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Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,069 ratings  ·  265 reviews
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 book
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Harper Perennial (first published 2012)
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Average rating 3.22  · 
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 ·  1,069 ratings  ·  265 reviews

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Oct 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
3.5 stars

As much as I wanted to fall in love with this book about book lovers, it was hit-or-miss for me. There are parts that I was like, "Yesss, Lawd!" when talking about the exquisite joy of used books and sharing with a common bond with fellow readers. Other parts just dragged on and on, like the chapter about how to fake like you've read famous books (some were books I could care less about impressing someone with). Based on the book's title, I expected Lauren Leto to be snarky (which I don
Jul 09, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 800s, books-books
Ugh. The faux-clever, repetitive "snark" of this book make it appropriate for sale at someplace like Urban Outfitters.

This isn't the "field guide to...readers" that the subtitle promises so much as it is a collection of petty disses. There was perhaps one humorous insight in a sea of hackneyed insults: her profile of "brooding academics" includes a "legal pad with outline for a screenplay hidden under the first two pages." (18) The rest of the insults--and really, it's nearly all insults--are w
Jun 11, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hate-it
I'm so disappointed that Goodreads stars only go down to, "did not like it." There needs to be a star for "unbelievably horrible." I really went into this book with high hopes. And I'm shocked that it receives four and five stars from so many people. Maybe those who hate it abandon ship quickly and therefore do not review it. I would have done the same and was about to give up after the "Fan Letters" chapter but I felt like it was so glaringly, unashamedly bad that I had to finish so as to be ab ...more
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Judging a Book by Its Lover is for the people who love books and don't have time to read Dostoyevsky. Chapters include "Rules for Public Reading," "Stereotyping People by Favorite Author," and "How to Fake It," an extensive guide to pretending you've read famous authors. In Lauren Leto's hands, these subjects - which could be stale - are hilarious.

The obvious humor is funny, but so are the asides (Ayn Rand is possibly Patrick Bateman's favorite novelist), and Leto does not spare anyone. Her sum
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Originally posted on A Reader of Fictions.

As you might guess, I am a bit of a reader. As such, one of the things I enjoy doing when not reading is discussing literature. In Leto's book, I can sort of read and discuss reading all at once, albeit in a format where the discussion is rather one-sided with me unable to respond to Leto's opinions. Leto's work is for book lovers, or, perhaps even more, for those of us who want to pretend we've read all the most pretentious works but haven't.

Judging a B
There are very few groups of people for which I feel I belong, but a group of readers is one of them. It was nice to feel I was a part of the initiated, but at the same time, I had to keep asking myself, why read this when I could read a real book? This was really a series of Leto's attempts to get a payoff from all that book-reading, and it's in print form rather than a blog to reach all of us book nerds. Bits of it were genuinely fresh and interesting, some bits were a well-trod rehash, and so ...more
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Not a book for readers so much as a book for people who want to pretend to be readers. Full of tips for pretending to have read well-known books to impress others, which is ridiculous, but there's the occasional insight to be found in the scattered topics and posturing of the author's somewhat superior tone. ...more
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I gave it 2 stars, because this book had too much bullshit.

The first half was very entertaining: the description of her relationship with the books over the years was delicious, and I felt like I would really love to meet her and talk about books for hours.

And then I was presented with a chapter called: “How to fake it”, that basically tells you what you need to know about certain authors and their works so you can pretend like you’ve read them…

WTF????? Why would anyone try to fake like they’ve
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: how-to
This book came into my life through the Book Riot’s Second Quarterly Box (#BKR02). I never thought this genre would actually exist, but this book falls squarely into "chick lit for book nerds." Without a doubt, there is an audience for that, but it certainly isn't me. There is so much sassy snark that it's hard to read between the lines and realize that Lauren Leto is actually extremely well-read, has a great sense of humor and is an unapologetic book nerd. You'd think all three of those factors ...more
Mar 02, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quit-reading
I almost quit at page 58 in the chapter "The rules of book club," when she characterized Jane Austen as sentimental: "One Bronte sister for the life of the book club. And no Austen. You should've quenched your thirst for the sentimental novel in high school."

Forged ahead a few more pages and then quit - her style is too flippant for my liking.
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lauren Leto loves to let us laugh. I also love alliteration, can you tell? Anyway, Judging A Book By Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere (for the rest of this post, henceforth known as JABBIL) may be one of the longest book titles ever, but it’s also one of the funniest damn books I’ve EVER READ. PERIOD. EVER. LIKE, EVER.
And it’s non-fiction. I can’t believe I just said that. Yes, I read non-fiction. When this book was pitched to me, it sounded so unbelievably
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Series of humorous essays on reading and readers. Tips on how to cheat that you've read certain authors and books. Universal truths that if you are a reader you can relate to. I enjoyed it. Certain essays made me chuckle. I realize that my reading tastes and hers are different. I haven't read many of the books or authors that she has but I could relate to what she said. Fun! ...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Did not enjoy this at all, and did not think it was the least bit funny.
This was nicely written and funny, but I don't really think I'm the kind of reader this book was intended for. This is more of a coffee table book. ...more
Brenda Daun
I’m sensing a trend in the books about books that I’ve been reading lately. Like many of the other books of its kind, I wanted to like this book more than I did.

There were some essays that were funny, poignant, and moving, where the author truly feels like a fellow book lover who understands. Then there are other essays that are just snarky one liners disguised as clever observations.

The inconsistent tone and abrupt end to the different chapters in the book made for an occasionally entertainin
This book ended up on my shelf through Book Riot’s 2nd Quarterly box. Admittedly, this book is not my typical reading fare and most likely I would not have picked it up on my own. I’m not really into non-fiction, but most of all I don’t like the concept behind this book. I don’t want to be pretentious and judge people based on their book tastes and I certainly don’t feel the need to fake read anything. I know it’s supposed to be a humorous book, but even in a humorous manner I don’t think it’s a ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"For the Love of Print," "Fan Fictions," "How to Fake it," "Snark Bait," are just a few of the chapter titles from this book. Initially, when I chose to read this book, I thought I was in for a real ride - something unique, out-of-the box, something that was going to make me laugh and at the same time maybe show me a different perspective on books. The book fell short for me in some areas, but it did give some new perspectives.

"Want to impress the hot stranger at the bar who asks for your take o
Jennifer Rayment
Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Good Stuff

Wickedly funny often good naturedly snarky
Actually learned a lot & not just how to pick up a guy in a bookstore/library
Love the fact that she adores Evanovitch as much as the literary elite
Wonderful suggestions that will help me in my job as a bookseller and Librarian
Cannot say enough about the chapters Book Critic's Bag of Tricks - which has given me many new words for my reviews
Fabulous message about the importance of books
Touching and personal
Loved the chapter What you
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because the premise of it and the book cover got my attention. Also, I am always in the mood for a good laugh or two. Well I have to say that there were a few moments when I did laugh but not at much as I had hoped. I was looking for the kinds of laughs that would have me wanting to read the lines over again and almost have tears of laughter. This did not happen for me. This was a bummer. Just like with some of the readers, I bounced around in this book.

However, I did pick
Karen Ng
I gave this book 4 stars when I first finished, since it made me chuckle and laugh out loud so many times. A few days later, I have no recollection of what this book was truly about, except techniques to fake that you've read a book, or several books by the same author, without actually reading it. Some chapters are really fun to read, especially the ones about how the author grew up as a bookworm, with a bit of inflation on her part, of course. The chapters about hitting on men in bookstore and ...more
Fun! It's apparent, with every word, that Leto is a book lover -- that she gets it at many different levels. She gives advice on how to fake a conversation about an author, but even that didn't offend me the way other books have. She comes from her deep love of books and words and authors, and I'll give her lots of leeway. From her introduction, discussing her public school teachers' frustrations with her constant reading, through her advice about bookstore hookups, public reading, book clubs, w ...more
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Leto vacillates between amusing and pretentious as she discusses her life as a bookworm, New York literary culture and dispenses tips on how to fake being a reader. Some of her quips fell flat, the "Book Critic's Bag of Tricks" was just a list of half-rate SAT words with some pop culture references thrown in, others made me laugh out loud. My greatest problem with Judging a Book by Its Lover lies with its lack of direction. The different chapters feel disjointed and the organization of the chap ...more
Beth Knight
My rating for this is actually between 3.25 and 3.5. Parts of it were great. The first part was mostly funny and the last part had some touching moments. This book took me weeks to complete because after I breezed through the first 126 pages comes the chapter "How to Fake It", which I found to be mostly boring and, unfortunately, this is the longest chapter in the book (78 pages). I'm sure the chapter was meant to be funny but most of it wasn't, especially when the author was discussing books I' ...more
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eh. This was a fluffy, easy read. Funny in parts, but mostly at the beginning. I skimmed a lot. It reads like a bunch of disjointed essays. Some of the chapters just plain drag on too long; the chapter on "how to fake it" springs to mind. I felt a good chunk of this book was little more than the author trying to impress us with how well read she is.

Christina's review sums up my feelings best.

It's worth picking up at the library, but definately not worth buying.
Sandy D.
This wasn't about judging books (and mostly just literary type books, with just a couple references to sci fi and chick lit - no romance, mysteries or other genre fiction),so much as judging readers. I vehemently disagreed with Leto a couple of times - but she still had some pretty funny insights into the reading world. If you were an English major in college (or sometimes wish you had been!), you may enjoy this. Borrow it from the library, though, don't buy it. ...more
Marla Glenn
This "field guide for readers" has some pretty funny sections, such as how your kids will turn out if you read them certain books like "Green Eggs and Ham," or "Love You Forever." I want my friend Cindy to see that. She's brutally honest about how book people lie to each other; about her feelings about various authors; and even how to pick someone up in a bookstore. I giggled a lot at the chapters I read. ...more
The good essays were entertaining, but when things got snarky in here, they tended to get uncomfortable. When a writer employs sentence fragments way too often and can't use the word "comprise" correctly in a sentence, that writer should be careful about criticizing other writers. That being said, every bit of static thrown toward memoirists is deserved, IMHO. The pretentiousness was tolerable as long as we shared the pretensions. ...more
Feb 01, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, library
I couldn't like this book if I tried.
She tells us to not read Austen in a book club because we should be over her in high school and then insults beloved children's books and predicts what you'd grow up to be like if you read them. She also insults Harry Potter. Well I think she does because if she's trying to be funny it fails.
Happy I took this out of the library and didn't spend my money on it.
Thought it was going to be so different than what it actually was.

Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction

I love books about books and this one has sarcasm and humour too so it was my kind of book.
Leto is a true bibliophile and her take on what the books we choose say about us is dead on.

I loved (LOVED) the chapter on favourite authors and what kind of people choose them for their favourites. Laughed out LOUD!

Joanne Clarke Gunter
Sure, I laughed a few times while reading this book, but I can't say that I like books filled with snarky comments about prominent writers and their work or books that offer tips on how to fake having read certain books, a skill I'm guessing that some might want in order to impress people at cocktail parties and such. So, I gave it a couple stars for the few laughs I got out of it. ...more
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Lauren Leto is a writer, creator and co-founder of Texts From Last Night website. Texts From Last Night is also a book (and a television show is in the works).

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