Books about books

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Books about books

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1Cecrow
Editat: abr. 25, 2016, 10:27am

Read two titles so far this year that would fall under this category:

Reading Lolita in Tehran is one I've meant to tackle for about a decade. Really great insight into several classics at the same time as it described Iran's recent history and drew several parallels. They read the same books as me but came to completely different highlights about them, reminding me that the same book can be an incredibly different experience for different cultures.

The Eyre Affair I thought would be fun - a hard-boiled detective trying to chase down a criminal who has kidnapped Jane Eyre right out of her own book - but it got a little ridiculous. Lots of fun allusions throughout, though.

Among previous reads I'd recommend, If On a Winter's Night a Traveler is practically self-aware. I keep meaning to read more Italo Calvino.

On the horizon, I'd like to pick up 84 Charing Cross Road.

2southernbooklady
abr. 25, 2016, 10:50am

>1 Cecrow: The ridiculousness of The Eyre Affair continues through every book in that series. There is something fantastically appealing, though, of doing Richard III the way you'd do Rocky Horror Picture Show.

3Cecrow
abr. 25, 2016, 1:06pm

Yes, and I liked the bits where books were being debated as fiercely as religion. The Baconian Society knocking on everybody's door, trying to convert them, etc.

4Meredy
Editat: abr. 25, 2016, 3:14pm

I liked The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading by Phyllis Rose enough to buy my own copy after reading a library copy.

In its own gritty but endearingly absurd way, Firmin is about books.

5JaneAustenNut
ag. 19, 2016, 12:41pm

I'm starting to read A Gentle Madness by Nicholas A. Basbanes; had it awhile but will now start reading. Its over 600 pages so will take quite some time to read. Mr. Basbanes does a through job documenting and researching all his books.

6Limelite
ag. 31, 2016, 10:48pm

What about the magnificent tour de force , The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón? How I loved reading this Spanish best seller (in translation) about young Daniel Sempere whose bookstore owner father takes him to the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books, really a mysterious library housing long forgotten titles. Daniel is permitted to select a single volume. He chooses The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax, and his adventures begin in a story within a story, wrapped in a mystery, and clad in an enigma.

A rich novel that should be taken in small bites, chewed thoroughly, and digested leisurely.

7Cecrow
set. 1, 2016, 7:51am

>6 Limelite:, I've read that, but found it was just okay. I was slightly more engaged with The Thirteenth Tale.

8Limelite
Editat: set. 1, 2016, 8:50pm

>7 Cecrow: Thanks for the title. I've seen it mentioned but didn't investigate because I heard it was a "Gothic romance,"one of my unfavorite genres. What is it about 13th that grabs you? No one's shared their impressions of that book with me and I'm curious. Sell it to me!

More books about books titles. . .

A couple years ago, I stumbled into this unlikely funny novel -- The Last Bookstore in America. Pretty good commentary on what's happened to the private sellers in the face of the big box bookstores beyond it's hilarious goings on and characters.

Two books in a mini-series are the vintage novels, Parnassus on Wheels& The Haunted Bookshop. Both are gently charming but the first is more original. Neither should be forgotten just because they're old-fashioned.

One that was very popular in 2014 is The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel, which features a curmudgeonly hero and a rather heavily sold message. Still, a pleasure to read -- the kind of book that makes good bedtime reading.

You've probably figured out that I had an informal goal to read books about books not too long ago. I still look for them. Have you tried The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel? I opened it just on the verge of my stepping back from this blog and reading while I got involved with the primaries and Rio Olympics. Didn't finish it, but it has an interesting premise -- the book seller as insightful pharmacist who "prescribes" books he thinks his clients need to or should read.

9Cecrow
set. 2, 2016, 8:37am

I won't go so far as to sell it, lol. I gave up my copy in a winnowing exercise so I suppose I can't say I was deeply moved, but it does fit the category. I'm a bit foggy on it all now, but I believe the gothic romance elements are in the "thirteenth tale" itself, which is a pretty good chunk of the pages. But the framing story is in the present, narrated by a woman who conveys her love of books in a way that any LTer can relate to, and it's that love which leads her to the story of the thirteenth tale.

10Meredy
set. 2, 2016, 4:20pm

>9 Cecrow: Is that the one with the red-headed twins and the crumbling mansion?

11Cecrow
set. 14, 2016, 10:51am

>10 Meredy:, you're remembering its details better than me, but I think so. Twins, certainly.

12Meredy
set. 14, 2016, 3:49pm

>11 Cecrow: Well, I have to say that I didn't rate that one very highly; "just okay" would do. By now I've forgotten exactly why.

13pgmcc
set. 15, 2016, 5:12am

The Dictator and the Hammock by Daniel Pennac is, in a way, a book about books. It starts out as a straightforward story about a Dictator in a South American country. The author then writes about how he lived in South America and how he developed the material, through writing letters to a friend, that he used in the book. In the story and in his writing about writing he reveals the plight of the people of the South American country and how they are the victims of exploitation by their dictators and powerful commercial entities.

The book then goes back into the story by telling the stories of some of the incidental characters in the main story.

This book is very cleverly structured and the few words above give only a flavour of what happens in the first fifty pages. It then proceeds to lead the reader to intriguing ideas about how an author writes and why an author writes. There are several layers to the book and the author challenges himself into self-inspection by interviewing, or more correctly, being interviewed by, the elderly woman who is the older version of one of his incidental characters.

At the end of the book one has explored the reason a writer writes, seen the plight of South American people, and has had one's mind massaged to the point of wondering what is real and what is not, what is fact and what is fiction.

Did I mention Charlie Chaplin? He's in it. There is a very clever linkage between this book and Chaplin's film, The Great Dictator.

In case you are wondering, I strongly recommend this novel.

14Limelite
set. 23, 2016, 10:01pm

I'd dare to say that The Name of the Rose is a book about books -- at least the danger that lurks between their covers, if you live in a time or belong to a tradition of thought control and censorship.

I own but have not yet read When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II. Anybody know this one?

15Cecrow
set. 26, 2016, 7:15am

>14 Limelite:, I don't know that one, but it sounds interesting.

I've been prompted to remember 84 Charing Cross Road, which is on my radar to read soon.

162wonderY
set. 27, 2016, 4:37pm

>14 Limelite: I read When Books Went to War back in January and appreciated it greatly. I even started a Book Talk thread to gather more data and information:

https://www.librarything.com/topic/215053

17Limelite
Editat: set. 27, 2016, 9:56pm

>16 2wonderY:
Thanks!

Read your thread -- very interesting. Don't know when I'll get around to reading the book, but I'll probably refer to your thread again. $0.06 for unit at cost price. Good grief -- did they actually put ink on the pg?