Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere

( 5 )

Overview

Want to impress the hot stranger at the bar who asks for your take on Infinite Jest? Dying to shut up the blowhard in front of you who?s pontificating on Cormac McCarthy?s ?recurring road narratives?? Having difficulty keeping Francine Prose and Annie Proulx straight?

For all those overwhelmed readers who need to get a firm grip on the relentless onslaught of must-read books to stay on top of the inevitable conversations that swirl around them, Lauren Leto?s Judging a Book by ...

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Judging a Book By Its Lover

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Overview

Want to impress the hot stranger at the bar who asks for your take on Infinite Jest? Dying to shut up the blowhard in front of you who’s pontificating on Cormac McCarthy’s “recurring road narratives”? Having difficulty keeping Francine Prose and Annie Proulx straight?

For all those overwhelmed readers who need to get a firm grip on the relentless onslaught of must-read books to stay on top of the inevitable conversations that swirl around them, Lauren Leto’s Judging a Book by Its Lover is manna from literary heaven! A hilarious send-up of—and inspired homage to—the passionate and peculiar world of book culture, this guide to literary debate leaves no reader or author unscathed, at once adoring and skewering everyone from Jonathan Franzen to Ayn Rand to Dostoyevsky and the people who read them.

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Editorial Reviews

Omnivoracious.com
“If CliffsNotes had an opinion and a couple of drinks under their belts, they’d sound like Lauren Leto.”
James Frey
“It’s On the Origin of Species for the library set.”
Christian Lander
“In terms of allowing me to sound smart at cocktail parties, this book surpassed my English degree by page twelve.”
Wylie Overstreet
“Leto is as funny as she is well-read; a delight for bibliophiles and wannabes alike.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062070142
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/2/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 949,125
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren Leto dropped out of law school to start the popular humor blog “Texts from Last Night.” She co-authored the book Texts from Last Night: All the Texts No One Remembers Sending. She lives in Brooklyn.

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Read an Excerpt

Judging a Book by Its Lover


By Lauren Leto

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2012 Lauren Leto
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-207014-2


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Commercial Confessions


I'm a very anxious person. My guess (gathered from an unscientific survey of fellow readers and the uneducated opinions of my family) is that this may be the result of years of overexposure to fictional worlds and underexposure to real world activities such as recess, school dances, and cocktail parties. I'm not very comfortable in settings and situations most people take for granted as part of the comings and goings of everyday life. For example, traveling: traveling with me is an experience I wouldn't want to wish on anyone— and I go to great lengths to save friends and family the trouble. Accompanying me on planes and in cars is nightmarish. If it weren't for the helpful tricks that I've come to rely on, I don't know how I'd get anywhere. I've developed ways to deal with my anxiety, tics that keep the pressure down and keep the terror at bay. These quirks are my dirty little secrets. Sometimes it's just two stiff drinks at the airport TGIF before boarding; other times the situation calls for more drastic actions to divert my attention from my mounting anxiety over the prospect of hurtling forward on a road or through the sky. I need something a little more potent.

I'm telling you this because I want to be as honest as possible with you. Janet Evanovich books are my booze; I can't board a plane without checking the airport bookstore to find the newest tale of Stephanie Plum. If I've read all the available Evanovich, I have to pick the next easiest, sleaziest thing. I started and finished Twilight on red-eye trips from Detroit to Los Angeles and back; I conquered New Moon before touch down from New York to San Francisco. I wept over Idaho while reading the first Hunger Games. At these moments I need my reading easy and quick; I need to turn the pages without knowing it. I don't have the bandwidth to wonder about the underlying meaning of the exact word chosen to phrase how one turned around or analyze just why an object was described in a certain way. I need distraction, not deep thoughts.

I make this distinction because most of this book is about avoiding bad books, and I don't want a reader to think I'm being an elitist snob. Considering yourself a serious reader doesn't mean you can't read light books. Loving to read means you sometimes like to turn your head off. Reading is not about being able to recite passages from Camus by memory. Loving young adult novels well past adolescence isn't a sign of stunted maturity or intelligence. The most important thing about reading is not the level of sophistication of the books on your shelf. There is no prerequisite reading regimen for being a bookworm.

Let's all embrace the fact that The Da Vinci Code has sold more copies than all of Saul Bellow's works combined. Dan Brown and his ilk are keeping our bookstores in semi-business. If America chooses easy escapism over dense dialogue, we should welcome that decision with equanimity.

When it comes to reading, whatever floats the boat. And if someone deems your reading choice frivolous, who cares? If it's what you want to read, go for it.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto. Copyright © 2012 by Lauren Leto. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 4, 2013

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A piece of nonf

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

    A piece of nonfiction work that is interesting for both a non reader and a super reader.  As a reader, I usually limit my reading to a few genres and current books, so I enjoyed reading this book as it clued me into books that I didn't read in college or years right after and it actually gave me a list of books that I am going to try to make time to read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    With plenty of wit and sarcasm to go around in this thought-prov

    With plenty of wit and sarcasm to go around in this thought-provoking book, Lauren Leto attacks what we thought we knew about books. Remember Clifford the Big Red Dog? Apparently he has something to teach little kids, and it's not how to be a made scientist bent on creating big strangely colored dogs for all. It's not something most parents would want for their children. You remember that book everyone was talking about, oh, this many years ago? Lauren was paying attention, and now she's outting them for what they really mean to say. There's also advice for book lovers from how to deliver pickup lines to someone in a bookstore to cheating in book discussions, and innovative ways to show off your proud collection of books around the house.

    Yeah, after reading this book, I now know how to hit on a hot guy in the bookstore (or public library). Will I put it to use? Maybe if it's a friend I can laugh with later... or on my imaginary, hotter-than-life future book boyfriend who would never let me down. Still, you never know.

    This is not a book you should take (too) seriously (most of the time). You should read this prepared to laugh out loud at the snarky comments that Lauren makes in commenting on books, the industry, and those who love it--and the outrageous things book lovers will do to get a healthy dose of literature into their system, like taking a long train ride in a foreign country the day the last Harry Potter book is being released. (On the bright side, she got to finish it before her brother, who laughed when he found out she was going to be abroad when it was released and totally thought he was going to read it before her.) I now know to stick closely to my friends when I'm in a foreign country and they know where they're going and I don't, which is highly likely to happen.

    Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2012

    Judging A Book By Its Lover is your one-stop shop for all topics

    Judging A Book By Its Lover is your one-stop shop for all topics regarding books and the people who love them. Author Lauren Leto offers snarky, usually spot-on, sometimes condescending and always funny observations on a wide-range of topics, including:

    •Bookshelf of the Vanities - bookshelf presentations & the people behind them.
    •Ten Rules for Bookstore Hookups
    •Rules of Book Club - ohhh, this was so snarky and she nailed it.
    •Fan Letter - snarky pleas to fans of writers such as Ayn Rand -YES!, Proust, and Vonnegut.
    •Your Moveable Feast - an imaginary scenario of a meal with Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others.
    •How to Write Like Any Author - so snarky, and funny.
    •What Your Child Will Grow Up to Be.... - based on their favorite book, I think my kids will be okay.
    •Stereotyping People By Their Favorite Author - this section was very hit or miss, more miss in my opinion. Funny, though.
    •How to Fake It - a guide to faking your way through discussion of some of the most prolific books
    •A Gift Guide...-a guide to gift-giving for the important people in your life. I now know what to give my mother-in-law for Christmas. Hooray.
    •Twitter-Sized Reviews of Memoirs - funny, snarky tweets that review memoirs
    •Book Critic's Bag of Tricks - Watch out guys.This gave me tons of new, pretentious words for my reviews.
    •How to Succeed in Classifying Fiction - Gah, I still don't get it.
    Besides the fun commentary on books and readers, Leto offers heartfelt stories on the effect books have had on her life. She also gives a great argument for the importance of print books.

    Judging a Book By Its Lover was definitely a fun read for me. And you can bet I will be using it as a personal guide for future bookish judginess.


    Favorite Quote:

    "Loving young adult novels well past adolescence isn't a sign of stunted maturity or intelligence. The most important thing about reading is not the level of sophistication of the books on your shelf. There is no prerequisite reading regimen for being a bookworm." (pg. 8)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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