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For the Love of Books: 115 Celebrated Writers on the Books They Love Most

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  107 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
More than 100 distinguished writers share their personal thoughts in response to the question: What books have left the greatest impression on you and why? "Certainly the most entertaining literary companion . . . quite irresistible."--"Washington Post Book World."
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Berkley Trade (first published March 8th 1999)
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Community Reviews

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This book is not for the casual reader. However, if you are someone who obsesses over what to read next, authors' lives, styles of writing, and consistently have a stack of books to be read by your bed, this book is for you. It's a fascinating glimpse of why authors love their favorite books (and even more interesting when one author heralds a book as life-changing, then a few pages later, a different author dismisses it as trash!) It's also amazing the caliber of authors Mr. Shwartz has gathere ...more
Aug 26, 2013 Aloha marked it as to-read-1
Recommended to Aloha by: Joseph McElroy
Joseph McElroy recommended this book since I'm interested in influences and processes. It contained three short pieces by him on books he love:

On the Genealogy of Morals
Space, Time and Architecture: The Growth of a New Tradition
My Past and Thoughts: The Memoirs of Alexander Herzen

He said in particular the Giedion was influential "leading to a Japanese expression at the end which is exactly to the point of what you say." I ordered the Giedion to see what he's talking about.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
When you love books, like I do,
one of the things we book lovers
seem to love is to read about
what books other books lovers
love to read. Browsable fun.
Steven Belanger
Feb 03, 2014 Steven Belanger rated it it was amazing
The premise of this book: The editor, Ronald B. Shwartz, sent a message to 115 authors, asking them to respond via letter or phone. His prompt: "Identify those 3-6 books that have in some way influenced or affected you most deeply, 'spoken to' you the loudest, and explain why--in personal terms. All books, whether 'Great Books' or not-so-great books--books of any kind, genre, period--are fair game."

Many greats--in literature, the arts, the sciences--responded. Kurt Vonnegut's was the most memora
Dec 28, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing
I'm so relieved to say I enjoyed this book. A couple months ago I picked up a different book that on the surface seemed to promise everything this book promised: a bunch of authors talking about the books they love and why they love them. Instead, that other book was like a long sales pitch from authors who spent more time talking about their own greatness than the work of any other person. Blech. Fortunately, this book delivered EXACTLY what it should have. In every author's response, you could ...more
Oct 21, 2010 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From my blog:

I'm really enjoying the informality - the way each contributor has his or her own voice - how we find out not only the works that are supposed to matter but also the ridiculous ones that only matter on an individual level. Anthony Lane, for example, cites Richard Scarry's Busy Busy World as "a resourceful tour d'horizon whose cosmopolitan principles reverberate in my mind even now. I cling fast to the belief, for instance, that the benign thieves of Paris invariably hide from the po
Sarah Sammis
For the Love of Books is a collection of 115 essays on the books that have made life time impressions. They are written by authors asked (and sometimes pestered) by Ronald B. Shwartz to talk on the books that inspired them to become writers.

It's pretty obvious which authors were pestered and which ones responded eagerly. There's a lot of antagonism in many of the authors. I skimmed through most of these reluctant answers.

Among the responses, Dave Barry's was my favorite. He was clearly one of th
Erin W
A fun read for bibliophiles of all kinds, this book is a series of first-person accounts from (then-)living writers discussing the books that delighted, challenged, and inspired them. Shwartz seems to have distributed a questionnaire to the participating writers, and some meet the bare minimum--naming and briefly describing the five books that form the foundation of their literary past--while other writers go all out, refusing to choose only five, or waxing nostalgic about sneaking grown-up book ...more
Jan 29, 2016 Polack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It is brilliant. 115 prominent writers were kind enough to tell us about the three to six books they love the most. The insights are astonishing. Although their choices may overlap a little, their reasons are distinct. It also works as a spur to read books I didn't know about or have inadvertently neglected.
Selby Bateman
I just fell in love with this book from the first word. For anyone who has ever made a To Read list or finished reading one book only to look into the Void and not know what to read next (panic!), this is for you. I think the thing I like the best—beyond having a lifetime's worth of great suggested reads—is the way that the format lets the authors' individual voices shine through. I will keep this book near at hand for the rest of my life, and dip into it at random for continual reminders of gre ...more
Phivan Wright
A book to go back to again and again. More than 100 writers were asked about the books that left the greatest impression on them. I was disappointed that only two mentioned One Hundred Years of Solitude!
Aug 29, 2008 Rae rated it liked it
A bunch of fairly well-known writers were asked what books influenced their lives the most. The results run the whole gamut...from Harold and the Purple Crayon to Ulysses.
May 29, 2011 Naomi rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
An enjoyable read. I am so far behind on reading the great, classics that have stood the test of time. My to read list grew by pages while reading this.
Aug 31, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it
More high-brow than I expected, what with the near-constant worship of Joyce and Proust. I wonder how a follow-up sampling of younger writers would turn out.
Bonnie Jeanne
Jan 25, 2009 Bonnie Jeanne marked it as to-read
For the Love of Books: 115 Celebrated Writers on the Books They Love Most by Various (2000)
Jun 02, 2012 Roy rated it liked it
Interest set of short essays from famous authors about famous (mostly) authors.
Jun 20, 2007 Meridith is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody
I mark up books like these, adding reminders for my ever growing wish list.
Dan Piette
Essays by famous writers. Poorly editied
Good. Gave me a lot of books to add to my list.
Marla Glenn
Oct 30, 2011 Marla Glenn rated it liked it
Shelves: reference
I have the most in common with Rita Dove.
Feb 16, 2010 Andrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a thing for books about books.
Karen Luciani
Karen Luciani marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2016
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