Thursday, May 02, 2013

Snuggling Up with Books About Books

My book buddy, Helen, inadvertently gave me a topic to write about today! I posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for today's #Estellagram prompt, that I'm currently reading Sara Nelson's So Many Books, So Little Time.


For some reason, when I was at the library on Sunday, I got an itch for books about books. After my post, Helen asked me to post a list of books about books! With a quick Google search, I found this completely awesome, and somewhat overwhelming, list of books about books from Goodreads. It includes fiction and non-fiction which is kinda fun.

So out of curiosity, I went through the first few pages to see which books about books I'd actually read. And WHOA! I've read a lot of them. Here are some of the non-fiction. The fiction books are a whole other post.



1. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman -- Fun book. I think she's a little smarter than the average bear, and I felt a little alienated as a reader on occasion. Overall, a great read, though.

2. Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason by Nancy Pearl - Fun, quick reference.

3. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff - One of my favorites. A touching book about a bookish friendship.

4. More Book Lust by Nancy Pearl - More quick reference. 

5. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby - Hornby has a great voice. I'd read hardly anything he discussed, but oddly, it didn't matter. 

6. So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson - Not too far in, but this one is very accessible and her goal (to figure out why she's so into books and reading) is one to which I can relate!


7. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch - Awesome. Depressing at times as it deals with death and grief, but still amazing. 

8. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi - Powerful. If a slog in spots. 

9. How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster - An accessible book for those interested in doing more analysis of their reading. 

10. Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose - Insightful, though I was more interested in the books and reading part than the writerly techniques and motivations part. 

11. How Reading Changed by Life by Anna Quindlen - A thin little book filled with awesome. 

12. Books by Larry McMurtry - I'm sort of cheating here since I read a portion of this book in a bookstore and never finished. Not the book's fault. But I was charmed. 


13. This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson - One of my all-time fave non-fiction books. This is a great spotlight on the changing nature of libraries and the role of librarians. They rock, FYI. 

14. My Reading Life by Pat Conroy - A really touching, poetic book about Conroy's life as a reader. 

15. How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom - Bloom is a douchey old windbag, but I still tried it. 

Which books about books have you read? Do you have any to add to the list? 




17 comments:

  1. Wow. I've read 8 of them! Now I want to check out the other 7. Hope you enjoy So Many Books, So Many Time!!

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    1. Go you! That's awesome. I knew we were both books-about-books lovers!

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    1. Thanks, Monika! Have you read any of these?

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  3. I've read two of the ones you've listed, and "Reading Lolita in Tehran" is one of my favorites books, period.

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    1. It's one of those books I need to re-read. I'm not sure I fully appreciated it the first time through.

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  4. I've only read a few of those (the Quindlen nearly makes me weep with it's bookish love) but I want to read them ALL. I have the Nelson book around here somewhere and I'd like to re-read it at some point. I would add The World's Strongest Librarian to your list. It's not ALL about books but still ;)

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    1. Wasn't the Quindlen great??! And I see very few people mention that one. And I keep seeing The World's Strongest Librarian pop up! Noted! :D

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  5. Awesome list! I have two others on my shelf at home waiting to be read... "The Reading Promise" and "Shelf Life". Somehow I just haven't gotten to them yet :-/

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    1. I grabbed The Reading Promise from the library for the Read-a-Thon but haven't gotten around to it. Hoping to finish it before it has to go back. :D

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  6. I've been reading 'Reading Lolita in Tehran' for ages for some reason but I'm really enjoying it so I need to crack on and finish I think. I'd recommend Susan Hill's Howards End is on the Landing. Reading that filled me with bookish love. Great list, I'll definitely be looking out for any I've not read!

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    1. Ellie, thanks for the recommendation of Howards End is on the Landing. I've seen very little about that one, and any book that fills one with bookish love is right up my alley!

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  7. Oh my goodness, books about books about books about books stress me out sometimes because then I'm like, OMG I need to read that. and that. and that. and that and that . . .

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  8. I run so very hot and cold on books about books. I read So Many Books, So Little Time years ago and didn't enjoy it. I really appreciated what Sankovitch was doing in Tolstoy in the Purple Chair, but I didn't particularly like it either. Reading Lolita in Tehran was a slog at times, but I appreciated the historical aspect of it. I did really like 84, Charing Cross Road though. And I love Nancy Pearl's books and use them as reference guides. I seem to want to like books about books more than I really do.

    Another reference-y book about books is Erica Bauermeister's 500 Great Books By Women. (Yes, the same Bauermeister that wrote The School of Essential Ingredients.) It was coauthored by Jesse Larsen and Holly Smith. It was published in '94 so the titles are a bit older but you know I love a good backlist title.

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  9. The Shadow of the Wind and The Club Dumas :)

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  10. I love Nancy Pearl's books. Recently I got her copy of Book Lust To Go -- all about travel reading. Oh my!

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  11. I love books about books! I even love it when authors make a main character a bibliophile.

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