or genre. Her book is divided in sections of books that will do this you: * Broaden your word * Shape your story * Still you to action * Cultivate your imagination * Foster community * Open your eyes to wonder * Deepen your soul * Impart hope " A book girl is one who has looked through imagined eyes vastly differences from her own so that her view of the world is broad and bright with countless varied perspectives. But a savvy book girl also knows that she who walks with the wise becomes wise, and the view points she inhabits imagination will shape the woman she becomes.”

  29. 5 out of 5

    Danette

    Sarah Clarkson loves books. She is passionate about books and reading and it makes me more passionate too. This volume includes chapters such as: "Books Can Shape Your Story", "Books Can Cultivate the Imagination", or "God is Big Enough: Spiritual Books That Helped Me through Seasons of Struggle", each with a list of Sarah's favorite books. She also includes book lists from her friends and mentors. Sarah wrote another book on reading to children but she includes some of her suggestions for child Sarah Clarkson loves books. She is passionate about books and reading and it makes me more passionate too. This volume includes chapters such as: "Books Can Shape Your Story", "Books Can Cultivate the Imagination", or "God is Big Enough: Spiritual Books That Helped Me through Seasons of Struggle", each with a list of Sarah's favorite books. She also includes book lists from her friends and mentors. Sarah wrote another book on reading to children but she includes some of her suggestions for children here as well. "The research is clear on the power of reading to drive education, to widen possibility. But beyond that, books offer children the chance to enter life itself as a story, to see themselves as heroes and heroines with great adventures and battles and loves just beginning. That is an irreplaceable gift." I read with Goodreads and my library hold request page open. :) 2020 A book by someone you think you could be friends with.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Mead

    This book... how do I even describe it... It's like sitting down with a kindred spirit at the end of a long hard week and being able to share our hearts together... This was just such a heart-warming, refreshing read, with so much wisdom and joy and beauty packed between the pages to be gleaned! As a reader, as a woman, as a writer - my heart needed this book. It came to me at a moment where I was feeling spiritually and creatively low. But as I journeyed through the pages, I felt that my heart This book... how do I even describe it... It's like sitting down with a kindred spirit at the end of a long hard week and being able to share our hearts together... This was just such a heart-warming, refreshing read, with so much wisdom and joy and beauty packed between the pages to be gleaned! As a reader, as a woman, as a writer - my heart needed this book. It came to me at a moment where I was feeling spiritually and creatively low. But as I journeyed through the pages, I felt that my heart and soul were being gently nudged awake, pushed towards Christ, and being given the permission once again to dream and revel in the wonder of story. This book is a gem, and I know I will be coming back to it again and again.

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