Reader reviews for A Passion for Books

This collection of essays, cartoons, lists, and stories about books, reading, and bibliophiles is the kind of collection that makes one proud to be a fanatical reader. There were essays that made me laugh out loud (mostly at myself), and one in particular that made me cry. I realized that my obsessive need to own, read, and share books is far from unusual; in fact I am merely one individual in a massive club of the most interesting people in history. Bibliophiles unite, and celebrate your fantastic insanity with the writers, readers, and collectors represented in this book.
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A Passion For Books was fun: a miscellany of essays (short and long), cartoons, and lists about biblophilia that has, in some instances, turned to biblomania with some truly weird and wonderful characters who have dedicated their whole lives, and sacrificed all other aspects of their lives, to collecting and hoarding books. One piece, by one of the editors, Rob Kaplan, called The Ritual, describes the procedure by which the author incorporates new books into his library and his life; it echoes my views almost perfectly, and I suspect many others who have gone to the trouble of cataloguing and arranging their libraries. The question all people with large libraries get is, "Have you read all of these books?" That, of course, is not the question, but it is fun to see a number of suggested responses gathered in these pieces. Umberto Eco, for instance: "I haven't read any of them; otherwise, why would I keep them here?"; "And more, dear sir, many more"; or "No, these are the ones I have to read by the end of the month. I keep the others in my office"! Thomas Wentworth Higginson offers his own approach, in a piece entitled: Books Unread:"...that inevitable inquiry of the puzzled carpenter as he looks about him. "Have you really read all these books?"...Yet if you asked him in turn, "Have you actually used every tool in your tool-chest?" you would very likely be told, "Not one half as yet, at least this season; I have the others by me, to use as I need them." Now if this reply can be fairly made in a simple, well-defined, distinctly limited occupation like that of a joiner, how much more inevitable it is in a pursuit which covers the whole range of thought and all the facts in the universe. The library is the author's tooc-chest. He must at least learn as he grows older, to take what he wants and leave the rest".Dr.Johnson's stock reply was, "Yes, and some of them twice". The author Chaim Potok's view was that, "If anyone asks you if read all those books, it means you don't have enough books"!And the final word to Henry Holt: "Any man with a moderate income can afford to buy more books that he can read in a lifetime". Words to live by!(Feb/06)
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An anthology of essays, quotes, and cartoons about reading, books, and book collecting. Like all anthologies, some selections were better than others. I particularly liked Anna Quindlan's "How Reading Changed My Life" and A. Edward Newton's "100 Greatest Novels in the English Language," in which he not only gives his list but talks a bit about it. The essays on book collecting grew a little tiresome in the end (I would have preferred one or two fewer of those and a few more personal essays about reading itself), but a good collection with a few treasures.
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Every single book lover needs to read this. No, I’m serious, all of you! If you love collecting books, reading books, wandering through bookstores, making lists of books you still have to read, etc. this collection will be a delight. I can’t think of a bibliophile who wouldn’t enjoy this.It opens with an introduction from Ray Bradbury and just gets better from there. There are bits from Gustave Flaubert, Umberto Eco, Anna Quindlen, John Updike and dozens of others. Obviously every single essay or list isn’t perfect, but the majority of them are wonderful. The editors blended essays, lists of books, book themed cartoons and even a short story or two in the perfect order. There are a few slow pieces (I’m looking at you “Bible through the Ages”), but most are well-paced and quick to read. There are so many clever book lovers out there and this collection highlights some of their best pieces. It’s a great book to set on your nightstand or somewhere where it’s easy to grab. If you only have a few minutes to read, you’ll find pieces to fill those moments, but then you can set it down easily. “Dull books soothe only dull brains – a moderately healthy mind will be irritated rather than rested by a dull book.”“But the vital thing is that you have your own favorites – books that are read and genuine, each one brimful of the inspiration of a great soul. Keep these books on a shelf convenient for use, and read them again and again until you have saturated your mind with their wisdom and their beauty.”“It could be said that they are still people who consider a bookshelf as a mere storage place for already read books and do not think of the library as a working tool.” 
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My life, validated in a single book! This is a wonderful collection of essays, lists and cartoons all related to my absolute favorite genre of reading material – Books about Books. I will grant you that a few of these seem dated, especially the lists and the cartoons and at least one of the essays, but the vast majority of the essays are timeless! The range of subject matter and variety of attitude from Umberto Eco’s sarcastic How to Organize a Public Library to Anna Quindlen’s thought provoking How Reading Changed My Life. In between, there are several examples of well-written stories, both short and long, every one of them worth reading at least twice.
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this is one of my favorite books
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Just a great book of essays for readers and book lovers... Viva Bibliophilia!
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I felt so nerdy, reading a book ABOUT books. But when I read that other people smell books, too, I became much happier. Glad I'm not the only "weirdo" out there! A couple of the longer articles were a bit dry, simply because I don't collect only first editions, or really even look for them, or care remotely about the numerical value of my books. I collect them for me and my future children--which the editors say is the right way to go. I really enjoyed reading this book.
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A fun book for book lovers. Has a lot of good reference material for referring back to later. Includes lists of books that I may want to return to in the future. Brings a lot of reference material together into one place. Bibliography is good.
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I don't remember how this book ended up on my to-read list, but I found it a few weeks ago and decided to put in on my hold list at the DCPL. Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan edited this collection of stories, essays, poetry, cartoons and lists regarding books, reading, and collecting.Even though there are many well-known authors and other book related folks represented in this book, I only ended up really reading thoroughly the essays written by the two editors and Anna Quindlen - "How Reading Changed My Life". It was amusing to see the inclusion of lists of books and the many variations of biblio words used as titles. Also my favorite cartoon was from The New Yorker depicting a real estate agent showing a wealthy couple an apartment where one room had floor to ceiling bookcases. The caption reads "What kind of crazy people used to live here anyway?"At the end of the book in case you haven't had enough text about books and reading, the editors include a bibliography of books on books. This section reminds me of one section of the Library of Congress gift shop which is a collection of books on books.
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