Friday, December 14, 2012

One for the Books by Joe Queenan

If you are inclined to read to friends within earshot funny or insightful or even maddening statements from the book you are reading, I suggest you read One for the Books only when you are alone. Otherwise, you may read the entire book twice, once silently and once out loud. Joe Queenan has been a passionate reader since childhood and he has passionate opinions about books: the books he has read, the books he plans to read, the books he refuses to read, the books his friends have read, the books his friends recommend to him, why people read, where people read, bookstores, libraries, book clubs and summer reading lists. And he uses his sharp wit to comment on these subjects. You are bound to be insulted by his opinion of one or more of your favorite books. You might bristle at his opinions of book clubs. You will be shocked by his views of libraries. But you will always be amused and entertained, and you will always be engaged. You may agree when he defines hagiography as books “written by dopes in the service of doofuses.” In fact, you may want to say, “That’s exactly what I was thinking,” Don’t! The author has definite opinions on that phrase. You may disagree and want to scream, “My Friend Flicka is not a cheerful book!” or, “But I love The Kite Runner!” In fact, you will either agree or disagree with virtually everything he writes. After all, you are also a passionate reader or you wouldn’t be reading a book about reading books. In the end, the author writes movingly about why people read, explaining how avid readers use books to both connect with and escape from the world. This book will make you proud to be bookish.