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Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World Paperback – Bargain Price, December 12, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Since reading A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books, I eagerly await each installment to discover what secret corridors and closed doors he will open next. Basbanes' works act as a secret handshake that allows entry to a world any serious bibliophile longs to enter, a world devoted to the care, handling and love of the printed word.
In Every Books Its Reader, the social history of the book is explored from the perspective of the reader. Basbanes explores the meaning readers give to texts through their personal experiences, and how that experience helps connect with others. He says, "We are not only the product of what we read, we are in association with others who have read the same things."
Early I discovered 84 Charing Cross Road, a book that became a dear friend to be revisited often. Helene Hanff showed what a love of reading can truly bring to a life, the journey one can take through books with a helpful guide. Nicholas Basbanes easily fills this role. His pages resonate with quotes and stories and his love of books fairly bursts off the page. He carries the reader to a new path that leads to books, "a book casually encountered by an imaginative mind, lighting a spark that ignites a flame of creativity...."
At the start of Every Books Its Reader, Basbanes shares a story that ends "...if ever I go to Heaven I know where to find her. I shall go straight over to the corner by the bookcases." When I get there, I shall expect to find Nicholas Basbanes there, holding court.
Armchair Interviews says: IF you LOVE books, you will love this one.
Every Book Its Reader continues Basbanes' familiar theme of the continuing importance of the printed word in today's society. It expands it by focussing on studies of the libraries of eminent booklovers of the past such as Edward Gibbon and through interviews with great living writers/readers like David McCullough and Harold Bloom. Basbanes branches into fascinating discussions on the art of translation, for example, that illuminate obscure but valuable corners of the world of books.
In other words, there is a wealth of information about books and reading in Every Book Its Reader, but the most important reason to read it is its evocation of the joy of reading. Basbanes and his readers will undoubtedly echo the sentiment of May Lamberton Becker, one of his subjects in Every Book Its Reader, in saying that if we get to heaven, we will meet each other in the corner by the bookcases.
Even so, this is a book I will keep, and probably return to, because it still has much to offer. Like his previous books, this is addressed to bibliophiles and deals with topics dear to them. In particular, it deals with readers, many of whom are famous, but some of whom are convicts and some of whom are small children. The book finds a dozen ways to emphasize the value and influence of books. The chapter on physicians and their books should appeal to every doctor on the continent.
Basbanes interviewed a good number of legendary American readers--Harold Bloom, Helen Vendler, Daniel Aaron, Robert Coles--collecting comments that will make this book of interest to common readers and fulltime scholars. Though Basbanes is too much of a gentleman to make much of it, some of these learned people come across as amusing fools, and some flatly contradict each other. Thus Basbanes provides expert testimony that books can be beloved by wildly different people because they read books differently, and because they love different books.
The only author I can compare to Basbanes is the wonderful Holbrook Jackson (an author Basbanes admires, too), because both allow their passion for books to be motive enough: they do not let themselves be distracted (at least not for long) by peeves or pieties. The personalities that guide their readers along are congenial, even affectionate, glad to have your attention and trying to repay it with every page.
EVERY BOOK ITS READER is not a tribute to the greatest books ever written. However, Basbanes reminds readers the effects those books have had on people. There are many highlights present within the book, but one worth mentioning was the discussion of James Joyce's serious approach to the reading and writing of FINNEGANS WAKE. Joyce exclaims that for every reader that attempts to read the text, each and every one of them should read at the same rate in which it was written in order to effectively get the gist of the semantics and sentence construction. Despite his recommendation, the book remains one of the most challenging to read.
From another perspective of the meaning and significance books have on the reader is Robert Coles's commentary about his friend and colleague, writer Walker Percy. This most likely is the theme of Basbanes's book. It may sound sentimental, but it may also ring true to those who have read an enormous book, and it has left a lasting effect.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Question: are book 'collectors' educated, or do they merely have a fetishistic reverence for education? Read morePublished on November 28, 2012 by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'
Very many Americans have a respect for learning. I respect them (you) for it, and enthusiasm's a fine thing, but this is more like a Disney-train tour of culture than an actual... Read morePublished on November 14, 2012 by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'
Chock full of anecdotes and stories this book is beautifully written, engrossing anyone with even the slightest interest in how reading effects us. Read morePublished on July 31, 2010 by vanchocstraw
Mr. Basbanes continues his stream of seemingly unending book lore in this splendacious volume of 12 essays and approximately 40 b&w photo illustrations. Read morePublished on May 30, 2010 by James M.
This is the best book I have ever read people that love books. I've read book lists, books about book collectors, books about bibliophiles, books where the author secludes himself... Read morePublished on May 23, 2010 by Kerryann Kenney
Basbanes has provided another well written,well researched book for serious readers,including some excellent interviews with the right people. Read morePublished on December 1, 2007 by Larry H. Atherton
Of course I'm going to read this book, it's about books, and what diehard reader worthy of the name isn't going to fall head over heels in love with it? Read morePublished on November 7, 2007 by Dana Stabenow
"Every Book its Reader"s is another book about books by Nicholas Basbanes. You may have seen the affable Basbanes on Book-TV. Read morePublished on April 16, 2007 by C. M Mills
Some like novels,some the classics,some plays,some history,some mysteries,some poetry,some philosophy,some military,some fiction,some non-fiction,some biographies,and on and... Read morePublished on April 10, 2007 by Jerry Guild