One for the Books

One for the Books

4.2 5
by Joe Queenan
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Humorist Queenan’s (Closing Time: A Memoir) mordantly funny reflections on his relationships with books will resonate with many avid readers, particularly those burdened by guilt over the number of Great Books they never managed to complete. Many pages display his brilliant wit: “I do not listen to audiobooks, for the same reason that I do not listen to baked ziti; it lacks the personal touch.” But woven around these one-liners are thoughtful musings on the importance of books in the author’s life, including touching anecdotes about projects such as his effort to check out library books that no one has borrowed for five years in order to save the books from disposal. Among the book’s highlights is Queenan’s deft savaging of the sometimes banal “Questions for Discussion” that appear in the reading guides included in books. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"[Queenan's] passion for reading is infectious ... It's so rare to hear such a heartfelt defense of books - it's one of the most original works we read this year."
New York Daily News (Best books of 2012)

"A celebration of literature, reading and the call of books from a stylish humorist who has a soft spot for Georges Simenon and a hard time with trendiness and 'astonishing' reviews."
Kansas City Star (Top 100 books of 2012)

"A passionate, at times hilarious, account of a life spent reading and rereading."
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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"Queenan's goal isn't just to declare his love for books and to list particular books that he loves, but to suss out the customs of book lovers: to analyze what books mean to his friends and acquaintances (not to mention a few enemies), and how books forge or destroy friendships."
Leah Price, San Francisco Chronicle
Kirkus Reviews
A journalist shares his obsession with books, swinging his machete through the fields of literature. A national columnist and prolific writer, Queenan (Closing Time: A Memoir, 2009) is crazy about books--literally. Even other bibliophiles will likely consider his reading habits to be on the lunatic fringe: "I cannot remember a single time when I was reading fewer than fifteen books…I am talking about books I am actively reading, books that are right there on my nightstand and are not leaving until I'm done with them. Right now, the number is thirty-two." The author admits that this is "madness." Such obsession makes him a promiscuous reader, but also a faithful one, devouring everything he can find from an author he discovers, no matter how obscure or prolific. Since he's sometimes classified as a humorist, and since much of his humor lies in his outrageous assertions, it's hard to tell how seriously to take his dismissal of Middlemarch, Ulysses and all of Thomas Hardy, though plainly he takes books and reading very seriously indeed. Yet he doesn't much care for independent bookstores ("often staffed by condescending prigs who do not approve of people like me. The only writers they like are dead or exotic or Paul Auster"), or book critics ("mostly servile muttonheads, lacking the nerve to call out famous authors for their daft plots and slovenly prose), or book clubs ("I would rather have my eyelids gnawed on by famished gerbils than join a book club"). Queenan also resists the temptation of most book lovers to buy a lot of books, since he figures he won't live long enough to read (or re-read) the ones he's vowed to finish before he dies. Most will agree that "reading is intensely personal," and the author splatters his personality over every page. An amusing homage to reading that contains something to offend even (especially?) the most ardent book lover.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143124207
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/29/2013
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
411,983
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"[Queenan's] passion for reading is infectious ... It’s so rare to hear such a heartfelt defense of books — it’s one of the most original works we read this year."
~New York Daily News (Best books of 2012)
 
"A celebration of literature, reading and the call of books from a stylish humorist who has a soft spot for Georges Simenon and a hard time with trendiness and 'astonishing' reviews."
~Kansas City Star (Top 100 books of 2012)
 
"A passionate, at times hilarious, account of a life spent reading and rereading."
~Minneapolis Star Tribune
  
"Queenan's goal isn't just to declare his love for books and to list particular books that he loves, but to suss out the customs of book lovers: to analyze what books mean to his friends and acquaintances (not to mention a few enemies), and how books forge or destroy friendships."
~Leah Price, San Francisco Chronicle
 

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