Customer Reviews: 1001 Books for Every Mood: A Bibliophile's Guide to Unwinding, Misbehaving, Forgiving, Celebrating, Commiserating
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on July 21, 2008
It's taken me two weeks to get through Hallie Ephron's 1001 Books for every Mood, but not because it was a bad book. Just the opposite. I wanted to carefully read each of the 1001 entries, deciding if I wanted to read the books, and marking the books I've already read. Most book nerds out there will find this book just as fascinating as I did. It's the perfect book for book club selections, personal book lists, and gifts for the readers in your life.

Ephron breaks the books into eighty chapters. She asks, "What are you in the mood for?" Are in the the mood for books for a good laugh? Do you want books to revel in art? Do you want books for thrills? For chills? For intrigue? There's something for everyone in this collection.

It didn't surprise me to discover that I had read a number of books in the chapter "To Sift through Clues," since I'm a mystery reader. And, I read fantasy, so "To Be Astonished," had a lot of check marks. "To Slide Down the Rabbit Hole" included not only Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but also The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, books about alternate realities. Each chapter included books I had read, and ones I want to read.

Ephron includes quite a nice mixture of books, fiction, nonfiction, and even titles for younger readers, all included in the same chapters. She also has a rating system that readers will appreciate. Books are rated for their literary merit, their influence, whether they are family friendly, and whether they've been made into a movie. This last rating, for movies, is a little out-dated, which is easily explained because movies have been produced since the book first went to press. Each entry also includes the awards that book won.

My only complaint is the pink print in the book. Pink print is very difficult to read, and I don't understand why publishing company's think they should use it. Other than that, this book is a perfect gift or selection for a book lover.
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on August 25, 2008
Yes, this is a list of 1001 books, but it's more than just a list, because there are unique descriptions of each book, and excerpts from some of them. There are also little just-for-fun book quizzes.

At the beginning of each section is a list of the icons she uses to highlight a book's notable characteristics, a system that includes Literary Merit, Provocative, Influential, Inspirational, Brainy, Easy Reading, Page Turner, Challenging (how, exactly, is that different from Brainy?), Bathroom Book, Family Friendly, and Movie (meaning, the book has been made into a movie). As I said, I don't always understand how she assigns literary merit, and it seems to have little to do with whether she thinks a book is good, since she recommends many books with only one star for literary merit rather than all five-star books. What exactly determines that David Sedaris' 'Naked' has more literary merit than Erma Bombeck? Or that "Wicked" has more literary merit than "Steal This Book" (which are both in the same category, 'To Misbehave,' by the way)?

There are several recurring features: Department of Memorable Opening Lines ("I write this sitting in the kitchen sink." - 'I Capture the Castle'); Department of Great Characters; Who played the role of ______ in the movie?; The Author Explains the Title.

While I am not sure I completely understand Ephron's method of categorizing things, nor her ways of determining literary merit, she nonetheless comes up with something in every category that sounds intriguing. Some of her categories are obvious: For A Good Laugh; For a Good Cry; For Romance. Others are less so: For a Walk on The Wild Side; For Hysterical (how is that different from a Good Laugh?); To Run Away From Home (that's a mood?) And sometimes the things she includes in a category are puzzling. The category "To Be Astounded," for example, is mostly fantasy - but Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" in the same category as the Harry Potter books? And the "Action" category includes both science fiction and Rafael Sabatini's swashbucklers.

One thing I might have done differently, had I been publishing the book, would be to break up the Index in the back into several indices - by author, by book title, by all the ones that have a "Memorable Opening Lines" excerpt. It would make it easier for people who define their moods differently from Ephron to find things.

To give you an idea of the variety here, here's some of the list of books that I scribbled down, after reading this book, for my To Be Read list, because Ephron's descriptions made them sound far more interesting than the reviews when they were written, or the requirements of school, or the fact that I'd never have heard of them otherwise:
The Physics of Christmas
Watchers by Dean Koontz
The Circular Staircase by M.R. Rinehart
Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell
The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth
A History of the World in 6 Glasses
Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants

That should give you an example of the wide range in subjects, authors, and publication dates of the books included in this list. You are bound to find several dozen things yourself.
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on September 23, 2008
This title will give you ideas when you are in between books, and can't find anything browsing around the aisles. It's fantastic, and the icons
help to quickly choose exactly what you're in the mood for. A great gift idea as well.
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VINE VOICEon July 24, 2008
Since I am the kind of person that tends to follow what I feel, and not what I think, I loved this book! I have bought many books in the past because of what I was feeling at that moment. Relationship troubles? I wandered into self help. Feeling stuck? I made my way into the creativity section. When I came across this book, I snatched it right up!

Here is a great blend of fiction and non-fiction books, and you are led into them by a "table of moods." Do you want to "go over the edge?" How about "trip the light fantastic?" There is nothing boring like: sad, happy, or angry. If you want a "good laugh," you may read NAKED by David Sedaris. Under the blurb of what it's about, there are small icons like a fire (which means provocative) a drama mask (which means humorous) etc. Also, there are some fun additions like: "Department of great opening lines" or "Department of great characters." Sometimes, there are quizzes at the end of the section.

The only complaint that I had was that under "literary merit," the book said that it was rated on a scale of 1-4 stars. If you are writing a book about books that librarians, reviewers, and others have loved, why would some of these books only have one star? I would think that you would only include 3-4 star books.

Highly recommended!
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on December 27, 2014
This is a criticism about how the book was printed and its legibility. Lot's of squinting or a magnifying glass is needed to read this book. I received it as a Christmas present in 2014. While the content is probably great, it is very difficult to read. Considering my vision is about 20/25 and while I have an early stage cataract in one eye, the print is terribly small and the way the characters were typeset, is poor.

Each of the characters in a given description are not fully "inked". That's to say it's like reading from the real old dot matrix printers in a light grey scale font. The printer/publisher must have been saving on ink the day this went to press. I wish this book was available in large print or on Kindle.
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on May 13, 2013
I'm so excited about this book- I got it right before summer and once I marked off those books I've already read, I compiled a summer reading list. The short reviews of each book are great and very beneficial and I also like that so many different genres are represented.
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on December 16, 2013
As other people have said, this makes for an excellent gift idea. I got this for my daughter and I'm sure she'll love it.

My only* qualm was how the, "LOOK INSIDE" preview shows this very unique, very stylish, bold Pink lettering (my daughter's favorite color) throughout the entirety of the book. I feel it's a bit of false-advertising seeing as how the actual* book, at least the copy I'd received, was nothing but faded Grays & Black: Lifeless. Confusion ensued.

That had been a considerably significant selling point for me so I can't say I wasn't disappointed -- what're you going to do though[?] I don't understand why they would advertise such a blatant departure from the actual product; or at least specify any differences in its description.

Also, if you do decide to purchase this, be sure to ask the seller to add protective padding of some sort to your copy. They should normally do this anyway but perhaps they're trying to save money on packaging...who knows. Ours was bent really badly and it was hard to figure out whether they had given me a beat up copy, or if it'd gotten bent during the shipment.

It wouldn't be our first time being sent obviously damaged/worn books (each time never getting a reply when asked about any subsequent replacement(s)).
Very wary about future orders (via Amazon Storefront).

Hope this helps though. Happy Holidays =c)
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on June 2, 2011
I had checked this book out of the library many times before I finally decided to break down and buy my own copy. I am an avid reader and was surprised at how many of these books I had either not read or didn't even know about. Lots of categories to choose from and great descriptions of the books. If you're someone like me that loves to read this is a great resource. I'm "reading" my way through this book and when I can't find something new at the library I'll use this book to find something old that is new to me. Highly recommend this book.
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Anyone who has ever been part of a monthly book group knows that the overarching, never fully answered question is what to read next. Sometimes, there's an opportune newly published literary novel, but sometimes you just want to retreat to the 19th century. Ephron understands this and her nearly four hundred pages of brief but well-written annotations try to supply some answers. In fact, her selection is very broad indeed, including every sort and variety of fiction and nonfiction book from Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins, Herman Melville, and James M. Cain to Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Jonathan Lethem, and Margaret Atwood. Not to mention Sigmund Freud, Richard Dawkins, Chuck Yeager, and The Sibley Guide to Birds. They're collected under such headings as "Grand Adventure," "Theatrics," "Hug Your Dog," "A Good Cry," "Join the Circus," and "Suffer No Fools." There are quite a few titles here I have either never read or haven't read for several decades as well as more recent Oprah-picks I hadn't gotten around to. Keep a pencil and a notepad handy.
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VINE VOICEon April 5, 2012
I am a self-confessed sucker for book lists and books about books. So when I saw this bargain on Amazon, I had to get it. Considering it was published in 2008, it is already outdated, and the major example I cite is in the section " Hug your Dog," which did not include The Art of Racing in the Rain or A Dog's Purpose. I did find it hysterical that two Virginia Woolfe books were in the chapter "...for a Wallowing in a Slough of Despond." There were many other very fitting books in relation to the moods (Mosquito Coast in " Remember Dear Ol' Dad) and there were also some fun tidbits, quizzes and lists interspersed throughout. I especially loved the symbol guide, which told me which books were page turners, which were easy or challenging, which had been made into movies, etc. I totally got my nerd on with my highlighter and deduced that I had read approximately 127 of the books featured. More than anything else, though, it really beefed up my wish list!
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