Happy Top Ten Tuesday! This week, the folks at The Broke and the Bookish are asking us to freestyle a bit, with a Top 10 of genre X post. Although I have several genres I read or have read pretty frequently (mysteries, chick lit, Victorian novels), I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity to do another type of book I’ve mentioned in these posts before…so I give you “Top Ten Books About Books and Reading.”
I’ve always found books about books to be a fun subject…although mostly I’m talking about book/publishing/reading history, or personal reflections on reading, to me this genre also crosses the boundaries into literary criticism. This list is a combination of books I have read and some that are in my famous pile.
I do have to admit, it’s been a while since I read some of these, so the topic the book covers is a little hazy for me…it also means this list is not in any particular order.
1. A History of Reading, by Alberto Manguel. Manguel has authored a number of books about books and reading, but so far, this is the only one I have read.
2. A Splendor of Letters, by Nicholas Basbanes. Basbanes often focuses on book collecting and bibliomania (another of his titles is A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books).
3-5. Was Heathcliff a Murderer?, Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?, and Who Betrays Elizabeth Bennett?, by John Sutherland. In these and several other books, Sutherland teases out mysteries and plot holes and then provides an answer to the questions he poses.
6. Library: An Unquiet History, by Matthew Battles. Histories of libraries and their role in society.
7. The Book of Lost Books, by Stuart Kelly. I love this one. Kelly discusses books that are “lost”…eg. referred to, but that no longer exist; unfinished books, unstarted books; books literally lost…
8. The Book on the Bookshelf, by Henry Petroski. Yep. A book about bookshelves (sounds like a Seinfeld plot device). Petroski explores the ways books and reading materials have been stored, and how we have come to the “bookshelf” we recognize today.
9. Books, by Larry McMurtry. A recent read for me. McMurtry writes about his own experiences as a reader and writer, but also as the owner of a secondhand bookstore. Lots of insider tales of the secondhand/rare book business
10. A 3 for 1 of books I haven’t read yet. Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home, by Susan Hill; So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson; and Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, by Christopher Booker. The first two are about the books we accumulate and why we choose to read what we read and working through the pile, the last is about how every story told can be traced to one of seven basic plots.
So, there you have my top ten books about books.
What would your be your genre pick for this top ten (and if you have one, feel free to link to it)?