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Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere Paperback – October 2, 2012
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“It’s On the Origin of Species for the library set.” (James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces)
“In terms of allowing me to sound smart at cocktail parties, this book surpassed my English degree by page twelve.” (Christian Lander, author of Stuff White People Like)
“Leto is as funny as she is well-read; a delight for bibliophiles and wannabes alike.” (Wylie Overstreet, author of The History of the World According to Facebook)
From the Back Cover
Want to impress the hot stranger at the bar who asks for your take on Infinite Jest? Dying to shut up the blowhard in front of you who’s pontificating on Cormac McCarthy’s “recurring road narratives”? Having difficulty keeping Francine Prose and Annie Proulx straight?
For all those overwhelmed readers who need to get a firm grip on the relentless onslaught of must-read books to stay on top of the inevitable conversations that swirl around them, Lauren Leto’s Judging a Book by Its Lover is manna from literary heaven! A hilarious send-up of—and inspired homage to—the passionate and peculiar world of book culture, this guide to literary debate leaves no reader or author unscathed, at once adoring and skewering everyone from Jonathan Franzen to Ayn Rand to Dostoyevsky and the people who read them.
Top Customer Reviews
I'm tempted just to quote the entire book in order to convince you to read it. Here's a bit from the first chapter, Commercial Confessions, in which Leto admits her love of Janet Evanovich:
I make this distinction because most of this book is about avoiding bad books, and I don't want a reader to think I'm being an elitist snob. Considering yourself a serious reader doesn't mean you can't read light books. Loving to read means you sometimes like to turn your head off. Reading is not about being able to recite passages of Camus from memory. Loving young adult novels well past adolescence isn't a sign of stunted maturity or intelligence. The most important thing about reading is not the level of sophistication of the books on your shelf. There is no prerequisite reading regimen for being a bookworm.
JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS LOVER will teach you how to make a bookstore hook-up, how to pretend to have read an author, and how to properly participate in a book club. It will even teach you how to stereotype people by their favorite author, but it won't teach you to look down on them. Leto's definitely critical of certain books, authors, and techniques, but she's writing with a true passion for reading.
I laughed through the entirety of JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS LOVER. But as much as I enjoyed it, I am not passing this one on. Leto's book is staying on my shelf and my friends can get their own copies. I hate for this one to never be returned.Read more ›
Judging a Book by Its Lover is a fun, witty read about books, authors, and the people who put them on their bookshelf. As someone who has four bookshelves (with highly contrasting books on each one), reads for hours every day, and finished the Twilight series in a weekend, I'd consider myself a lover of books. Even though I didn't read every book that is mentioned in this book, I found many of the ones I have read in it, or know of the author, and found Leto's witty take on it hilarious.
I love this book and author's writing for many reasons. Here are a few of the top ones for me. She love Harry Potter and thinks J.K. Rowling fans are "smart geeks." She hates the term "bookworm" and thinks it should be changed to "bookcats." She also loves real books over e-books, and continues to give books as gifts, even though she knows not everyone will read them. She is witty and can sum up a book or author quickly, so it is easy for us to now fake having read some "classics" we never really wanted to read anyways.
I highly recommend this book for all book lovers. If you are a book lover, get it. If you know a book lover, buy it for them. Trust me, they'll thank you for it.
* Thank you to the publisher of Judging a Book by Its Lover, Harper Perennial, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Judging a Book by Its Lover, like most books containing short snippets of story or essay, is a bit of mish mash. Some of the sections entertained me and resulted in my wanting to be best buds with Lauren Leto. Other sections made me roll my eyes at Lauren Leto's handing down of her mighty opinion to the masses, much of which I didn't agree with. Leto's observations will primarily be entertaining to those who a) get the references and b) share her opinions. When she snarks at something I hated, I laugh along merrily. However, when the snark turns on beloved books, I could not help but be annoyed, especially since much of the snark came with no context or backing whatsoever.
One of Leto's bits of snark that bothered me in its inaccuracy comes from the lengthy section "Stereotyping People by Favorite Author," in which she asserts that those whose favorite author is Jane Austen - since they are totally the same in their writing style, these four people - are "girls who made out with other girls in college when they were going through a 'phase.'" Really, Lauren Leto? I would have gone more for the "girls who are always disappointed that real men don't measure up to fictional ones and remain single forever." Also mean, but more applicable to the fan base, which includes myself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read a review that made it sound much better than it is. Pretentious and trivial.Published 17 months ago by 808person
A fun read and oh so true. I saw many of my friend and family in the descriptions and also some of myself. I am sending copies as gifts to my reading friends.Published 21 months ago by Trivia Queen
Leto is a good writer and it's easy reading, but I don't know if she's name dropping to show off or if that's just her style of skewering her subjects. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Zeke
I started reading this and gave up around page 30, but then had to go back and finish it. Is it funny? Eh. Is it opinionated? Very. Elitist? Pretends not to be, but really is. Read morePublished on June 5, 2014 by Naz Keynejad
I wanted to like this book so much. Loved the title! Not very clever or humorous and may even do a disservice to certain writers/books reviewed therein. Read morePublished on March 19, 2014 by Antonia S. Gammage
I love books about books so had to at least check out this one. It's short and easy to read but I wasn't blown away by it. Read morePublished on September 19, 2013 by Book Nympho
I found this book to be educational without boring. I also found it insightful and would recommend it to anyone.Published on April 15, 2013 by AC
If you love the books like I do, give this a try! I loved it. I wouldn't say it's the deepest book--it's not academic but it doesn't need to be.Published on April 10, 2013 by Christina in Austin
I love books about books. I really do. I know its a book on her opinions and I won't lie, sometimes I really enjoyed it. Read morePublished on January 24, 2013 by Alala