What are you reading now? about Books/Authors

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What are you reading now? about Books/Authors

Dec 12, 2010, 10:51 am

If you are reading or have read a book about books you can log it here.

I would like to extend this to books about authors, books about poetry, books about reading, etc.

Dec 12, 2010, 11:03 am

The Pleasures of a Bookworm by J. Rogers Rees

An intimate little book about the books in the author's life. I have the second edition from 1886, so you have to put yourself in that time. It must have been rather exciting for bookish folks at that time in London with the many second-hand booksellers.

I like this snippet near the end of the book:

"Reading is necessary to the daily progression that should inevitably attend every human being. We are so inclined to content ourselves with what is commonest, and the spirit and the senses so easily grow dead to the impressions of the beautiful and perfect, that everyone should study to nourish in his mind the faculty of feeling these things....Pliny the Younger affirmed that he never read a book so bad, but he drew some profit from it."

Edited: Dec 12, 2010, 11:06 am

A note of thanks to WholeHouseLibrary who reads some very interesting books. It is where I found The Pleasures of a Bookworm.

Dec 12, 2010, 11:33 am

A Magnificent Farce by A. Edward Newton

..And Other Diversions of a Book-Collector.

I downloaded this from Google and read it in my Sony eReader. I liked the book, so I searched for a copy and ordered it. The book was published in 1921. It is a reflection of some of the events in his life and the associations to books. Walt Whitman gets a chapter. The author does go off on some tangents - thus the "Other Diversions", but they are interesting. He also travels to London (from Philadelphia) and documents his experiences there.

Dec 12, 2010, 12:51 pm

I've just finished A Nation of Readers by David Allen http://shop.bl.uk/mall/productpage.cfm/BritishLibrary/ISBN_9780712349673 all about libraries and book clubs in Georgian England. Full of fascinating details about the holdings, memberships and costs of various libraries, produced on lush glossy paper.

Dec 13, 2010, 4:25 pm

Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures

Wonderful itty-bitty tomes. They are ART.

Dec 15, 2010, 12:59 am


Mar 22, 2011, 8:31 pm

I'm currently reading 99 Novels, by the Master.

Mar 22, 2011, 9:43 pm

Mar 22, 2011, 10:48 pm

He speaks the truth! I'm about 75% through, trying to savor it.

Mar 22, 2011, 10:50 pm

If you've not ordered your copy, do so before it's too late. Only 1000 printed. Not only fascinating reading and rare glimpses into private collections, but a wonderful example of how beautiful books are still being made.

Mar 22, 2011, 10:55 pm

I just read Lovecraft: A Look Behind the "Cthulhu Mythos"; the biography of Lovecraft kept it moving as much as the discussion of the writing of the Mythos.

Apr 2, 2011, 8:42 am

I just finished reading Books and Bidders: the Adventures of a Bibliophile by A.S.W. Rosenbach.
and I finished it too soon. The author shows the reader what his life as a book hunter was like. He describes all the rare books and manuscripts he was able to secure for himself and his clients. It made me feel like a child in a toy store. When I finished I wanted more. Luckily, he wrote a later book, which I am enjoying right now A Book Hunter's Holiday. Both books with illustrations that would make the confirmed bookworm drool.

Apr 2, 2011, 12:36 pm

There is a Rosenbach Library in Philadelphia.

Apr 13, 2011, 7:39 pm

I just finished 84 Charing Cross Road. 'Too charming for words. I highly recommend spending an hour or so reading it.

Apr 14, 2011, 11:08 am

>15 Sandydog1:

The movie is entertaining as well. It is a fairly close transcription of the book.

Also note the sequel to the book.


Apr 14, 2011, 12:23 pm

I'm reading The Habit of Being, Flannery O'Connor's letters. She is very clear about what her stories mean -- and she's very funny. It's giving me a new way to look at her writing.

Apr 20, 2011, 12:38 pm

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Apr 20, 2011, 12:43 pm

84 Charing Cross Road the book and the movie are truly enjoyable. The "story" continues with The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street and Q's Legacy, which are equally charming.

Apr 25, 2011, 10:10 pm

"The Lodger." Frightening.....

Apr 25, 2011, 10:11 pm

Can't decide if the book or the movie is the better rendition....

Apr 25, 2011, 10:12 pm

Sorry; in reference to "84 Charing Cross Road" @ #19.

May 20, 2011, 1:42 pm

Just starting Calvinoʻs Why Read the Classics?
I suppose some might call it "criticism"
more than a "book about books".

Some of the authors he writes short essays on are: Xenophon, Ovid, Diderot, Voltaire, Gadda, Montale, Jamesʻs Daisy miller, Dickensʻs last full-length novel Our Mutual F riend, Tirant lo Blanc, a (Catalan?) romance, but Calvino quotes it in Spanish, and Pliny the Elder. The last two you wonʻt find in many books of this kind.

Iʻm interested in the Ovid entry which he calls "Ovid and Universal Contiguity", because
Iʻm now tr anslating the Fasti of Ovid,
and what C.ʻs title says is exactly what Iʻm trying to get at.

May 20, 2011, 1:50 pm

Just finished Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and liked it very much. Very much like 84 Charing Cross Road in style. Almost like the author read that and wished that the two main characters could have met and had a romance (I did!). Lots of nice literary references.

Currently reading the Holmes on the Range series which is less literary but does have the amusement value of lots of Sherlock Holmes references and some dime novel references (main character--Old West Cowboy-- is trying to be a detective because he loves reading Sherlock Holmes)

Aug 11, 2012, 7:29 pm

I'm reading what What Alice Knew featuring Henry James and his siblings in their efforts to solve the Whitechapel murders (Jack the Ripper).

Featuring a literary heroine in history is Madame Bovary's Daughter, where Urbach creates a sequel to Flaubert's Madame Bovary.

Aug 11, 2012, 8:01 pm

I forgot to mention The Paris Wife about Ernest and Hadley Hemingway's marriage in Paris. I very much enjoyed the style which was vivid without being melodramatic.

Aug 17, 2012, 5:00 pm

Just found three books-about-books at my local library: 'HOW TO BUY A LOVE OF READING' (2009 Fiction), 'THE CASE FOR BOOKS' (2009) and 'READING FOR MY LIFE' (2012). I'll come back with a review of some of these later.

Aug 18, 2012, 11:04 pm

I am reading The Building of a Book 1929 edition and finding it as interesting as the 1906 edition I gave from Google Books in PDF. Some articles are updated and others are new for the 2nd edition.


Aug 31, 2012, 5:47 pm

Have just finished 'THE MAGIC OF THE BOOK; More Reminiscences and Adventures of a Bookman' (1930) which I got at the Kelmscott Book Shop (www.kelmscottbookschop.com). They have a their complete stock listed on their web page, along with their selection of 'Books About Books.' Mr. Orcutt was a scholar whose interest was lay in the history of book publishing and printing. One of his main interests was in typography and the history of typeface design and evolution. This book delves deeply into early fifteenth and sixteenth century typefaces, as well as the best developed since then, such as the Bodoni typeface. What is interesting is that he designed this entire book himself, and used the Baskerville typeface for it. Here is someone who eats, sleeps and breathes books and printing.

Sep 30, 2012, 8:52 pm

It's only a bit of a stretch for this topic, but I'm currently reading Pillars of Hercules. This doorstop is so much more than a tavelogue; Theroux is re-introducing me to old favorites (Waugh, Hemmingway, Joyce, Shelley) as well as many new ones, including Carlo Levi.

Apr 5, 2013, 10:04 pm

I just finished Racing Odysseus. I just wish there was a bit more about the College President's opinion of the St. Johns curriculum, and a bit less about an old guy on the crew team.

Apr 24, 2013, 2:31 pm

I have just finished Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore as well as Book Traveller and I'm looking forward to starting The King's English about a bookstore out in Utah.
This is a great thread. So many titles I haven't heard of before. Thanks to everyone who has been sharing!

Mar 6, 2018, 8:01 pm

Currently reading The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu. It is excellent, and just like Outwitting History. Except of course that Mali is a skinch sportier than suburban Long Island. Jus' sayin'...

Apr 23, 2019, 3:11 pm

I recently finished When Books Went to War and was fascinated. The author did a good job of weaving in all the politics of publishing, in that time period, with the life-changing impact the books had on U.S. soldiers. A neat book-filled history lesson. Just today I stumbled across an Armed Services Edition of Benchley Beside Himself for $5. I may never read it (though there is an essay lamenting glass doors on bookcases), but I had to buy it.

Apr 24, 2019, 3:28 pm

>34 trav: trav - I was fascinated by a friend's uncle's collection of books printed during the war in the States. They all had comments printed in the front of the book that the small type and spacing were due to efforts to conserve paper for the war.

Edited: May 31, 2019, 2:44 pm

This is only slightly OT. Just finished The Rise and fall of Alexandria which does spend some time of course, discussing the amazing library and it's more famous books.

Oct 21, 2019, 12:12 am

The Bookshop Book

I'm really, really enjoying it so far. Though I still think there ought to be an encyclopedia JUST about Hay On Wye by itself.

Oct 25, 2019, 4:05 pm

I've just finished reading a book on "truths". I am starting a new one on "the art of believing". I wonder. If there are so many "truths", how can a poor fellow believe in anything?

Oct 25, 2019, 7:17 pm

Scanning through and found this thread and snap. This month I have been reading the following:
Ruined by Reading by Lynne Schwartz, I'd Rather Be Reading by Guinevere de la Mare, Book Love by Debbie Tung, The Open Door: When Writers Learned to Read by Steven Gilbar, Bibliophile: A Illustrated Miscellany, Reading in Bed by Steven Gilbar, 101 Uses For This Book by Paul Grescoe, Better Than Life by Daniel Pennac. I am currently reading Bookworms: Great Writers and Readers Celebrate Reading by Laura Furman - this one breaks readers down into types...I found my type; I am a serial reader...I go on binges of subject matter, book series. Always waiting for that next book in a series from a favourite writer. My next book is Phantoms on the Bookshelves that I just bought. I read through the posts and already see a couple I want to get.

Oct 27, 2019, 2:19 am

26 Miles by Jamal Brown

Dec 28, 2019, 10:59 am

I just finished Bibliostyle and was surprised at how good the essays were. I bought it for the photos, but the writing/interviews were wonderful. This weekend I'm starting The Writer's Map which I'm looking forward to. In it authors and editors talk about the maps that inspired their stories as well as the maps they chose to draw and include in their books. I'm a sucker for a story that opens up with a map at the front of the book. So I have high hopes for this one.

Jan 22, 2020, 7:31 pm

Just now starting to read a book received at Christmas- "The Library Book" by Susan Orlean. It is about the 1986 fire at the main branch of the Los Angeles library, a place where I spent many days as a young person where an estimated 1,000,000 books were damaged. Unsolved arson.

Jun 14, 2020, 7:33 pm

I'm reading A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries by Thomas Mallon right now. I read The Library Book a while back and loved it.

Jun 20, 2020, 2:41 pm

Jun 25, 2020, 11:52 am

I just read Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction Book by Tom Raabe and it hits real close to home.

Sep 16, 2020, 1:53 pm

I am reading "The Millionaire and the Bard" by Andrea Mays, wonderful book on Henry Folger and his first folio obsession, it is not full of gibberish and is a fast read, has me hooked on Folger and for some reason now Bruce Rogers...

Oct 21, 2020, 2:38 pm

Show Me A Story, interviews with picture book heroes. It's really wonderful.

Jul 16, 2023, 9:27 pm

New here. Pocket bio: Retired humanities teacher, residing in Tlaxcala, Mexico, with two dogs and six indoor cats. Passionate about literature, history, philosophy, classical music and opera, jazz, cinema, and similar subjects. Nostalgic guy. Politically centrist. BA in American Studies from Yale; MAs in English and Education from Boston University. Born in northern New Jersey. Have lived and worked in San Francisco, Chicago, northern Nevada, northeast Wisconsin, South Korea.

Currently enjoying Arthur Ransome’s Bohemia in London, a collection of pieces about the Grub Street sort of literary life at the turn of the 20th Century, taking a more charming and cheerful view than George Gissing’s bleak novel New Grub Street.

Aug 3, 2023, 10:19 am

Anyone with a serious interest in literature and literary history should get a total kick out of Richard Altick’s 1950 study The Scholar Adventurers. Immensely informative and entertaining look at the byways of literary scholarship.

One of the delights of the Altick volume is a 13-page section of Bibliographic Notes. Any non-fiction book that contains especially good (end or foot)notes, (preferably annotated) bibliography, bibliographic notes or essay, etc, has my everlasting gratitude, because I really will comb through those for other materials I want to follow up on. Books are findable most of the time; journal articles are a bear (American colloquial for “difficult situation”). Fortunately I have JSTOR access through being a Yale alumni, that helps with some articles. I would like to collect old scholarly journals and such, but my financial resources are not unlimited. 😏

I am certain that I will order at least a dozen books mentioned in the Altick notes, not all immediately but eventually. Two other books I have recently found a wealth of follow-up in are Lewis Mumford’s The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects (which has an impressive annotated Bibliography) and Rodman W. Paul’s Mining Frontiers of the Far West 1848-1880 (killer endnotes).

Edited: Aug 31, 2023, 5:56 pm

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