Top positive review
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Bibliophiles, form an orderly queue...
on 17 January 2009
This lovely little volume is a collection of essays about books and reading - not just generalisations but deeply personal habits and experiences, such as reading with her partner by the Grand Canyon and merging libraries with him when they moved in together. I bought it after finding it frequently quoted from in `The Book Addict's Treasury' (by Julie Rugg and Lynda Murphy); I found it very enjoyable and once again I recognised myself in much of it, but it is very obviously American and sometimes slips into exaggerated self-righteousness and almost religious fervour and enthusiasm, which is quite offputting.
All kinds of bookish behaviour is documented and explored within the eighteen essays. Some explore the various ways of shelving loved books - chronologically, alphabetically, by genre or some other method. Should your partner's books be merged with yours, and if so, when and how? Others look at the joy to be found in words - new words, magical words, complicated words. One discusses those books that just don't fit anywhere; one explores poetry; one entire essays explores the sinful habit of spread-eagling open books on a table instead of using a bookmark. One reflects on an ancient guide to womanhood and motherhood, hopelessly and terrifyingly out of date for a mother today. Some reflect on spelling, grammar, editing and storage. My favourite discusses the inscriptions made on the flyleaf of a book - and I have put extra thought into my own ever since! Recommended for book lovers everywhere.