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Rebecca Mead

Journey into some favorite books with a “bibliomemoir”

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I retain only the vaguest impressions of George Eliot’s Middlemarch. I read it as a 19-year-old study abroad student in England, too busy exploring a new country and having my first romance to fully appreciate an 800-page treasure of literature. I certainly missed out on the life-changing experience with Eliot that Rebecca Mead, author of the recent My Life in Middlemarch, had as an English teenager in rural Dorset. Now 45 and a New Yorker staff writer, Mead has reread Middlemarch countless times, always gleaning new emotional and philosophical insights. Virginia Woolf famously called Middlemarch “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” and though Mead first met it as an adolescent, it has carried her through into…

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