The Open Door

The Book of the Week is “The Open Door” — David R. Godine, Publisher, 1989.  This slim volume is a compilation of autobiographical passages of 29 writers recounting the context of their enjoyment of reading. Those mostly male English and American writers range from Ben Franklin to Stephen King.

W.B. Yeats relates that at the start of his formal education, his father discouraged him from reading “boys’ papers.” The reason given was that “… a paper, by its very nature, had to be made for the average boy or man and so could not but thwart one’s growth.”

Eudora Welty wanted to be poor, as were the characters in “Four Little Peppers.” She explains, “Trouble, the backbone of literature, was still to me the original property of the fairy tale, and as long as there was plenty of trouble for everybody and the rewards for it were falling in the right spots, reading was all smooth sailing.”