Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review: Judging a Book By Its Lover by Lauren Leto

Oh books about books - how I love them!  Seriously, it may just be my favorite sub-genre of non-fiction  And this one is humorous as well, so how much more perfect could it be?  (Spoiler alert: Kind of a lot, actually).  It's a collection of essays and lists on book lovers and how their minds work by Lauren Leto, and I had very high expectations for it.

Meh.  The problem to me was that the writing wasn't all that funny.  And I feel like I should mention that I skipped a large section in the middle of the book about how to discuss books you haven't read.  The author summarizes and gives "humorous" speaking points for a series of books that may come up in discussion.  I read the essays on those books that I don't plan on reading or have already read, but I skipped those I might want to read in the future because, spoilers?  Anyway, it just seemed odd to me to have such a long portion of the book devoted to pretending to have read important works of literature in a book that is intended for bookworms.  I think we generally frown on that, don't we?  It was a joke though, but it just wasn't funny for me.  I found some of her other musings on bookworms and our habits to be relatable and intriguing, but there weren't any laugh out loud moments for me.

Entertainment Value
See above.  I usually devour books about books, but I found myself not really into finishing this one.  It actually took me a while to get through it because it just didn't ring true for me as a book lover.  It seemed more like it was intended for the hipster crowd who wants to be perceived as intellectual?  At times she seemed to have a reverence for good literature and great books and at other times she seemed to be trying to skewer the intelligentsia.  I never got a clear picture of what she really thinks about books and writing.  It all seemed to me to be a major attempt at irony and snark that didn't come off as genuine. 

Not a bad read, but, for me, it was too concerned with how to be impressive and appear well-read as opposed to just loving books.  It's one that I'll put on my shelf and may go back to at some point, but it's not going to ever be a favorite.  I would recommend My Reading Life by Pat Conroy (although not as humorous) or Bibliotherapy as alternatives.

Thanks to Harper Perennial for sending me a copy to review!

1 comment:

  1. I've read other reviews that felt sort of 'meh' too. That's so interesting, though, her take on it being more knowing about books rather than actually having read them.