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A Passion for Books: A Book Lover's Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Lore, and Lists on Collecting , Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books
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A Passion for Books: A Book Lover's Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Lore, and Lists on Collecting , Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  929 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
"When I have a little money, I buy books. And if any is left, I buy food and clothing."--Desiderius Erasmus

Those who share Erasmus's love of those curious bundles of paper bound together between hard or soft covers know exactly how he felt. These are the people who can spend hours browsing through a bookstore, completely oblivious not only to the passage of time but to eve
ebook, 384 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Crown (first published January 1st 1999)
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Aug 01, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Every single book lover needs to read this. No, I’m serious, all of you! If you love collecting books, reading books, wandering through bookstores, making lists of books you still have to read, etc. this collection will be a delight. I can’t think of a bibliophile who wouldn’t enjoy this.

It opens with an introduction from Ray Bradbury and just gets better from there. There are bits from Gustave Flaubert, Umberto Eco, Anna Quindlen, John Updike and dozens of others. Obviously every single essay o
Feb 11, 2012 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves books. So, basically, everyone on Goodreads!
As a confirmed bibliophile, I assume I will automatically love any book about books and loving them. This proved to be true in this case. Devouring it in two days, it was absorbing enough that I completely forgot about a poetry reading earlier this evening that I had intended to go to...but that's a side note.

I anticipated that it would be a delicious read that would inspire me to make a mad dash down to my favorite independent bookstore (A Few Books More, in Billings, Montana, in case you're i
Mar 21, 2011 ~Geektastic~ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book lovers, reading lovers, people who smell their books before they read them, book collectors
Recommended to ~Geektastic~ by: happenstance
Like many collections of essays from various sources, some pieces were stronger than others. This was, however a very enjoyable and, indeed, passionate exploration of books with contributions from a variety of people, of many times and places.

Perhaps what has stuck with me the most, due to the current climate of the publishing and printing industries, was an excerpt from a longer piece by Anna Quindlen, "How Reading Changed My Life," that examines the future of the book in digital age (in the
Elizabeth A
Aug 26, 2012 Elizabeth A rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
A book for bookophiles. A collection of essays, stories, lists, and, well, what the subtitle says. There are pieces I loved, and ones I did not. I enjoyed the romp through the mania of book collectors - the idea of buying two of each book, one to read and one to lend. And waiting for someone to die, so their collection is available on the market, were two that tickled my funny bone. I was disappointed that women collectors and readers were not well represented. This macho point of view was expre ...more
Nov 04, 2014 KimberlyRose rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic
I was rocketship-revving excited for this book. The rocketship backfired and fell over. Ka-boom. Thud.

There were four problems with this book which overshadowed the rare-gem-thoughts in several essays.

1. It was more about the love of collecting books, not the love of reading books, more about the power collecting books can have than the power reading books can have.

2. The limiting belief that "high" art is the only sort of art worth perusing, the only sort that has value, can affect a person pro
Vivek Tejuja
Mar 08, 2014 Vivek Tejuja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Books about books and more books about books. That is almost four times that I have used books in a sentence and it only feels less. The joy of reading yet another book about books, collectors, book lovers, book stores and more only feels more exhilarating as an experience. As though, nothing compares to it or everything is pale in comparison. There are so many stories booklovers share – from where they bought a particular book to what they loved or did not love at all. It is almost an ocean rea ...more
Kathy McC
I enjoy books about authors and books, but this book was more about book collecting. I do not consider myself a collector of books because I am not concerned about a book's monetary value. Books are not an investment to me, they are a part of my life that I invest in. Too many of the chapters in this book were about how to collect books for profit, not for pleasure. Some of those essays were worthwhile, but only because they provided information about novels that have made an impact.
Some of th
Apr 02, 2011 Andrew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
passages i especially liked:
intro by ray bradbury
how to justify a private library by umberto eco
how to organize a public library by umberto eco
new lifetime reading plan
bibliomania by gustave flaubert
bibliomania by roger rosenblatt
how reading changed my life by anna quindlin (only because of this quote: "the fountainhead...with all the tiresome objectivist polemical speeches set in a different font for easy skipping-over (or even the outright deletions that ayn rand's editor should have taken car
Dec 29, 2012 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reading-meta
A celebration of the reading obsession that likeminded readers will continuously nod and smile to knowingly browsing through the stories and essays, finding highlights and ideas here and there.
The only problem for me is that there are too many texts on collecting books, usually obsessively, rather than reading or appreciating them for content. And not all of the stories are equally interesting, but for book lovers, the fitting title hardly disappoints.

Side note: This was funny to read on an e-re
May 24, 2010 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, book
What a delightful little anthology that every devoted reader and collector should own. This book was my constant coffee-table companion for several weeks. I enjoyed sitting on the couch and reading an essay or story or list here and there. I really felt I could relate to the writers and their passion for books. My favorite essay was Rob Kaplan’s “The Ritual,” which describes his methodic routine of purchasing and cataloguing his books. I could relate to his meticulous practices, as I have my own ...more
I found this in my recommendations box here on Goodreads after I added a similar book. The cover was actually what initially drew me in, and after reading the summary of the book, I immediately bought it, already knowing that I would love it. It was a pleasure reading this book.

I did not read every single essay all the way through, as some of them did not interest me very much, but I read most of them and they were really good. And there is a great foreword/introduction by Ray Bradbury. I had gr
Nov 30, 2011 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The essays in a passion for books were of widely varying quality and interest. Too many (one, frankly, would be too many for me) were about book collectors and while I love lists, this book's lists required more explication. That said, Harold Rabinowitz's story of Chaim Grade's book-laden Bronx apartment and his relationship with his books is worth the entire book. "If anyone asks you if you've read all those books," he said, "it means you don't have enough books."
Jan 07, 2009 Jenifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not as great as some of the reviews led me to believe. Focused a lot on higher-end book collecting. The lists were good, but you can look lists up online, right? Ok, just a little dry. I'm going to give away my copy. Jenice, Betsy, or Jenn; You want it?
Sep 27, 2007 Weinz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bibliomaniacs
Shelves: favorites
This complilation was like reading about friends. It spoke my deep dark secrets. Getting a thrill out of seeing certain books, opening a book for the first time or loving the smell of books new and old. We are not freaks! Bibliomaniacs unite!
Dec 08, 2012 Lazygorillas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A true bibliophile's delight: Who does not appreciate a book about books and reading?
Feb 16, 2017 Shari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This olio is full of good information for book collectors. First of all, it assures me that my compulsive book gathering is not abnormal for bibliophiles and gives examples of how to put the sniffy people in their place when they ask if you've read them all. I am in very good company.

There are many reasons for and ways of collecting books. I am not independently wealthy and cannot buy those sought after rare books. I also do not cavil if the book is somewhat less than pristine. I buy them to rea
Apr 07, 2010 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
These compilations of (largely) popular opinions on the worth of books are so varied it is almost useless to rate them. Of course the reprinted essays by Rosenbach, Targ, Eco, and Davies are of interest and incredibly insightful. Of course the reprinting of the Modern Library's best 100 books of the century is useless. There are always some gems in these works that were otherwise unknown to me, and the effect of reading brief excerpts in a consolidated time/space makes the appearance/discovery o ...more
I don't remember how this book ended up on my to-read list, but I found it a few weeks ago and decided to put in on my hold list at the DCPL.

Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan edited this collection of stories, essays, poetry, cartoons and lists regarding books, reading, and collecting.

Even though there are many well-known authors and other book related folks represented in this book, I only ended up really reading thoroughly the essays written by the two editors and Anna Quindlen - "How Reading
As I was perusing the books that recommended for me to read, the book cover of this book caught my attention more than any other book because it is a stack of books and is titled, “A Passion for Books.” This obviously suits me well since I love to read and have (almost) made a profession out of MY passion for books.

According to its description, “A Passion for Books” is for people “whom buying books is a necessity, not a luxury” and it “is a celebration of that love, a collection o
I totally enjoy reading books about books! But for whatever reason I just couldnt get into this one. I found myself skimming and skipping more than reading. It could be that the chapters in the book are written by a variety of people and it became clear to me that were writers whose chapters I skimmed/skipped more than others. My favorite chapter was the one where the writer tells of his ritual when buying a book, which I have to say was most likely my favorite because I have rituals when it com ...more
Jul 04, 2013 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a bit old fashioned when it was compiled 24 years ago. This can be charming or exasperating or both depending on the essay. Book collectors seem to all rile against person who collects first editions for profit, yet they all do it and boast of the tome they bought for three dollars and is now worth one thousand. Good lord they would never dream of selling it. It was interesting to see Peyton Place listed as one of the top one hundred books. I do not think that would fly today. This ...more
Oct 18, 2009 Stringy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you're a book collector, or are interested in beginning a book collection, this could be very interesting for you to read. However, as someone who enjoys reading more than collecting, this book didn't really grab me.

The best ones were the tale of a friend who'd been nominated for a Pulitzer, an 'essay' asking why no-one wants to collect his books even though Hemingway's are much sought-after (quite amusing), and a potted biography of a collector who wouldn't be out of place in a documentary
Sophia Nuñez
I always enjoy seeing my own passion for books reflected, and as such I've never met a book on bibliophilia, libraries, or book history that I dislike. However, I would have preferred greater diversity in the books and authors discussed, which were almost entirely British and American. I firmly disagree with A. Edward Newton, who states on page 325, "however great, foreign novels have no place either in my life or in my list" of the 100 greatest novels. To each his or her own, I guess, but it wa ...more
Jun 27, 2014 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Book lovers and collectors.
A collection of essays, stories, and lists. Nice to know and read about how other people feel and the extremes that they go to own books. Some of the essays I liked and others where hard to get through. Overall, the book should be interesting to those who want to know about how, why are what drives book collectors to hunt down books. Not all book collectors are readers - some collectors collect all versions of the same book which was a surprise to me. Loved the essays on book lending - which I m ...more
Connie T.
Dec 15, 2013 Connie T. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As other reviewers have mentioned, this book seems to be more about the collecting of books rather than the reading or writing of them. I'm in the reader category and as such I found most of these essays dull. Those that appealed to me included:
The Book Action, by Solly Ganor, in which he describes hoarding books during WWII.
Potch, by Leo Rosten, about one boy's guilty pleasures of reading hidden (perhaps stolen?) books.
A Good Time to Start a Book Club, by Al Silverman, tells of the birth of the
I've always trashed my books or sold them for rent money, but I live with one of these bibliomaniacs. This book explains the affliction.

For the uninitiated with questions such as:

Why not just check it out at the library? Is it acceptable to get drunk on porch and leave your books in the rain? Is it sinful to throw books at a troublesome insect cruising around the house that you're to lazy to get up off the couch and swat(because you're reading)?

Answers to these and other questions within.
Jan 12, 2013 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What was the last book about books that completely captivated you? Try this one; you will not be disappointed.

Among the 60 selections here there are essays, short stories, lists, cartoons, a bibliolexicon and a bibliobibliography. The contributors include notables like Flaubert, Philip Roth, Susan Sontag. The tone ranges from light (Roger Rosenblatt's "Bibliomania") to educational (Ben Zevin's "The Bible Through The Ages") to somber and emotional (Solly Ganor's "The Book Action"). Length? One p
Nov 03, 2008 Meagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
This collection of essays, cartoons, lists, and stories about books, reading, and bibliophiles is the kind of collection that makes one proud to be a fanatical reader. There were essays that made me laugh out loud (mostly at myself), and one in particular that made me cry. I realized that my obsessive need to own, read, and share books is far from unusual; in fact I am merely one individual in a massive club of the most interesting people in history. Bibliophiles unite, and celebrate your fantas ...more
While the first 221 pgs. were excellent, full of passionate essays, anecdotes, quotes, lists, and funny cartoons, the second half felt elitist and somewhat ostentatious. The change in subject and tone after such a lovely beginning, turns the passion of reading and the love of roaming around dusty bookshops for a bargain find, into a book about the collecting money game, where books are meant to impress others as opposed to being read and enjoyed.
This was a very satisfying read. I will probably add this book to my physical library as a reference. The collection was full of variety which is exactly what made it so satisfying. From humor to education to enumeration of desirable texts to history and biography this compilation of essays had it all. There were 2 or 3 essays that I felt I had to slog through but for the most part all the selections were good reading.
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“Don Vicente, a monk of the Convent of Pobla in Aragon, murdered several collectors in order to get their best books;” 2 likes
“There are 10,000 books in my library, and it will keep growing until I die.” 2 likes
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