Stop What You're Doing And Read This!

Stop What You're Doing And Read This!

Summary

In any 24 hours there might be sleeping, eating, kids, parents, friends, lovers, work, school, travel, deadlines, emails, phone calls, Facebook, Twitter, the news, the TV, Playstation, music, movies, sport, responsibilities, passions, desires, dreams.

Why should you stop what you're doing and read a book?

People have always needed stories. We need literature - novels, poetry - because we need to make sense of our lives, test our depths, understand our joys and discover what humans are capable of. Great books can provide companionship when we are lonely or peacefulness in the midst of an overcrowded daily life. Reading provides a unique kind of pleasure and no-one should live without it.

In the ten essays in this book some of our finest authors and passionate advocates from the worlds of science, publishing, technology and social enterprise tell us about the experience of reading, why access to books should never be taken forgranted, how reading transforms our brains, and how literature can save lives. In any 24 hours there are so many demands on your time and attention - make books one of them.

Carmen Callil Tim Parks
Nicholas Carr Michael Rosen
Jane Davis Zadie Smith
Mark Haddon Jeanette Winterson
Blake Morrison Dr Maryanne Wolf & Dr Mirit Barzillai

Reviews

  • A strong argument for making "reading more" one of your new Year's Resolutions
    Metro

About the authors

Mark Haddon

Mark Haddon is a writer and artist. His bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, was published simultaneously by Jonathan Cape and David Fickling in 2003. It won seventeen literary prizes, including the Whitbread Award. In 2012, a stage adaptation by Simon Stephens was produced by the National Theatre and went on to win 7 Olivier Awards in 2013 and the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play. In 2005 his poetry collection, The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea, was published by Picador, and his play, Polar Bears, was produced by the Donmar Warehouse in 2010. His most recent novel, The Red House, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2012. The Pier Falls, a collection of short stories, was also published by Cape in 2016. To commemorate the centenary of the Hogarth Press he wrote and illustrated a short story that appeared alongside Virginia Woolf's first story for the press in Two Stories (Hogarth, 2017).
Learn More

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen is one of the best-known figures in the children's book world. He is renowned for his work as a poet, performer, broadcaster and scriptwriter. He visits schools with his one-man show to enthuse children with his passion for books and poetry. In 2007 he was appointed Children's Laureate, a role which he held until 2009. While Laureate, he set up The Roald Dahl Funny Prize. He currently lives in London with his wife and children.
Learn More

Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith is the author of the novels White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW and Swing Time, as well as three collections of essays, Changing My Mind, Feel Free and Intimations, and a collection of short stories, Grand Union.

White Teeth won multiple awards, including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award. On Beauty was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction, and NW was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

Zadie Smith is currently a tenured professor of fiction at New York University and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is a regular contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books.
Learn More

Carmen Callil

Carmen Callil was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, but has spent most of her career in the United Kingdom. She founded Virago Press in 1973 and in 1982 became Managing Director of Chatto & Windus, also remaining Chair of Virago until 1995, when she retired from both publishing houses. She co-edited, with Colm Tóibín, The Modern Library: The 200 Best Novels in English since 1950, and her first book, Bad Faith: A Forgotten History of Family and Fatherland, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Award.
Learn More

Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson CBE was born in Manchester. Adopted by Pentecostal parents she was raised to be a missionary. This did and didn't work out.

Discovering early the power of books she left home at 16 to live in a Mini and get on with her education. After graduating from Oxford University she worked for a while in the theatre and published her first novel at 25. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is based on her own upbringing but using herself as a fictional character. She scripted the novel into a BAFTA-winning BBC drama. 27 years later she re-visited that material in the bestselling memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? She has written 12 novels for adults, as well as children's books, non-fiction and screenplays. She is Professor of New Writing at the University of Manchester. She lives in the Cotswolds in a wood and in Spitalfields, London.

She believes that art is for everyone and it is her mission to prove it.
Learn More

Tim Parks

Born in Manchester, Tim Parks grew up in London and studied at Cambridge and Harvard. He lives in Milan.

Parks is the acclaimed author of novels, non-fiction and essays, including Europa, A Season with Verona, Teach Us to Sit Still, Italian Ways and Italian Life. He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and has won many awards for both his work in English and his translations from the Italian, which include works by Alberto Moravia, Italo Calvino, Roberto Calasso, Antonio Tabucchi and Niccolò Machiavelli.
Learn More

Blake Morrison

Born in Skipton, Yorkshire, Blake Morrison is the author of bestselling memoirs, And When Did You Last See Your Father? (winner of the J.R. Ackerley Prize for Autobiography and the Esquire Award for Non-Fiction) and Things My Mother Never Told Me ('the must read book of the year' - Tony Parsons),. He also wrote a study of the disturbing child murder, the Bulger case, As If. His acclaimed recent novels include South of the River and The Last Weekend. He is also a poet, critic, journalist and librettist. He lives in South London.
Learn More

Dr Maryanne Wolf

Learn More

Mirit Barzillai

Learn More

Nicholas Carr

Nicholas Carr is the author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, a 2011 Pulitzer Prize nominee and a New York Times bestseller, as well as two other influential books, The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google (2008) and Does IT Matter? (2004). His books have been translated into more than 20 languages. (www.nicholascarr.com)
Learn More

Jane Davis

Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more