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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

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,290 ratings  ·  138 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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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  1,290 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was on the whole a delightful read. It is aptly described as “A book lover’s treasury of stories, humor, lore, and lists on collecting, reading, borrowing, lending, caring for, and appreciating books.” There were 31 pieces that were longer than 3 pages. I would have to say that 27 of them were very good-to-excellent. I think what made this 342-page book a very good read is that the pieces were written by different people, rather than one person, and these pieces were culled from probably 10 ...more
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
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm drawn to collections of essays about books and I'm often disappointed. Reading about books is like reading about food - it is too broad of a topic to assume a commonality. This collection of essays, mostly written by men about their libraries, is mixed. There are a few gems and several that I ended up skimming. ...more
Debbie Zapata
Jul 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: dar
Well, the title speaks volumes about the contents, doesn't it.

As with any collection of this type, there were some selections more interesting than others.

I'm afraid I wasn't as captivated by the book overall as I expected to be.

I will be passing it on to Mom. She might like it more than I did.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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." ...more
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!
Cynthia Paschen
Jul 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
"Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A home without books is like a room without windows."
I am always freaked out when I walk into someone's house and can't see any books.
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Just a great book of essays for readers and book lovers... Viva Bibliophilia!
Karen Hogan
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Short stories and lists by other bibliophiles. A library must have for book lovers
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A true bibliophile's delight: Who does not appreciate a book about books and reading? ...more
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For those of us who subscribe (well, almost) to Erasmus's celebrated statement, "When I have a little money, I buy books. And if any is left, I buy food and clothing", this book is a must. The editors have done a fantastic job in collecting together a wide-ranging selection of writings, some short, some much meatier, that embrace what it means to be a book collector – with a bit of manic hoarding and profitable dealing thrown in to balance things out. I found myself reading (historical) accounts ...more
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. ...more
Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves to read
I have been in the process of reading this book ever since I got it, several years ago. It contains tons of short chapters of essays, humor ... well, the title pretty much says it all. If you read and love books - you really should get this book.
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? ...more
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books. I stumbled upon it when I was doing a library search for something else and I really love it. The essays are short enough to read and enjoy in a sitting, and most make me smile or laugh.

And the many book lists are great, too!
Apr 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: anthologies
A book about books - how could I not read this? Some of the essays were better than others. I had to skim through some, but a lot were fabulous. If anything, it's full of perfect quotes for book lovers.

I love books. I love books about books. I'll never get tired of reading about reading.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The one thing I do not like about the digital age is: The possibility that someday we will not have "books" to hold and read.
You will never convince me that e-reading is the same or better than an old fashioned book!
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Harold Rabinowitz is director of the book packaging firm, The Reference Works, & has served as executive editor of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology & science editor of the Encyclopedia Americana. He is the author of books on aviation, on the Old West, & on Judaica. He lives with his family & library in Riverdale, New York.

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