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'...