This... This is a love letter to quality bookstore and bookstore owners/employees everywhere. Eighty-one (usually short) essays and one comic detailinThis... This is a love letter to quality bookstore and bookstore owners/employees everywhere. Eighty-one (usually short) essays and one comic detailing authors' love for independent bookstores, bookstore owners, bookstore employees, and books and reading, in general. This book will make you want to go out and buy your own bookstore, or at least find one and apply to work (or live) there. It makes me wish we had a good independent bookstore near me. A good, neighborhood bookstore is at the top of my list of attributes of my dream town: bookstore, coffee shop-type gathering place, restaurant, and everything accessible by walking along small, tree-lined streets. Basically, I want to live in Everwood... or Capeside. You know, nice, comforting towns you see on TV. So when I find that place in real life--that has a friendly bookstore, neighborhood hangout place, and yummy restaurants that I can eat in three or four times a week (with a nice neighborhood grocery to get fresh, tempting food in for the other three or four nights a week)--I'm moving there.
Oh, right. The book. The essays describe--sometimes clumsily, but usually beautifully--bookstores in 35 states, plus D.C. Which means it not only acts as a love letter to bookstores, but it would make a great travel guide. If I were a traveler, I'd buy this book and take it with me on every trip so I could experience first-hand all of the bookstores these writers drool over. And speaking of beautifully describing the bookstores: Leif Parsons' illustrations beautifully depict the bookstores. They're so stunning, they make you feel like you're right there, in the store or on the sidewalk, about to enter.
And, of course, you can play the game of "Did anyone write about my favorite bookstore?"
Plus, Rick Bragg seems to feel the same way that I've felt for years: What's with cats in so many bookstores?!? As he says, "there are no cats in the Alabama Booksmith in Homewood, Alabama, and that is almost enough, in a literary world lousy with people who think having a damn cat in the stacks or on the counter or lolling in the window is somehow quaint and almost by God required, to proclaim it a great bookstore..." Right on!
So, you know, if anyone's ever looking for a gift to get me, the hardback edition of this book would be wonderful. (It's one of those books that should always be read just the way this version is. The hardback edition is so beautiful, with deckle-edged paper, vibrant colors on the cover... So wonderful! I think owning it in paperback would almost be a sin.)...more
It was okay, but not quite what I was expecting. There were some interesting tidbits, but since the book is laid out like a reference book, the factsIt was okay, but not quite what I was expecting. There were some interesting tidbits, but since the book is laid out like a reference book, the facts seem boring. They're more interesting when in books about math, not a reference book of numbers....more
This is a historical fiction story mainly about Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing, but also touching on Moritz Schlick, Otto and Olga Neurath, and Ludwig WitThis is a historical fiction story mainly about Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing, but also touching on Moritz Schlick, Otto and Olga Neurath, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
While those readings gave me a basis for some of the theories discussed in this book, I don't think it's necessary to know background information about the people in the story, since Levin describes all the major aspects anyway, such as Turing's torment at boarding school, and relays some of the men's theories through conversations they have with others or in their own minds. I think if I hadn't read the books I've already read about them, Levin would be giving me the highlights of what those other books hold, and I'd be no worse for the wear not reading those other books beforehand. Reading those in-depth books gave me more knowledge than Levin gave me, but that extra knowledge wasn't necessary to get at least the gist of what goes on in the story.
Levin's prose is beautiful, and the characters' stories are all heartbreaking. I also appreciate how Levin points out, and plays off, the parallels between the two men's thinking about God, free will, and the math universe. However, I kept thinking that this book isn't *necessary*... It was a good story, and beautiful writing, but my life wouldn't be any less if I hadn't read it. Perhaps this would be a good introduction to Gödel's and Turing's philosophies if I hadn't already read those other books; if that were the case, this probably would have been a lovely and accessible doorway to that knowledge. Since I have read those books, though, this one just wasn't necessary, and was short, too! Thus, two stars -- it was okay. Better than didn't like it, less good than liked it....more