Autobibliography

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Pub Date 04 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 01 Nov 2021

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Description

'Exhilarating and highly entertaining ... colourful, scabrous, humorous and laced with arcane literary knowledge' Sunday Times

'The funniest novel I've read since January ... unashamedly navel-gazing, slyly cosmopolitan and an absolute blast' Daily Mail

'Doyle's storytelling is compelling and engaging, suffused with wit, honesty and emotional intelligence' Irish Times

In my case, reading has always served a dual purpose. In a positive sense, it offers sustenance, enlightenment, the bliss of fascination. In a negative sense, it is a means of withdrawal, of inhabiting a reality quarantined from one that often comes across as painful, alarming or downright distasteful. In the former sense, reading is like food; in the latter, it is like drugs or alcohol.

In Autobibliography, Rob Doyle recounts a year spent rereading fifty-two books - from the Dhammapada and Marcus Aurelius, via The Tibetan Book of the Dead and La Rochefoucauld, to Robert Bolano and Svetlana Alexievich - as well as the memories they trigger and the reverberations they create. It is a record of a year in reading, and of a lifetime of books.

Provocative, intelligent and funny, it is a brilliant introduction to a personal canon by one of the most original and exciting writers around. It is a book about books, a book about reading, and a book about a writer. It is an autobibliography.

Praise for Threshold

'Extraordinary, quite unlike anything I've read before' John Boyne

'Exhilarating and highly entertaining ... colourful, scabrous, humorous and laced with arcane literary knowledge' Sunday Times

'The funniest novel I've read since January ... unashamedly navel-gazing...


Advance Praise

'Exhilarating and highly entertaining ... colourful, scabrous, humorous and laced with arcane literary knowledge' Sunday Times

'The funniest novel I've read since January ... unashamedly navel-gazing, slyly cosmopolitan and an absolute blast' Daily Mail

'Doyle's storytelling is compelling and engaging, suffused with wit, honesty and emotional intelligence' Irish Times

'Extraordinary, quite unlike anything I've read before' John Boyne

'Exhilarating and highly entertaining ... colourful, scabrous, humorous and laced with arcane literary knowledge' Sunday Times

'The funniest novel I've read since January ... unashamedly navel-gazing...


Available Editions

ISBN 9781800750524
PRICE £12.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 7 members


Featured Reviews

In the plethora of Irish auto-fiction in recent years, this stands out as a fresh take. Doyle's is an erudite voice from his stories to reviews to his recent well-told story in the Dublin review of how he became the voice of a car brand. This book tells his story through reviews of books and authors who have influenced him. The variety is expansive. From Aurelius to Houellebecq and some Freud along the way, he shares intimate details of his story and lays his soul bare. As one of the first books to emerge from lockdown, this gives an added twist as the universal experience which we have all shared. As with his columns on which the book is loosely based it is a book lovers dream as it serves as a reminder of forgotten classics such as Amis' London Fields as well as opinions such as that of Will Self on literary prizes - 'prizes are only for pets'. Wonderful - one to be dipped into which will never disappoint. Ideal Christmas gift for the book lover

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I loved this, and then some. A must read for anyone who relishes an afternoon in a comfy chair with a cup of tea reading a book.

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It might not be essential reading, but I really enjoyed Rob Doyle's highly personal "survey of the [52] books that helped shaped me", based on a column he wrote during the pandemic for The Irish Times. His range of reference is wide, his approach is entertaining and revealing (sometimes more so than might be good for him) and you can learn or be reminded about all kinds of books (most not novels), from Bolano and Koestler to Sontag and Didion. The book itself may not deliver on his claim to "admire writers who at least try to live up to Nietzsche's cunning boast that he could say in ten sentences what other writers say in whole books", but it comes closer than many. His style and honesty reminded me of his friend, Geoff Dyer (whose excellent But Beautiful is one the 52) and that is a compliment.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s something so delightful about reading a book about reading books. Books are a very personal pastime, and what books we read can tell a lot about who we are as a person, so in this book, Doyle has effectively bared his soul to us. Doyle writes so passionately about his choice of books that I can’t help but want to read them all, even ones where the topic wouldn’t normally interest me. Thanks to this book, I have started a t of books mentioned in other books that I hope one day to read. What is amazing is how each person understands translated and classic books. I’ve read a number of them in my time - not like Doyle in this book - and I think everyone gets a different meaning and feeling from these books, and that’s what makes a book discussion with other bibliophile so fascinating.

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