Books About Books | November 15, 2012

”LibraryMy Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places To Browse, Read, and Shop. Black Dog & Leventhal. Nov. 2012. c.384p. ed. by Ronald Rice. ISBN 9781579129101. $23.95. LIT
This is more than just a celebration, more than just a compendium of bookstore kudos. This is like each of your favorite writers (84 of them!) penning a love letter to their favorite bookstore. Names you may recognize include Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, Francine Prose, Lisa See, and Simon Winchester. Editor Rice, a publishing professional, has recruited new pieces that illuminate the quirks and many intangibles that make a great bookstore. From the owner who will trek across town to help out at a library signing, to the fierceness with which some owners protect their customers’ privacy, to the overall comfort of stepping into a world that you just know is full of compatriots, the beautiful stories in these pages tell of those things that make any neighborhood bookstore great. VERDICT There are other collections that focus on bookstores, such as the recent Read This!: Handpicked Favorites from America’s Indie Bookstores, edited by Hans Weyandt, and the short story collection, Shelf Life: Fantastic Stories Celebrating Bookstores, edited by Greg Ketter, but this one is a personal peek into the hearts of the contributing writers as well as into the bookstores they love. Sure to please any bibliophile, even if borrowed from the library!—Linda White, Maplewood, MN

My Ideal Bookshelf. Little, Brown. Nov. 2012. c.240p. ed. by Thessaly La Force with art by Jane Mount. illus. ISBN 9780316200905. $24.99. LIT
This is a charming and whimsical look at the favorite books of a wide selection from today’s creative community. Editor La Force contacted and interviewed notables from the worlds of food (Alice Waters, Mark Bittman), music (Patti Smith), books (Junot Diaz, Mary Karr, Malcolm Gladwell), movies (Judd Apatow, Mira Nair), and fashion (Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte), among others, and each sent a list of their favorite books along with their thoughts on what their shelves revealed. For some, their reading is often focused on their work, but for others, like Rosanne Cash, “I was one of those kids who asked my mom to drop me at the library on Saturdays. That was where I spent my weekends.” These intimate glimpses are accompanied by Mount’s painted representations of each contributor’s bookshelves. VERDICT This book will be a pleasure for anyone who loves books, reading, and memoirs as it is both a quick peek into the reading lives of others and a source of new reading ideas. Good either for circulation or to give as a gift.—Catherine Gilmore, Tigard P.L., Portland, OR