Should you finish every book you start? How has your family influenced the way you read? What is literary style? How is the Nobel Prize like the World Cup? Why do you hate the book your friend likes? Is writing really just like any other job? What happens to your brain when you read a good book? As a novelist, translator and critic, Tim Parks is well-placed to investigate any questions we have about books and reading. In this collection of lively and provocative pieces he talks about what readers want from books and how to look at the literature we encounter in a new light. These pieces were originally published as columns in the New York Review of Books.