In a series of articles, originally written for the New York Review of books, Tim Parks writes about the place of literature in the world — and the purpose of reading and writing. He asks and discusses questions such as: Do we need stories? Does money make us write better stories? He is quite happy to overturn perceived wisdom — such as the value of the Nobel Prize is in recognising great literature and why copyright matters.
As an Englishman living and working in Italy (as a literature professor and a translator of novels), he has a very interesting position about global literature — suggesting the growing sales around translated literature can mean that some writers are eyeing the market and adapting their writing to make it more international and translatable, rather than telling truer stories about their own culture.
One particularly interesting essay is about how family dynamics and values can affect what you are reading. For avid readers, this book makes you think about what and how you read .