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

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,119 Ratings  ·  119 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 ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 23rd 2001 by Three Rivers Press (CA) (first published January 1st 1999)
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Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Elizabeth A
Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Sherry Elmer
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it

What a great book for book lovers. I read a lot of passages out loud to my 11 year old and we laughed out loud. If you need a break from serious reading, pick up a copy of A Passion For Books and read a chapter now and then.

Educational, funny, informative.
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 10, 2017 marked it as sampled-not-interested  ·  review of another edition
Read about 12% and gave the TOC a good going-over. This appears to be mostly about possessing than enjoying. It will appeal to collectors who are more about the hunt, acquisition, and bragging rights of value. As someone who is far more interested in the reading than the owning--which is why I consider our public library "my" library--the angle of this book didn't appeal to me.
Heather Fineisen
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This would be a great book to dip into although I read it straight through. Any bibliophile will savor the excerpts and essays from various names in the book business. Features include the history of bible printing, collecting, selling, editing and caring for Books. Definitely one to have in your library with a complete bibliography of more.
Vivek Tejuja
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
May 08, 2013 rated it liked it
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 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 rated it really liked it
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.

This was funny to read on an e-reader, as m
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 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 rated it it was ok
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?
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
What can I say? A passionate book about my greatest passion. (Sorry, honey!)
* * * * *
This was disappointing, with some good bookish quotations, but mostly dull essays about collecting esoteric books and authors I've never heard of and/or aren't interested in reading.
Sep 27, 2007 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 rated it it was amazing
A true bibliophile's delight: Who does not appreciate a book about books and reading?
Jakk Makk
Jun 02, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Turn to page sixty-three and discover if you are a collector. If not, no need to read this pompous windbaggery. Thankfully, I've never lived anywhere long enough to kid myself about curating much of a personal library. A book needs to be a reference or something sentimental to be hoarded by me. We all have at least one move left in our lives. I recently moved my books and shelves into a closet, and when I opened the door, I noticed that they smell. Not in a good way. Now I want them all gone. Mi ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful celebration of books, written by bibliophiles for bibliophiles.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
What a great collection of essays by authors, publishers, collectors... Lots of information, stories, some warnings and some laughs. Thoroughly enjoyable. I agree with others that every person who lives books needs to read this.
John Majors
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was such a fun book. I found myself laughing out loud in many places, like the stories of book collectors whose homes were sagging under the weight of their books, or the man who fled the country to avoid his creditors, yet returned once his debt was clear and began his book buying in earnest again. Then there was the man who almost married a woman because of her book collection. Lots of great list of books in here as well. Definitely worth reading if you're a bibliophile.
Mark Hiser
While I enjoyed it he book I wish there had been less focus on book collecting but more on the pleasure of reading.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fine anthology

This is a fine, enjoyable anthology for any bibliophile. Though some of the essays are focused a bit much on book collecting, the entire volume is worth a read if you love books.
Feb 16, 2017 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 rated it liked it
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
Dec 31, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Kara Belden
Apr 20, 2012 marked it as to-read
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
Jim Manis
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A collection of fun to read pieces about collecting books, including the odd nature of the collector. Also the importance of being a reader.
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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
“I know no greater bore than the man who insists on lending you a book which you do not intend to read.” 2 likes
More quotes…