> Skip to content

What do books mean to you? A lively and enjoyable book about books, from bestselling writer Tim Parks

Should you finish every book you start?

How has your family influenced the way you read?

What is literary style?

How is the Nobel Prize like the World Cup?

Why do you hate the book your friend likes?

Is writing really just like any other job?

What happens to your brain when you read a good book?

As a novelist, translator and critic, Tim Parks is well-placed to investigate any questions we have about books and reading. In this collection of lively and provocative pieces he talks about what readers want from books and how to look at the literature we encounter in a new light.

These pieces were originally published as columns in the New York Review of Books.


A book about reading that only makes you want to read more and a book about writing that needs to be read

Tim Adams, Observer

Long overdue, challenging and absorbing

Alan Taylor, Herald

Parks has the ability to make other writes seem not just enriching but exciting as well

Sam Jordison, Independent

This book will make you think about what and how you read

Bridie Pritchard, UK Press Syndication

Insightful, provocative, funny and frightening, this wry, fast-paced and passionate series of essays encourages us to re-evaluate our perception of reading and books

Good Book Guide

I love Tim Parks.

William Leith, Evening Standard

Stimulating and genuinely thought-provoking collection of pieces.

The Herald

Pacy and thought provoking.

Rebecca Kershaw, Nudge

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    January 4, 2016


    272 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    November 6, 2014

    Vintage Digital

    272 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks