My Dirda Little Secret

by Timothy Lusch

I Wanna Be Like Mike

Books, Essays, & Reviews by Michael Dirda

If you aren’t much of a reader, he will make you want to be. If you are an avid reader, he will make you think a lifespan too short, no matter how long it is. If you think reading is the same as breathing, and you obsess over stacks of unread books, and you keep accumulating books, on Kindle or in stores, even though you know it is mathematically impossible to read them all, doing nothing else, by the time you die, even if you live forever, well…this man will still remind you what you are missing in BookWorld. He is Michael Dirda, reader, author, and guide to all things bookish.

Make no mistake, he is no snooty aesthete who looks down on popular publishing as low brow for the low down. A fan of science fiction, detective stories, and supernatural tales, Dirda offers something for everyone. Even when he writes of classical literature, art, and poetry (provinces of the pretentious, both in readers and critics), he does so as a kind of Everyman Reader. He writes as excitedly about ghost stories as he does about the classics. Many times I have read a column of his in the Washington Post, Barnes & Noble Review, or New York Review of Books, and immediately ordered books he reviewed  or referenced, or started reading the ones I had. And any recommendation Dirda made, has yet to disappoint. For some, reading about books is as pleasurable as reading books, but Michael Dirda makes you want to do both and nothing else. So give yourself a Christmas gift. Not another book, but the time to read it. Then do it.

“For me, the two weeks between Christmas and Twelfth Night have come to be reserved for desultory reading. The pressure of the holiday is over, the weather outside is frightful, there are lots of leftovers to munch on, vacation hours are being used up.”