Book review: Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers by Sally Allen


Book Details:

Book Title:  Unlocking Worlds:  A Reading Companion for Book Lovers by Sally Allen
Category:  Adult non-fiction, 225 pages
Genre:  Books and reading
Publisher:  Griffins Wharf
Release date:  November 2015
Available for review in:  Print, ebook (PDF)
Will send print books:  Internationally
Tour dates:  Nov 16 – December 18, 2015
Content Rating:  G

Book Description: 

Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don’t just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own.

In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately—and compassionately—can unlock the world beyond our back yard. Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection. Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can’t leave the house without a book in hand.

Buy the book:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Salley Allen author pic

About the author:  

Award winning writer and teacher Sally Allen holds a Ph.D. from New York University in English Education, with an emphasis in writing and rhetoric, and a M.A. in English Language and Literature. She teaches writing, literature, and communications, leads book group discussions, and is the founder and editor of Books, Ink at HamletHub.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter 


What a wonderful reading companion!

This  book should be on every reader’s library with an update every few years (I hope I’m not getting Sally all stressed out about this… 😀 )  The one thing I didn’t like was the cover. The contents of this book deserve a much more formal, attractive cover.  I read the ebook in PDF and found myself wanting write on the pages because there were so many wonderful quotes and books to read.  I found myself flying back and forth onto the Goodreads website to select new books “to read” and as a result, I will need a new library shelf just for the works I learned about from this guide.

There are two ways to approach this book; technical or emotional.  I choose the emotional approach because of the huge impact it had on my reading. Sally, an obvious lover of books describes her own addiction.  Here is a quote about her:

“When deep into a great book a need possesses me to carry it with me wherever I go, never to let it stray too far from my thoughts or person.  Also, I was at a particularly compelling point in the narrative.  What if an asteroid hit the parking lot just exactly where I had parked my car?  It’s best not to take any chances.”  (my feeling exactly)

Sally nicely explains why reading is so important to her.

“One of my preoccupations is improving my ability to communicate, and to do so requires understanding language’s infinite potential.  I appreciate authors who show me that potential”.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is a quote from Pnin  by Vladimir Nabokov on page 126:

“With the help of the janitor he screwed onto the side of the desk a pencil sharpener – that highly satisfying, highly philosophical implement that goes Ticonderoga-ticon-deroga, feeding on the yellow finish and sweet wood, and ends up in a kind of soundlessly spinning ethereal void as we all must”.  (….swooning)

I had already read several of the books Sally chose to include in her guide and was curious to read her take on them and one of them had me looking for a dictionary because I never thought to look up the meaning of a certain word in one of their titles (look up Penumbra).

She ends her book by explaining that, it really is impossible to read every book that comes out and that it is ok just to take a breather and not read when you’re really not in the mood to.  That enticing book on your pile will get read in time.

I would love to have a print copy of Unlocking Worlds just so that I can go back and scribble and underline it and enjoy it all over again.



2 thoughts on “Book review: Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers by Sally Allen

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review it! I’m so thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it. And I’m not stressed (too much 😉 at the thought of continuing to update the book. Actually, my Books, Ink contributing editor and I are working on a children’s book version! 🙂

    1. A children’s book version sounds like a fantastic idea Sally. I’ve seen some beautiful children’s books over the last couple of years.

      There are also a lot of classics as well.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.