Book review: A Velocity of Being

Everything about A Velocity of Being is wonderful, starting with the heft of it, the cover illustration, even the very paper it’s made with has a fine textural quality.

And then you can open the book to any page, and start reading, and looking at the pictures, because each letter is independent of the others. A visual response faces each letter. It’s a feast of stories. It’s for the ‘young reader’ in all of us. The writers and illustrators donated their time to this project, and all profits will go to the New York public library system. (Feeling the warm fuzzies already?)

Dip in and out, or consume cover to cover, which ever way you approach the book, your conviction of the power of reading will increase. Over and over again the writers express how books saved them, made them and expanded their world. Dreams do come true in books, it seems.

I underlined many sentences in this book. Here are three:

“We read as a form of faith.” Naomi Woolf. p94

“…books will help you feel your own feelings…” Andrew Solomon. p.100″The written word is the most deceptively simple tool, because it lets you impact the thoughts of others – through time and distance.” Ev Williams. p.132

Co-editor Maria Popova is the creator of Brainpickings and a reader in the most voracious sense of the word. I commend you to subscribe to her weekly newsletter of thoughtful writing.

And Claudia Bedrick is a publisher, editor and art director of Enchanted Lion Books.

Learn more about Maria Popova by listening to Krista Tippett’s enlightening podcast interview with her, where she is described as a ‘cartographer of meaning in a digital age’. (Explore the extraordinary On Being website sometime. There’s even a page to welcome newcomers.)

A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader, Edited by Maria Popova & Claudia Bedrick, published by Enchanted Lion Books. Cover art by Ping Zhu.

What would you write in a letter to your younger reading self?

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