Books On Books, Book People on Book People and Writers on Writing

I had a hunt through my blog and as far I could see (at first) I’d never done a post on ‘Books About Books’ even though I have read a few. Way, way back someone delightfully sent me a copy of So Many Books So Little Time by Sara Nelson which you can’t get too easily in stores (though possibly on some certain sites) and more recently So Many Books by Gabriel Zaid and then of course there was Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill earlier in the week. The latter is possibly what initially made this subject hover on my horizon.

Then there was a post by Simon of Stuck-in-a-Book fame who wrote about a book (and also mentioned in HEiotL) which I simply had to get hold of once I had finished reading his review. This book was The Paper House by Carlos Maria Dominiguez which I discussed with you yesterday. I know this is a fictional book about books rather than a proper non-fiction book about book but isn’t that just as delightful? Now instead of rushing of to a certain shopping site or a certain High Street chain I went and had a look on Read It Swap It as why not swap some of my cast off’s for something I really want, plus something that at 102 pages is nice and small so wouldn’t take up too much space. What do you know there it was (plus a copy of another book or three I really wanted) and today it arrived, but not alone as you can see.

Books on Books

Along with The Paper House the lovely sender Caroline had sent me another book called Reflections From A Bookshop Window by Clive Linklater. Not a book I had heard of at all though one that seems very me as the card inside mentioned “Hi Simon, I thought you might like another book on a bookish theme.” Isn’t that just so lovely, it keeps your faith in the book loving community! It was just what I needed after I have been getting a panning in some circles, which we will quickly gloss over, and so this looks a total and utter joy. I also didn’t think that anyone on Read It Swap It would know I have a blog or am such a book obsessive she must be psychic. It’s utterly made my week, naturally Caroline has received a thank you email and low and behold in the response she does indeed read my blog! How very random.

As for Reflections From A Bookshop Window I can’t find any blurbs for it anywhere, though some very good reviews which lead me to believe it’s the tales of a bookseller, and these are all genuine tales, of books and possibly more interestingly in a way the book buying and bookselling public. I opened one page and I was hooked and had to stop myself from turning another page and another and another. This is being reserved for after No Name and a lovely Sunday lie in.

“Booksellers hate Christmas. Booksellers hate the winter when it’s too cold for customers to come into freezing secondhand book shops. Booksellers hate summer when it’s too hot for customers to come into stuffy secondhand bookshops.”

So then I had a meander through my books to see what else fell into this category. I also then found my post on books about books (typical!) that I knew I must have written, and saw I had a few more. Out of the corner of my eye my wonderful old first edition of Daphne Du Maurier’s memoir/autobiography Growing Pains held my attention, and I thought what about books by writers on writing? I loved Stephen King’s book On Writing so maybe I should read more? I have since accidentally, I don’t know how it happened honestly, purchased a copy of Negotiating With The Dead which is Margaret Atwood’s book on writing and writers, so I am thinking one or two of these a month will make for some interesting reading.

Are there any more, I am sure there are, that I have missed? What’s best writers autobiography that you have read? Which author are you desperate to see write their own autobiography? What books on books, be they fictional or not, really shouldn’t be missed by a reader?

4 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts, Books About Books

4 responses to “Books On Books, Book People on Book People and Writers on Writing

  1. Julie

    The trouble with reading books about books is that it is time spent which might more usefully be used to read the books themselves. Mind you, you could say the same about blogs but here I am….

    • There is that factor you are right Julie, but there is also the factor that reading a book about books means you can sometimes come acrss new wonderful books you have never heard of before.

      Hahaha am glad you are here on the blogs and long may that continue!

  2. Margaret Atwood has also written Murder in the Dark which includes some great chapters on writing which I blogged about in September.

    I think three of my all time favorite books fall into this category: Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman, The Uncommon Reader by Bennett, and 84, Charing Cross Road.

    Two great ones about bookselling are “Books: A Memoir” by the prolific writer Larry McMurtry who was also a bookseller for years, and Trafficking in Old Books by Australian Anthony Marshall.

    • I will have to do a search on your blog about that one Thomas. I think Margaret Atwood could rewrite the phone book and I would want to read it and this sounds really interesting.

      I have 84 Charing Cross Road so I will have to dig that out! The Uncommon Reader is brilliant isnt it?

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