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One for the books by Joe Queenan

One for the books (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Joe Queenan

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2312050,068 (3.67)19
Title:One for the books
Authors:Joe Queenan
Info:New York : Viking, 2012.
Collections:Your library
Tags:Books About Books, Memoir, Kindle

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One for the Books by Joe Queenan (2012)



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Mildly amusing. Joe Queenan focusses his gentle wit on a passion that has stayed with him from his earliest days in Philadelphia to a bedsit in Paris and on to life in Tarrytown, New York: books. Buying, reading, and keeping books. Queenan’s love for his prized possessions is clear. As are his tastes. And even more his dis-tastes. Alas for poor Middlemarch; it takes a beating here. It is one of those books that Queenan will hold on his shelf to his dying days, unloved and unread. But don’t take it to heart. Joe Queenan is always on the verge of poking fun, and just as often makes himself, and his peculiar habits, the butt of his jibes. Perhaps Eliot will catch his fancy in a year or two.

Although presented in the form of chapters, this book has the feel of newspaper columns that have been reconstituted into a new whole. The result is that there is a fair bit of repetition. But that might not bother a reader who is merely dipping into the book rather than reading it straight through. The other unintended challenge to the reader comes from a recurring theme. Queenan regularly declares that some books are not worth reading. He details many that do not live up to one or more of his criteria. But the question on many readers’ minds will be whether this book itself would be worth reading for Queenan. I suspect it wouldn’t. However that is no bar to anyone else enjoying it.

Although his humour is less cutting, less painful, less extreme than many other journalistic humorists, there remains much to enjoy here. Dip in at your leisure. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Aug 23, 2014 |
Was pleased to see someone into books who was from Philadelphia, not NYC or Boston (the usual). Although some of the essays I disagreed with a little, and the tone occasionally verged on bitter, I did agree with a lot of his ideas, and I got some ideas for books to put on the to-read list. ( )
  sriemann | Aug 11, 2014 |
Joe amused me greatly at times, but it was the cascade of negative thoughts that wore me down in the end. With humor, there's always that possibility that you JUST WON'T GET IT sometimes—I think that this was one of those times for me. He just seemed annoying, especially when he was going after booksellers as a group of self-centered egotists that having nothing to offer to any book shopper. On that score, FO Joe.

By the book's end I thought he wasn't as thoroughly annoying and even funny on occasion. Either I was seeing a better side to him, or I knew the book would be ending for me soon. ( )
  jphamilton | Jul 27, 2014 |
Nice book and spot-on funny in places. I'm not sure that Joe and I share a lot in common regarding the books we choose to read, but his observations about readers and non-readers throughout the book are on the mark. ( )
  untraveller | Mar 23, 2014 |
When you decide to read a Joe Queenan penned tome, you can expect many things: a very well read discourse on many things, some really interesting digressions from the main topic of discussions, but the forays afield are so interesting and so erudite that you don't really mind. You also get an ascerbic wit, a lot of cynicism and sarcasm. If you can live with that, then you are usually in for a treat, for Joe Queenan is a really really smart guy, and well read. Which is why he wrote this particular book.

This is kind of a warped but fascinating look inside Queenans brain about his love, nay his obsession with books. It is a compendium of essays on particular things about books that he loves, but it is also about more than just books, it is about authors, literature, the book business, the world as he sees it, the evolution of the mass media business, Paris, writers and people who worship writers, and particular pecadillos of Joe Queenan himself.

Mind you, this is sometimes the easiest book to read because the prose is so smooth and the sotires and ideas so interesting, and there are times when you have to put it down and walk away, because that is the way Queenan is. I had read one previous book by Queenan: Red Lobster, White Trash, & the Blue Lagoon: Joe Queenan's America. It was smart, sarcastic, cynical, maddening, and definitely worth reading.

I was drawn to this particular title because of it's subject: books. I fancy myself a bibliophile so I was drawn to this book like a moth to a flame. I am so very glad I met it's acquaintance. But I warn you reading Joe Queenan is a challenge, a good challenge though. ( )
1 vote pw0327 | Nov 30, 2013 |
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To Skip McGovern, Lover of Books
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The average American reads four books a year, and the average American finds this more than sufficient.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670025828, Hardcover)

One of America’s leading humorists and author of the bestseller Closing Time examines his own obsession with books

Joe Queenan became a voracious  reader as a means of escape from a joyless childhood in a Philadelphia housing project. In the years since then he has dedicated himself to an assortment of  idiosyncratic reading challenges: spending a year reading only short books, spending a year reading books he always suspected he would hate, spending a year reading books he picked with his eyes closed.

In One for the Books, Queenan tries to come to terms with his own eccentric reading style—how many more books will he have time to read in his lifetime? Why does he refuse to read books hailed  by reviewers as “astonishing”? Why does he refuse to lend out books? Will he ever buy an e-book? Why does he habitually read thirty to forty books simultaneously? Why are there so many people to whom the above questions do not even matter—and what do they read? Acerbically funny yet passionate and oddly affectionate, One for the Books is a reading experience that true book lovers will find unforgettable.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:58 -0400)

One of America's leading humorists and author of the bestseller "Closing Time" examines his own obsession with books.

(summary from another edition)

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