Thursday, August 16, 2012

Books Upon Books

One sign of bibliomania is buying books about books.  I've always been conflicted about this.  I'd rather be reading actual books themselves than spending time reading about reading.  Here's my list of meta-books.

1.  A Passion for Books: A Book Lover's Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Lore, and Lists on Collecting , Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for and Appreciating Books (1999).  The subtitle says it all.  Bought used at Valley Books, Amherst, MA. 


2.  The List of Books, A Library of over 3,000 works, Frederick Raphael and Kenneth McLeish (1981).  One of the most thoughtful list of books assembled.  Lists by category, best books of the decade.  Specific symbols denoting books of special interest.  Birthday gift 1981. 

3.  The Lifetime Reading Plan, Clifton Fadiman (1960).  Fadiman outlines a plan for reading your way through the great minds of Western civilization.  Bought used somewhere.  

4.  Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, Anne Fadiman (1998).  Daughter of Clifton Fadiman (above) presents a series of well-crafted essays about her lifetime around books.  Favorite essay is about how she and her husband combined their libraries--by size or alphabetized by author.  I won't give away the ending.  Birthday gift 2001.

5.  How to Read a Book: A Guide to Reading the Great Books..., Mortimer Adler (1966).  Adler sets out responsibilities for the reader when they pick up a book.  He provides a master reading plan at the end designed to cover the great books of Western civilization.  Bought used. but forgot where. 

6.  Living with Books: The Art of Book Selection, Helen Haines (1935).  Intended audience was librarians, "reader's advisers" and leaders of discussion groups--Haines presents a full discussion of book discussion, values and appraisals,  and reviews of book categories.  Birthday figt 1992. 

7.  The Magic of Books: An Anthology for Book Week, compiled by Sanford and Schauffler (1929).  Created for "Book Week" (now faded into obscurity), a series of essays on books, libraries, and reading.  Bought used somewhere.  

8.  The World's Greatest Books: Travel and Adventure, Edited by Northcliffe and McClure (1910).  Part of a series of books published by S.S. McClure Company.  Bought used somewhere. 

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