The cover of "Books Promiscuously Read"

Books Promiscuously Read

Heather Cass White, PhD ’98

White, who teaches English at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, is best known for editing several collections of work by the American modernist poet Marianne Moore. Here, she explores the pleasures of reading itself and contemplates its transformative power. The book—subtitled Reading as a Way of Life—is divided into three sections that focus on different ways of thinking about the act of consuming literature: as play, as transgression, and as insight. “Readers like to have books around because they continue to murmur after they have been read; they are living extensions of our minds into a space not wholly ours,” she writes. “A book is an object and a subject, a dweller halfway between alive and not alive.” As an NPR reviewer said of White’s volume: “It was so engrossing that I couldn’t put it down, and I think that was actually the point,” going on to call it “a book that tells you that your guilty pleasure is actually not guilty. It’s formative to your inner life.”