Saturday, October 13, 2012
Books About Books
Books About Books, Round 2 from Shelf Awareness
Earlier this week we wrote about the current abundance of books about books. Here are more:
Novelist Nick Hornby writes the monthly "Stuff I've Been Reading" column for the Believer, and More Baths Less Talking (McSweeney's Books) is a compilation of his last two years of reviews. Eclectic and amusing.
The Books That Mattered: A Reader's Memoir by Frye Gaillard (NewSouth Books) is a tribute to the books that "enriched and altered his life." His literary explorations include excerpts from the works he cites, reminding us of past favorites and showing us soon-to-be new ones.
Hans Weyandt, co-owner of Micawber's Books in St. Paul, asked indie booksellers for their top 50 reads, which, along with anecdotes on the bookselling life, he has collected in Read This! Handpicked Favorites from America's Indie Bookstores (Coffee House Press).
Jacques Bonnet has thousands of books, and in Phantoms on the Bookshelves (Overlook), muses on collecting books and even cataloging them, good advice for those of us "besieged" by our own libraries.
With The Books They Gave Me: True Stories of Life, Love and Lit (Free Press), Jen Adams gathered stories of books received as gifts--perfect selections, ill-chosen ones, romantic ones, illuminating ones.
Who doesn't judge people by what's on their bookshelves (although e-book readers make this well nigh impossible)? Lauren Leto, in Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere (Harper Perennial) not only helps you stereotype someone by their favorite author, or figure out what your child will grow up to be by what you read them, but shows you how to fake reading, say, Jonathan Franzen.
Or you could just get How Not to Read: Harnessing the Power of a Literature-Free Life by Dan Wilbur (Perigee). Entire genres summed up in one page, storming through the classics by reading every third word, literary insults to memorize.
--Marilyn Dahl, book review editor, Shelf Awareness