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Download When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays, by Marilynne Robinson, Ben Tripp Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (611 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Marilynne Robinson, Ben Tripp Narrator: Steve West, Marilynne Robinson Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged edition Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Since the 1981 publication of Marilynne Robinson’s novel,Housekeeping—a stunning debut that was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize—she has built a sterling reputation not only as a writer of sharp, subtly moving prose, but also as a rigorous thinker and incisive essayist. Her compelling and demanding collection The Death of Adam—in which she reflected on her Presbyterian upbringing, investigated the roots of Midwestern abolitionism, and mounted a memorable defense of Calvinism—is respected as a classic of the genre, praised by Doris Lessing as “a useful antidote to the increasingly crude and slogan-loving culture we inhabit.” 

In this new collection she returns to the themes which have preoccupied her work: the role of faith in modern life, the inadequacy of fact, the contradictions inherent in human nature. Clear-eyed and forceful as ever, Robinson demonstrates once again why she is regarded as a modern rhetorical master.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A glimmering, provocative collection of essays, each a rhetorically brilliant, deeply felt exploration of education, culture, and politics…Beautifully intelligent.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Robinson is that rare essayist whose sentences make you sit up and pay attention…The greatest pleasures of this book are its provocations, which are inseparable from its prose…Her essays are psalms to an indivisible America.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Illuminating…The best companion of all to Robinson’s novels might be her own essays.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Elegant essays…Reading [them] is like taking a draught of water from a cold spring. They offer us something rewarding, deeply essential, and long-sought.”

    Washington Post

  • “A broadside defense of literature and classic liberalism…Her defense of our national character and the systems it created can swell your heart.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “The indomitable Marilynne Robinson radiates genius in her collection of essays.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “One of the most remarkable of modern writers…This is a rare writer about America and one it seems to me we need.”

    Buffalo News

  • A 2012 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book for Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2012 Economist Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 New York Times Editor’s Choice

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jane | 2/10/2014

    " I'm sorry I cannot do justice to Robinson's books of essays. I am truly sorry. I wish I had the necessary focus and determination to persevere in reading her cumbersome prose style. Each time I sat down to confront my weakness, my mind wandered to the stack of less worthy but more approachable books awaiting me. I found myself paging quickly, skimming rather than devouring her words. A couple of essays on Old Testament teaching on liberality should be required reading for Tea Party conservatives, and I appreciated Robinson's making the case that goodness involves generosity to the less fortunate. Otherwise, I leave this one to those wiser than myself, and look forward to Robinson's next fictional effort. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Marc | 2/10/2014

    " An unfair and tentative rating of three stars - I intently read about a third of this book, intently skimmed the rest. It's not that it's bad, but I don't have the focus or background knowledge to capitalize on what it's offering, at least right now. Robinson's nonfiction's style is too bookish and academic for me, i.e., too high-fallutin'. I feel like I'm actually in a highly polished version of Robinson's thought stream, which is super verbose, dense and each thought comes without much preamble to soften its impact. It's just hard to follow, and very self-assured and not seemingly very democratic in its appeal. Hard to read even though I am a charitable party who'd probably agree with her on most points. Highly politically-charged. I liked the one about Austerity. Still interested in reading more by her, but this sampling was discouragingly cold and remote for me, even though I like lots of Robinson's ideas--just not their form of expression in this collection of essays. Maybe I'll come back to this when I'm more patient and willing to go to my iPhone dictionary more often. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Liz | 1/27/2014

    " She read seriously as a child - her choices of books were limited but they were books with big ideas. Why her novels are so thoughtful - the basis for her humanity and severity toward her characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jackson | 1/8/2014

    " I think that Marilynne Robinson is a tonic of rigor. Thank you for forcing me away from the surface to study the underpinnings of some old bases. It gives me a sort of slight headache -- the way philosophy and literary criticism do -- the way my muscles do when they've not had to work very hard and all of a sudden are called upon the rake a whole parkful of leaves. "

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