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Casanova was a Book Lover by John Maxwell…
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Casanova was a Book Lover (edition 2000)

by John Maxwell Hamilton

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268442,397 (3.48)5
Member:deedeeinfj
Title:Casanova was a Book Lover
Authors:John Maxwell Hamilton
Info:Louisiana State University Press (2000), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
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Tags:language and literature

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Casanova was a book lover and other naked truths and provocative curiosities about the writing, selling, and reading of books by John Maxwell Hamilton

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Purchased "Casanova Was a Book Lover" as a used book. Published in 2000, it is a bit outdated regarding trends such as e-books ("a gizmo called Rocket eBook, which in 1998 cost five hundred dollars" is mentioned as being the latest thing on p. 256), but still an interesting look at the behind-the-scenes arena of the publishing, writing, and selling of books. There's also topics such as the process of book reviews being published and the quality of presidential writings (many of our more recent presidents actually employed ghostwriters for their memoirs, for instance).

I learned that newspapers usually have more food stories than book reviews because "Piggly Wiggly does more advertising than your local Barnes & Noble" (p. 146). I had always wondered about that.

Lots of interesting tidbits for book-lovers. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Jan 18, 2015 |
It has more fun than a bibliography of book industry.
  Juci | Jun 1, 2008 |
About: History, facts and tidbits about the reading, writing, reviewing and publishing of books

Pros: Amusing, funny, interesting. I certainly learned things about the peculiarities of of the book industry.

Cons: Gets bogged down a bit by focusing too much on history

Grade: B+ ( )
  charlierb3 | Jul 26, 2007 |
I picked up this book from a bargain rack on an absolute whim, and was not disappointed. The statistics are a must-know for all writers and readers. ( )
  heina | Jun 5, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0141002336, Paperback)

"To all reviewers," John Maxwell Hamilton dedicates Casanova Was a Book Lover. "Because only ungrateful asses would pan a book after having it dedicated to them." Hamilton needn't have taken the precaution. According to his editor, "Our modern reviewer is like a counselor at a self-esteem camp." If so, then gather round the fire, campers--it's time to enlarge Mr. Hamilton's ego. Hamilton's inquiry into the world of books and writing and publishing is sharp, fresh, and witty--erudite but devoid, thankfully, of academese. Each chapter addresses a single, often quirky aspect of the book world. One bemoans the idiocy of most acknowledgments pages, another the cheerleading and book-reportish quality of contemporary reviewing. The book's first chapter examines the writer's economic struggle, cheerily noting the convenience, in this regard, of his or her being in jail: "the big advantage ... is that a writer need not worry about making money or fret about having to take time out for cooking or doing the laundry." Later chapters include an etiquette guide for authors and readers ("reading your friend's book is a nice thing to do, but not required"--whew!), a survey of bad writing by presidents of the United States, and an exploration of the complicated decision-making that takes place at the inundated Library of Congress.

Among the most amusing bits here (though the primer to banal acknowledgments wins hands down) is Hamilton's list not of the bestselling books, which gather momentum just by being popular, but of the best-stolen books. These, he says, are the books people really want. Topping the list, as the Gideons are well aware, is the Bible, the stealing of which, Hamilton muses, "might seem to defeat the purpose of wanting it in the first place: salvation." Even the Waldorf Astoria stocks used books, "so wealthy guests can steal them." Of course, most struggling writers would love to write a book so desired it becomes theft-worthy. A book's success, though, says Hamilton, depends largely on "the talent that best serves a writer," luck. "Sometimes," he adds, "the worst luck, like dropping dead, can be the most fortuitous of all." --Jane Steinberg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:05 -0400)

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