Trivia for one reader is a feast for another. Nissley's A Reader's Book of Days is filled with the arcane and the fascinating, a dreamer's treasure hunt to inspire a return to a favorite author in this literary companion. Nissey- eight-time Jeopardy! champion and former bookseller- captures the lives of authors in diaries and letters, quotations and details, an almanac that expands beyond the usual boundaries to encompass personalities, events and human reactions. An example: "April 15th wasn't just the day that Robinson Crusoe was published, Henry James was born and Edward Gorey died. It's also the day that Walt Whitman mourned the death of Lincoln...and Thomas Higginson received four poems from a woman named Emily Dickenson..." Such is the charm and fascination of this remarkable collection of days, ideas, accomplishments, thoughts, memories and anecdotes. The joy of discovery is experienced in the manner an individual reader approaches the book, whether at random, seeking a particular date, say a birthday, or choosing a favorite name from the index "the historic and the humdrum".
Nissley harbors another ambition in this tome, stories from the fictional lives of characters along with their writers, a mix of fact and fiction, where actual events occur, as do fictional events in novels, an ambitious undertaking, but one that adds yet another layer to the collection. Nissey's careful attention to the details of writer's lives- and those of their characters- is a paean to the rich world of writing, "private moments behind public triumphs", the beginnings of our favorite novels, each month introduced with appropriate comments and a list of recommended readings, peppered with black and white illustrations and an expansive index. Luan Gaines/2013.