About Dirda’s Reading Room

Welcome to Dirda’s Reading Room, your online place to talk about books and reading, an internet Café de Flore or Cedar Tavern, where you can hang out at any time. Of course, this being the 21st century, you won’t be able to argue with Sartre or Frank O’Hara. Instead, you’ll have each other, plus this Michael Dirda guy. Think of Dirda’s Reading Room as a clean, well-lighted place, where the talk can range from Sappho to science fiction, from neglected classics to current best sellers, part salon, part neighborhood saloon.

So that makes me, I guess, half Madame de La Fayette, half Joe the Bartender, which could make figuring out how to dress something of a problem.

I hope you’ll stop by regularly, as I’ll be starting new discussion threads often. To kick each one off, I might mention a novel or biography I’m reading or a recent discovery in a used bookshop. I might comment on some bit of publishing news or wax nostalgic about small-town libraries and the never-ending search for a good reading chair. I will certainly react to and comment on some of your postings. Together we might discuss the urge to collect, the care of books, reading online, movies made from classic novels, literary prizes, what it means to be well-read, whether Philip Pullman is better than J.K. Rowling and if Joan Aiken is superior to both, and on and on. As Ecclesiastes almost says, “Of the talking about many books, there is no end.” — Michael Dirda

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