Monday, December 03, 2007

So Many Books, So Little Time

I read - okay, devour - book blogs for two reasons: to get reading recommendations and to
mingle with other book lovers. I love books about books for the same reasons. So, when I heard about Nancy Pearl (via a podcast from NPR), I just had to check out her books.

If you don't know, Nancy Pearl is a bibliophile who has worked as both a bookseller and a librarian. Her book recommendations have earned her a reputation as "a rock star among readers and the tastemaker people turn to when deciding what to read next" (quote from her website). Pearl chats about books on National Public Radio (NPR), on her website and in her books Book Lust, More Book Lust, Book Crush, and others.

Book Lust is essentially a listing of recommended titles categorized by topic. The topics cover nearly every genre, from poetry to historical fiction to biography to "books that are simply about nothing" (256). Each section contains at least 6 recommended titles, both fiction and non. Some of her suggestions are obvious (Amy Tan for Chinese-American fiction, Chaim Potok for Jewish, etc.), and some are more unique. Pearl also offers a good mix between classic and contemporary literature.

I'm not sure how many titles Pearl covers in Book Lust, but it's a lot. To cover that much ground, she makes short work of plot summaries, usually limiting herself to one sentence per title. I need more than that to decide if I will like a book or not, so I found that aspect of the book annoying. Otherwise, I thought the book covered a good, wide-ranging selection of titles. I was awed by the sheer amount of books discussed and the fact that I had read only a fraction of them. That's the only problems with books like this - and book blogs for that matter - it reminds me of how many books there are out there and how little time I have to read them...

Grade: A-

7 comments:

  1. I love books about books too - I think perhaps it's the sign of a true bookaholic. I haven't read this one but two I like are Ex Libris, Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman and A Passion for Books by Harold Rabinowitz.

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  2. I enjoyed Fadiman's book, too. I haven't read Rabinowitz' - I'll have to check it out. I finally gave up putting all of Pearl's recommendations onto my TBR list - there were just WAY too many books!

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  3. I own both of her Book Lust books as well as Now Read This. I'm an academic librarian, and as goofy as it sounds, Nancy Pearl is a rock star in the library world. I met her and got her autograph at a library conference in 2005. She's very nice and funny. She even has an action figure (and yes, I do own it!).

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  4. I'm almost afraid to read a book like this--like you said, it is just a reminder of all that I want to read but never will! It doesn't help that lately it seems I do more reading of blogs than books. I just love to read reviews, even if it's of a book I won't ever read!

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  5. I love her book More Book Lust even more than the first! I also love Anna Quindlan's short book How Reading Changed My Life.

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  6. I don't know if you're aware of this...you may be...but there is a Nancy Pearl book called Book Crush that has lists of books for kids and teens.

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  7. I'm planning to check out the rest of Pearl's books. I'm especially excited about Book Crush, Becky - have you read it? Shelly - I love Anna Quindlen - I need to check out her book about reading. Will I ever get to all the books I want to read??? *sigh*

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