Rebecca's Reviews > Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting and Living with Books

Browsings by Michael Dirda
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bookshelves: bibliophiles-delight, read-via-edelweiss, essays

Dirda wrote this pleasant set of bibliophilic essays for the American Scholar website in 2012–13. He’s the American equivalent of the UK’s John Sutherland: an extremely well-read doyen of the classics with a special love for Victorian and Edwardian genre fiction, often as revived by small presses and specialist societies. Essentially he’s a dilettante who writes about whatever takes his fancy, and it’s rather reassuring to see that someone can still make a living in that manner nowadays. “I’m a bookman, an appreciator, a cheerleader for the old, the neglected ... On sunny days I may call myself a literary journalist,” he muses.

At times Dirda’s interests can be a bit obscure for the average reader, and some of the essays feel redundant. Still, it’s easy to relate to his addictive book purchasing and hoarding (“with any justice, Heaven itself will resemble a vast used bookstore”). I, too, can never pass up a good book sale, and was pleased as punch to find several references here to my beloved Wonder Book and Video (Frederick, MD) – and, in fact, I grew up in Silver Spring, so recognize many of the locations Dirda, a longtime Washington Post books editor, mentions.

This might be one to skim or read selections from rather than the whole thing, though if you parcel the essays out, perhaps a few per lunch break, they pass enjoyably enough.
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Reading Progress

March 18, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
March 18, 2015 – Shelved
August 9, 2015 – Started Reading
August 9, 2015 – Shelved as: bibliophiles-delight
August 9, 2015 – Shelved as: read-via-edelweiss
August 9, 2015 – Shelved as: essays
August 27, 2015 – Finished Reading

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