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Book Lust! (Personal Essays) [Kindle Edition]

Lev Raphael
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description


Lev Raphael brings together his best essays, reviews, and reflections on the writing life from the late magazine Bibliobuffet. Whether writing about mother memoirs, Shakespeare Denial, or some puzzling fans, Raphael displays his trademark wit and erudition.


Raphael had his own public radio book show where he interviewed Salman Rushdie, Erica Jong, Julian Barnes and many other authors. Join him in Book Lust! for a highly entertaining conversation about books, authors, and the book lover's life.


"Frequently insightful, often hilarious, and always delicious, Book Lust!, a new compilation of essays for book lovers by the gifted writer Lev Raphael, was like eating from a small jewel box of expensive chocolates. I kept thinking, 'Just one more.' As a result, I was up half the night, but marvelously entertained!"
--Ellen Hart, three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award

"Raphael’s collection of essays on his twin passions - reading and writing - will curl the toes of bibliophiles everywhere. Raphael has a tremendous gift for casual depth - beautifully articulating profound feelings and funny moments with effortless but deliberate elegance - that leaves the reader happily illuminated and even feeling confided in, like you’ve just had a cocktail with your wisest, warmest friend and silently remembered why you’re so smitten with them. As a book reviewer, Raphael critiques with a keen eye toward perfecting or correcting, never insulting or diminishing. As a writer he offers hilarious, spot-on insights into the glories and indignities of the writing life. Finally, as a person who just loves books he reminds us of all the reasons we love them, too - the ironic mix of escapism and connection - and because sometimes a book like this comes along, like a warm quilt on an icy cold day."
--Liz Langley, author of "Crazy Little Thing: Why Sex and Love Drive Us Mad"

"Lev Raphael gives us a wonderful packet of love letters to the printed word. It's a capacious love that has ample room for Henry James, appreciative readers, Marie Antoinette, good novels, wise memoirs, dogs, and Edith Wharton. It's also a love with room for passionate indignation: at arrogant copyeditors, bad novels, rude readers, The Reader, bad sex writing, Shakespeare deniers, and Edith Wharton. Raphael is that rare creature, a friendly book junkie who's able to articulate his thoughts clearly and entertainingly without turning into a scold or know-it-all. His own experience as a fiction writer enables him to shed light in unexpected places. Best of all, he leaves you with a dozen or so new titles you want to check out on your own."
--Christopher Bram, author of "Exiles in America"

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Product Details

  • File Size: 286 KB
  • Print Length: 129 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007FL0N0E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #741,052 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sinfully Good March 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lust may be one of the seven deadly sins, but Lev Raphael's "Book Lust!" is anything but. Sinfully good, perhaps, but far from deadly. Unless you're talking about Raphael's rapier wit, which hits the mark again and again and again throughout this collection of essays about two of his favorite vices - writing and reading.

From the first essay, in which Raphael tackles the sin of badly written sex scenes, to musings about editors and the editing process, to riffing on the supposed reading list competition between Karl Rove and former president George W. Bush (Shrub reads? Who knew?), to debunking the latest Shakespeare denial theory, this e-book is a non-stop romp through Raphael's world. Raphael's essays are at times enlightening (see Bad Sex Blues, Seven Things My Writing Professors Never Told Me, Anyone But Shakespeare?), maddening (see the description of heavy-handed copyediting in Stet! Stet! Stet!), poignant (Raphael's contrast between his entrance into the German city of Magdeburg and his mother's entrance to the city as a slave laborer during World War II) and laugh-out-loud funny (pretty much all throughout the book).

Each essay, masterfully written, plumbs the depths of Raphael's love of both good reading and good writing. This collection is a true page-turner, er, "next page" button presser, since the book isn't available in printed form. Highly recommended for anyone who is a fan of well-crafted storytelling and prose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable reviews and essays May 23, 2013
By Petrova
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent little collection of essays and reviews, by a writer who doesn't limit either his writing or his reading to one genre. I especially liked his essay on "Shakespeare Deniers" in which he demolishes the silliness of barious people who think someone else wrote Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. I was also happy to be reminded of a book I had really enjoyed (Frederic Morton's A Nervous Splendor) and to learn that Morton had written another book about old Vienna. And, I now want to read more of Mr. Raphael's own work. Recommended
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More About the Author

Lev Raphael has wanted to be an author since he was in second grade, and he's not only achieved his dream, he's published twenty-four books in genres from memoir to mystery to Jane Austen Mashup; had his books translated into nearly a dozen languages; appeared in two documentaries; won various prizes; done hundreds of invited talks and readings on three different continents; recently sold his literary papers (92 boxes!) to the Michigan State University Libraries (MSUL); been the subject of scholarly articles, papers and book chapters; and seen his work taught at colleges and universities around the country. Which means he's become homework. Who knew?

Born and raised in New York, he got over it and has spent half his life in Michigan. He's a pioneer in writing about children of Holocaust survivors, which he's been doing since 1978, longer than almost any other American author. He frequently tours with his books (check for his current schedule) and is currently touring with My Germany, a memoir/travelogue exploring the role Germany has played in his family, his life, and his career.

After he escaped academia to write full-time, he reviewed extensively for over a decade for the Detroit Free Press, Michigan Radio, The Washington Post, Jerusalem Report, The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Forward, Boston Review, and Lambda Book Report. He now reviews for and WKAR 90.5 FM/East Lansing Public Radio, and when he's not busy, he sometimes imagines some graduate student years from now in the MSUL archives puzzling over his handwriting.

A seasoned reader of his own work, with a background in theater and teaching, he loves the performance aspect of touring, as well as meeting people he'd never meet back home. And the sightseeing. And the foreign foods. For photos from his previous German book tous, go to


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