Monday, November 23, 2015

Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers by Sally Allen (Review and GIVEAWAY)

Unlocking Worlds is a delightful book for the book lover.  Writer, teacher, and book lover Sally Allen writes about reading and the love of books while also putting together 15 themed lists of great books with wonderful descriptions.

I learned by reading Allen’s thoughts and lists that not only is she a “bookworm,” but her taste in books also match mine.  I loved reading her descriptions of books I have read and loved, but I also really loved her descriptions of books that I haven’t read yet.  My copy of the book is literally stuffed full of colored bookmark sticker tags marking new books that I want to read for myself and also excellent suggestions that I believe my book club would also enjoy.  Each chapter started with description of the overall theme before it listed each book with a brief description.

A great list for read this time of year is “Chapter 16:  Reads for the Fall and Winter Holidays.”  A new short story I want to read is by one of my favorite classic English authors, “Christmas at Thompson Hall” by Anthony Trollope.  I also love Edith Wharton and will need to read Tales of Men and Ghosts next Halloween.

Sally Allen and I both share a love of British novels (Chapter 13).  I have read many of her suggestions including Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding, etc., but I have read High Fidelity by Nick Hornby or White Teeth by Zadie Smith.  I know that we share a love for the same types of British novels and now I have some ones to try out!
I love “Novels that Play with Time and Space (Chapter 3)” and was surprised that I haven’t actually read any of the books in this chapter.  I have plenty of new books from this chapter on my “to read” list including Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, and Landline by Rainbow Rowell among others.

I love one of the last chapters entitled “Reconciling with the Inevitable:  We Can’t Read All Books.”  I remember once having this discussion with my favorite English teacher and friend Mrs. Smith.  Allen gives tips on how to get the most enjoyment out of reading such as keeping track of the books you read (I do with my blog), reading a book referenced in a book you just read, and reading a beloved childhood favorite.  I love all of these tips and more that are included in the book.  I also enjoyed her tip about author talks.  She states that if you can’t attend them in person, you should listen to them on YouTube.  I don’t know why I have never done that!

Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the ending where her young niece asks why she has a book in her handbag.  She replies:

“’I always carry a book,’ I said.

There is really no explanation.  I mean, at what point, exactly, had I been thinking I should pull out my book and read?  While driving?  While strolling at the campgrounds?  While dining with four adults and three children at a restaurant?  But still.  I can never resist bringing a book with me.  Of all the ‘essential’ items I’m likely to leave behind when rushing from my home – my mobile, my wallet, even my keys – I cannot recall ever forgetting to bring a book  Just in case.”  

I live in exactly this way myself with a book always on hand.  Overall, Unlocking Worlds by Sally Allen is a love letter to readers everywhere.  If you love books, you will love reading this book about reading, loving books, reading about great books to remember an old beloved book or find some ideas for a new read.  

Book Source:  Review Copy as a part of IRead Book Tours - Thanks!


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  1. Laura, this book sound perfect for book lovers like us! I will share it with my readers in my blog's sidebar. Thank you for hosting this terrific giveaway!

  2. Thank-you - it is a perfect book for those who love reading!!

  3. Thank you for this lovely review! I loved what you wrote at the end: "love letter to readers everywhere." That is exactly how I feel and what inspired me to write, and I'm thrilled that you experienced it this way. :)

  4. Thank-you for stopping by Sally Allen! I'm glad I experienced it the way that you had written it. It was a great book. I've already put it on my shelf of good books that I want to reference again!

  5. I LOVE this book. Like you said it's a love letter to us kindred spirits in books. :-)