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Casanova Was A Book Lover: And Other Naked Truths and Provocative Curiosities about the Writing, Selling, and Reading of Books [NOOK Book]

Overview

Everyone knows which books people buy; they can just look at the best-seller lists. But who knows which books people steal? Who, for that matter, knows that authors ruin the book market by writing too much? Or why book critics are not critical? Or why librarians need to throw out more books? Who, indeed, knows the answer to that all-important question in our democracy: should presidents and presidential candidates write books? (The answer is no.)

In this irreverent analysis of ...

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Casanova Was A Book Lover: And Other Naked Truths and Provocative Curiosities about the Writing, Selling, and Reading of Books

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Overview

Everyone knows which books people buy; they can just look at the best-seller lists. But who knows which books people steal? Who, for that matter, knows that authors ruin the book market by writing too much? Or why book critics are not critical? Or why librarians need to throw out more books? Who, indeed, knows the answer to that all-important question in our democracy: should presidents and presidential candidates write books? (The answer is no.)

In this irreverent analysis of the book industry, John Maxwell Hamilton -- a longtime journalist and public radio commentator -- answers these questions and many more, proving that the best way to study books is not to take them too seriously. He provides a rich history of the book -- from the days when monks laboriously hand-copied texts to the tidal wave of Titanic tie-ins -- and gives a succinct overview of the state of the industry today, including writing, marketing, promoting, reviewing, ghostwriting, and collecting.

Throughout, Hamilton peppers his prose with spicy tidbits of information that will fascinate bibliophiles everywhere. For instance, did you know that Walt Whitman was fired from a government job because his boss found Leaves of Grass, and its author, immoral? Or that the most stolen book in the United States is the Bible, followed by The Joy of Sex? How about that Dan Quayle's 1989 Christmas card read, "May our nation continue to be a beakon of hope to the world"? Or that Casanova was an ardent lover of books as well as women?

Hamilton offers an inside look at the history and business of book reviewing, explaining why, more often than not, reviewers resemble "counselors at a self-esteem camp" and examining the enormous impact of the "Oprah effect" on the market. As the self-appointed Emily Post of the book world, he advises publishers, authors, and readers on proper etiquette for everything from book parties ("Feel free to build a party around a theme in a book, no matter how tacky") and jacket photos ("You should not show off your new baby unless [your] book [is] about raising kids"), to book signings ("Just because an author has given you an autograph does not mean they want to become your pen pal") and promotion by friends and relatives ("They should carry the book at all times on public transportation with the cover showing").

Both edifying and enjoyable, Casanova Was a Book Lover fills a Grand Canyon--sized void in the literature on literature. It is indispensable for book enthusiasts who want to know the naked truth about reading, writing, and publishing.

LSU Press

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Editorial Reviews

Bookpage Magazine
For true lovers of the book and all its trappings, Hamilton has written an encyclopedia of a valentine.
Library Journal
This is a book to be dipped into rather than read straight through. While it seems to cover all aspects of the book trade, from book-party etiquette to the most often stolen books, its gossipy, irreverent tone is no substitute for depth, and the many examples ultimately fail to disguise the shallow handling of substantive issues. Hamilton's attempt to maintain an ironic tone throughout makes the book somewhat tedious. However, the final chapter, which covers the Library of Congress, does provide interesting, if cursory, insight into the current politics of book acquisition and preservation. Here, the tone of forced irony is subsumed, and one wishes that the rest of the book were written with as light a touch. A somewhat useful reference for isolated facts, this is recommended for larger public libraries.--Karen E. Lempert, Facing History and Ourselves, Brookline, MA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807142394
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2000
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

John Maxwell Hamilton is the Hopkins P. Braezeale Professor at Louisiana State University and Dean of LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication. He is a commentator on National Public Radio's Marketplace and the author or coauthor of several books, most recently Hold the Press: The Inside Story on Newspapers.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Author's Warning xiii
An Introduction to the Proper Study of Mankind 1
1 T. Roger Claypool's Fish Store 13
2 The Art of Marketing 57
3 Artless Thank-Yous 85
4 A Guide to Good Book Behavior 107
5 Inglorious Employment 127
6 Literary Luck 157
7 Best Stolen Books 175
8 Dear Mr. Politician: Please Don't Write 195
9 The Universal Library 231
Appendix A Book Promotion: The Business Established by the Author of Our Nature 259
Appendix B Self-Publishing: The American Dream 267
Appendix C Four Bad Mistakes about Editing Errors 273
Notes on Sources 281
Index 321
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2001

    Calling all book lovers

    An outstanding and easy read for people who enjoy books and want to know more about the ins and outs of writing, publishing, libraries and especially why politicians shouldn't write books until they are out of office! Delightful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2000

    Irresistible Bounty for Bibliophiles!

    This book deserves 8 stars! This was the first book I have read in years that I was sorry to reach the end of. Each sentence is there to delight you. Each story is there to enthrall you. Each chapter encompasses a microcosm of the wonderful world of books. If you love books, are interested in authors, wonder about reviewers, or find dedications and acknowledgments intriguing, you've found just the right book! One of the things that makes the book especially delightful is that it does not take the subject too seriously. For example, the dedication (in part) is to all book reviewers so that they will not pan the book (I would have praised the book anyway!). You will also learn which authors wrote in the nude on their porches. There really is a section on the writing career of Casanova. From readers, to the economics of authors, to what happens to all those books that go to the Library of Congress, to which books are stolen most often, it's all here. Each seemingly irreverent thought though builds into a fascinating picture of the role that books play in the lives of authors, readers, reviewers, publishers and book sellers. You will get insights from Gutenberg to Barnesandnoble.com. Here are some of the chapter titles to give you a sense of the book's coverage and mood: -- T. Roger Claypool's Fish Store -- Art of Marketing -- Artless Thank You's -- A Guide to Good Book Behavior -- Inglorious Employment -- Literary Luck -- Best Stolen Books -- Dear Mr. Politican, Please Don't Write A Guide to Good Book Behavior tells you what to do and not to do when you friend writes a book. You'll learn the etiquette of writing an autograph if you are an author. The material is so good that this could be turned into a one person Broadway show. That would be wonderful! Have a great time reading this book. It is best

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