"I certainly never write a review about a book I don't think worth reviewing, a flat-out bad book, unless it's an enormously fashionable bad book." --
says, John Gardner in Conversations with John Gardner
Quoted from 'Dictionary of Library and Information Science Quotations'     Edited by Mohamed Taher & L S Ramaiah. ISBN: 8185689423 (New Delhi , Aditya, 1994) p.150. Available @ Amazon.com

Saturday, November 23, 2013

One for the Books, by Joe Queenan

This is not a book to rhyme with 'one for my master...' It is also not just a  book about the author's taste-buds. It is much more and quite different from the other existing histories of reading, histories of books, and histories of bibliophiles. However, this is also not a book that will be on the desk of every researcher of the history of books, historians of bookstores and book-shelf. Why will it not be? Because among other reasons it is from the pen of a journalis, and this is true with many who report in the media (with malice towards none), probably they don't feel the importance of  citing or referencing. In short, the entire book simply lacks citations and bibliographic sources relating to facts, figures, etc. Read more here: Fareed Zakaria says many journalists don't attribute quotations ...

Just one example from the first opening sentence of CHAPTER ONE (to feel the pulse):  "The average American reads four books a year, and the average American finds this more than sufficient." [page 1].  And a reviewer says both about the facts and figures, in a best manner:

"Cultural critic and writer Joe Queenan’s book, One for the Books, begins with a dispiriting fact: “The average American reads four books a year, and the average American finds this more than sufficient.”
Of course the actual number of books that Americans read is much lower than that. The law of averages (proper statisticians call this concept the mean) pushes up the figure.
Queenan, who reads up to 200 books a year, has the nastiest things to say about book clubs. And to make sure no one is in two minds about what he really thinks, he points his machine gun directly at those who belong to them." [source]
 One for the Books Joe Queenan

 What others say:
"Joe Queenan's One for the Books is an attempt to impose order of his otherwise disorderly reading life. Unlike Murray's book-collecting mania, Queenan has a lunacy for remembering and listing almost every book he's read." [Lowery, Robert G. "Joe Queenan: One for the Books." Irish Literary Supplement 32.2 (2013): 27]

And another reviewer's last sentence: "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." ["Queenan, Joe: ONE FOR THE BOOKS." Kirkus Reviews 1 Sept. 2012.]

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