Sara Nelson is the former Editor-in-Chief of Publishers Weekly, and it's my understanding she's currently the Editorial Director at Amazon.com. Oh, and she worked for Oprah for a bit.
In short, she knows books!
This is a collection of essays based on her goal of reading 52 books in a year's time -- a goal many of us can relate to. So why wasn't I bowled over by her experience?
I found a number of the essays entertaining, and I felt that I meshed with Nelson on many of the issues she pondered in the book. Things like whether or not to loan books to friends and the pressure that comes along with those recommendations (Will she like it? Will she still like me???). How to pick the perfect book for a trip and the seemingly inevitable outcome that the book you picked doesn't fit your mood once you arrive at your destination.
While I found Nelson's book highly relatable, I also found it unremarkable. I got slightly annoyed at her tendency to drop names. This is totally expected given her elevated positions within the book industry, but it still got annoying. Not to mention the eleventy-gazillion times she mentioned her husband's work at Saturday Night Live. I get it. You're important.
This book has also fallen victim to the passage of time in many ways. There aren't many bookish topics Nelson discussed in her essays that I haven't seen -- or written about myself -- on a blog. This speaks to the universal nature of readers and the reading life, but it brought to my attention the fact that I prefer my books-about-books to be a little more niche and a little less general. I've done general. I've lived general.
Sadly, this one just didn't do it for me, but there are plenty of other books-about-books to explore, and you better believe I'll get to them sooner than later. Just as soon as the mood strikes.
Pub. Date: October 2003
Publisher: Putnam Adult