Monday, November 12, 2012

A Bookseller in Your Pocket

I finally took the time today to read Read This! Handpicked Favorites from America's Indie Bookstores. I found it stimulating on the one hand and discouraging on the other.

Stimulating because here are twenty-five independent booksellers who obviously love books and have generously shared their picks of the fifty books they love to recommend. Discouraging because although I recognized many of the titles (and according to the book there are 1194) there are so, so many I have never, ever heard of. 

Of course there are the Faulkners, the Hemingways, the Austens and even the Wodehouses (a personal favorite) but I am not familiar with, just to name a few at random, Roberto Balono (The Savage Detectives), Patrick Leigh Fermor (A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube) or Dai Sijie (Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress).

I see I have a lot of investigating to do. And that is what makes this slim volume so much fun.

I liked that each section included answers to a question or two by the store's owner or other bookslinger (as one fellow called himself) and that each person got to elaborate a bit on three or four of the books from his or her list. 

Also, it was nice to be reminded of titles of books that I had read and had forgotten. (The Phantom Tollbooth, for example. I want to run out right now and buy it.)

In a perfect world, though, the titles would have some sort of shorthand notation as to the type of book it is (for those of us not in the know) such as F, NF, SS, P, or J (Fiction, Non-fiction, Short Story, Poetry or Juvenile). 

I also find it surprising that the book is listed on Amazon and Barnes and Noble -- at a discount, of course. Somehow I thought, or hoped, that maybe it wouldn't be. I mean, we are talking about indie booksellers here.  Just sayin'...


  1. Just wanted you to know I ordered this from our local Indie bookseller. I meant to respond when I first read this post, and then life got away from me. We have a wrapped Christmas book exchange for our December book group, and this will be mine. I might need to read it first, just to make sure it will be a good book, silly me.

    I also just saw your review about the Plague. It has been on my list. I'll make an effort to get to it now. There is a young adult book, I think it is called The Fever, that deals with the same topic, but is set in Philadelphia that I read a few years ago.

    I enjoy reading your posts, Belle. Thank you.

    1. Oh goody. Someone in your book club is in for a treat. It won't take you too long to read it before you wrap it. Be prepared to take notes!

      This whole history of yellow fever in America is new to me so I have enjoyed (well maybe that is not the word, maybe 'been fascinated')reading about it. Of course, there is the illness and then the experiments and research to discover how it is transmitted and finally the development of a vaccine. From the 1878 epidemic in Memphis it was another 60 years before a reliable vaccine was used on soldiers going off to World War II. Amazing.