Monday, October 15, 2018

Monday Mini-Reviews: Books About Books

Most book lovers enjoy reading about books and reading.  I'll admit this is one of my favorite topics to read - and somehow I managed to read three books in a row that all deal with it.

The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson is a little bit of an ode to the indpendent bookstore.  Miranda's estranged uncle dies and although she is saddened by it, she hadn't seen him in sixteen years.  His death brings up a lot of memories, and Miranda wants to understand what happened between her uncle Billy and her mom so many years ago that they cut him out of their lives entirely.  Uncle Billy left Miranda his bookstore and despite it's floundering, the happy childhood memories Miranda has of the bookstore has her unable to sell it, as she begins to feel a deep sense of loyalty to keeping Prospero Books open.  I loved this story, and even though I guessed the family secret pretty early on, enjoyed all the bookishness in this novel, as well as the story.  This is Meyerson's debut, and I'm hoping she has more in store for readers in the future.  

The Library Book by Susan Orlean is a non-fiction account of the fire at the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986.  Occurring at the same time as the Chernobyl nuclear crisis, it received barely a mention in the news, despite the fact that over a million books burned and the library itself was damaged extensively. I like narrative non-fiction and I like reading about little known events in history, so this one was definitely in my wheelhouse.  There are a few rabbit trails Orelan takes readers on that weren't necessary (in my opinion), but overall, I did enjoy learning more about this event.

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz - a middle grade novel, I loved this book. When Amy Anne Olinger goes to the library to check out her favorite book, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and finds out that it has been banned, she is very upset.  However, she is a rule follower, and not someone who ever speaks up and lets her voice be heard.  Yet, she does start a collection of all the books that a parent succeeded in getting banned, and begins to check them out of her locker to kids.  And of course, she does get caught. This is a great look at how banning one book is a slippery slope, and in addition to being a book that will generate lots of discussion, it also had me laughing out loud. 

I'm so glad that there are great books about books and reading out there.  These just happen to be the three most recent that I've read, so if you've got more to recommend, I'd love to add them to my TBR stack. 


Kay said...

I've known about the first two books you mentioned and already have them on my list. I didn't know about the JF book. Wow. I love that. I used to have some pretty interesting conversations with parents that would come in to the library and demand that we restrict their children from checking out certain books or demand that we take those books off the shelves and out of the library. I'm not much for banning, but more for parental paying attention to what their kids read or maybe reading the books with the kid or maybe even reading it themselves first. So many had not even read the book - just heard this or that.

As to suggestions, if you haven't read Anne Bogel's new book I'd Rather Be Reading, you should try it. :-)

Aimee said...

I love books about books (I read two this month!) but I haven't heard of any of the ones you mention here. So excited to have more good bookish reads for my stack. Thank you!