Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Passion for Books

edited by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan
New York : Times Books, c1999.

The subtitle summarizes this collection better than I can: "A book lover's treasury of stories, essays, humor, lore, and lists on collecting, reading, borrowing, lending, caring for, and appreciating books." The only things in this collection left out in the subtitle are comics and quotes on books and reading.

Do you love to read? Do you love books just for the feel of them, for their presence in your home? Then this sort of collection, a book about books, is likely the type of read you'd be drawn to whether I had anything good to say about it or not. Fortunately, I found it to be a lot of fun dipping into this collection, whether reading for a prolonged period of time or trying to fit an essay into my lunch break.

I especially enjoyed "Lending Books" by Anatole Broyard, "Pillow Books" by Clifton Fadiman," "Invasion of the Book Envelopes" by John Updike, and "Why Does Nobody Collect Me?" by Robert Benchley. On the whole, the essays on collecting interested me less than others - but then, I'd be surprised if such a collection met my individual reading tastes precisely. This is the sort of book I would enjoy owning so I could simply read a selection of my choosing whenever I wanted and leave the rest behind. (Oh, let's be honest, what I'd really love to is to have a hundred such books and select my own favorites for compilation!) Recommended to all who would immediately identify themselves as Readers, and even more so to collectors.

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