Friday, February 6, 2009

Review: A Passion for Books by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan

I love to read books about books. I don't personally know that many bibliophiles, so I like the sense of community I get. I'm also interested in the history of books and bookmaking and book-people and everything else. Unfortunately, I find that a lot of these books-about-books start to ramble in the third or fourth chapter, and it can be difficult to actually obtain information from them.

This book's full title is "A Passion for Books: A book lover's treasury of stories, essays, humor, lore, and lists on collecting, reading, borrowing, lending, caring for, and appreciating books." Rather than being one person rambling, it is instead a collection of said stories, essays, humor, lore and lists, gathered from a wide variety of times, places, and people. Each essay explores a new topic, with plenty of useful information and interesting tidbits to sink my teeth into, without having so much that I'm overwhelmed or worse, bored.

There are cartoons, humorous essays, lists of must-reads, informative articles, and character sketches of the most famous (and infamous) bibliomaniacs. There's something to suit anyone's interests, or in my case, to suit all of my interests! Some of my favorites were the essays concerning book collecting, something I didn't know much about before. Other highlights were Umberto Eco's essays on how to run a public library and how to justify a private one... he's funnier than I gave him credit for!

This is definitely my favorite book in its field, but my other book-about-books review from November can be found here, and a list of a gazillion recommendations for more books can be found here. My favorite in the list is The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski.


  1. I love books about books! I have this book and have dipped into from time to time - it is excellent! I should really go back and read it cover to cover though. Thanks for your review.

  2. I love books about book too:)I have checked this out twice from the library to read bits and pieces...the latest was Pillow Books by Clifton Fadiman.

  3. Much Ado, You're welcome and yes you should! :)

    BookPsmith, I enjoyed Pillow Books but I didn't find it very applicable. Maybe if I had time all day to read the books I'm not allowed at bedtime, but I have to take the time I can get!

  4. This is one of my favorite subjects, too. And I've had "A Passion for Books" on my TBR list for quite a while now, but I've been seeing more and more about it lately. Apparently, it's getting some new attention. I'm definitely putting it on my list for this year. Thanks for the review.


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