We are what we read, according to Robert DiYanni. Reading may delight us or move us; we may read for instruction or inspiration. But more than this, in reading we discover ourselves. We gain access to the lives of others, explore the limitless possibilities of human existence, develop our understanding of the world around us, and find respite from the hectic demands of everyday life. In You Are What You Read, DiYanni provides a practical guide that shows how we can increase the benefits and pleasures of literature by becoming more skillful and engaged readers.
DiYanni suggests that we attend first to what authors say and the way in which they say it, rather than rushing to decide what they mean. He considers the various forms of literature, from the essay to the novel, the short story to the poem, demonstrating rewarding approaches to each in sample readings of classic works. Through a series of illuminating oppositions, he explores the paradoxical pleasures of reading: solitary versus social reading, submitting to or resisting the author, reading inwardly or outwardly, and more. DiYanni closes with nine recommended reading practices, thoughts on the different experiences of print and digital reading, and advice on what to read and why.
Written in a clear, inviting, and natural style, You Are What You Read is an essential guide for all who want to enrich their reading—and their life.
Awards and Recognition
- A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year
Robert DiYanni is adjunct professor of humanities at New York University. His recent books include The Craft of College Teaching (Princeton) and Critical Reading Across the Curriculum. He lives in Bedford, New York.
“You Are What You Read is simply a joy. The book enlarges our imaginations, yields moments of deepest pleasure, and helps us fathom the complexities of our own lives. DiYanni provides practical strategies that guide readers to a sustained, significant appreciation of literary works. The elegant applications of reading principles combined with engaging instructional approaches make this work required reading for all current and future English instructors.”—Linda Costanzo Cahir, Kean University
“Robert DiYanni’s You Are What You Read is an ardent, well-conceived guide to how readers can improve their experience of a diverse range of literary texts. At a time when skepticism about the humanities abounds, DiYanni offers a valuable window into the ways our inner lives flourish and expand under the influence of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction prose.”—David Haven Blake, author of Walt Whitman and the Culture of American Celebrity
“Ours is a time when reading books as an art of joyful self-expansion and self-liberation is in decline—and, among many of us, in danger of being lost. This book is a lifeline thrown to us all. DiYanni calls, enables, and even inspires us to retrieve a precious spiritual resource.”—Thomas L. Pangle and Lorraine Smith Pangle, University of Texas at Austin
“As we follow DiYanni through the world’s vast labyrinth of books, we are in the company of a seasoned, talented reader and an alert mind motivated by a heartfelt passion for reading and grounded in a genuine sense of humanity.”—William V. Costanzo, SUNY Teaching Professor of English and Film
“DiYanni’s skillful, nuanced, and stimulating analyses will open windows into books familiar and unfamiliar, offering all the satisfactions of a conversation with an intelligent guide.”—Maria Carrig, Carthage College