Tag Archives: Sara Nelson

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?

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Filed under Book Thoughts, Books About Books

So Many Books, So Little Time – Sara Nelson

A book about books… What more could you ask for? Indeed I did devour Sara Nelson’s book within the space of a few hours and there were a couple of books that I own that have now gone higher on my ‘must read’ pile, one being ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ which Sara Nelson enjoyed so much she bought several copies to give out as Christmas presents. Would I give this book out to several people for Christmas, possibly, but they would have to be real book lovers.

Sara Nelson has been a book reviewer for various magazines for years in America (you can get this book on Amazon but not in the book shops here, you can also get it on ReadItSwapIt) and she one day decided to log all the books that she read in a year, the original idea was one a week and she had a list of books that she wanted to read. Within a week the list had been rearranged and completely veered off. That was what I loved about this book; it was an honest account of books read in one year. She wasn’t preaching either, which was refreshing, and for someone who reviews books in some very well established magazines, you never felt she was trying too be too clever like some reviewers can.

I loved how you could relate to her tales, like when someone recommends her a book, she doesn’t like it and it slightly changes the way she thinks about her friend. The reverse is true when she loves a book raves about it and people are seriously unsure, have they changed their opinion of her? Has she changed her opinion of them? I could relate to these quandaries, there is also a very funny bit about partners who don’t read, again I totally empathise. She also discusses how you chose a book or a book chooses you, she doesn’t like baseball but when her son is really getting into it she finds a book that has it as a theme and so reads on, is the book any good, read Sara’s to find out.

Sometimes what I didn’t love so much was the books that she was reading but then we seemed to have quite different taste and this alienated me a little, but maybe this blog will do that to people in cyber space? I really love it when a book either makes you want to buy ever single thing the author has done, and with a book about books you would expect to walk away with a list for Amazon as long as your arm. I had heard of a few of them but not all of them, then when I looked at one of the Appendix where she stated all the books she had read and not included I felt a tiny bit cheated as some of them I would love to have read about her reading about… confused yet? It has a human feel although I didn’t need to know so much about her and her husband’s rows, I thought that was slightly strange.

This is a definite for serious book lovers/geeks like myself, you will be sat there chortling and saying ‘I so do that’. Sadly for someone who says a books cover can really put you off, I was confused with the cover they have given the book. That’s a small complaint though, I’m being picky.

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Filed under Review, Sara Nelson