Tag: Nancy Pearl

Mini Reviews: Books about Books

Posted February 6, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 0 Comments

I don’t often write mini reviews but I do think they might be handy at times. I like to write a few hundred words on each book for documentation purposes, this is my reading journal after all. Having said that there are two books that I wanted to talk about, I can’t say I’ve ‘read’ them as these are the types of books you keep on your shelf and skim through. Both are a similar theme, my favourite non-fiction theme in fact (books about books) so I thought I would combine them into the one post.

The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies by Ella Berthoud, Susan Elderkin

“Sick? Tired? Lost your job? Take one dose of literature and repeat until better.”

I would like to be known as a Bibliotherapist; it is on my twitter profile so it must be true. I received this book for Christmas from the most amazing person (my wife) and now I finally have the textbook to officially hand out some bibliotherapy. You have a shopping addiction, please go away and read American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (that’s what it recommends); I can tell you after that book you’ll not want to be so concerned about what clothing labels are trendy enough to buy and reference in conversation. This is the medical handbook that I can truly get behind and I had a lot of fun looking through it and finding out just how to deal with my parents during Christmas. I loved this book, it was so much fun to flick through. My only problem was the fact that Frankenstein was never prescribed to cure an illness, why can’t it help a god complex, isolation or something like that?

Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl

“What to read next is every book lover’s greatest dilemma.”

Any real book lover knows that picking the next book is hard, but this is not the book that solves this issue. Book Lust is a collection of different reading lists for different topics, moods and so on. Say you want to know what Russian books to read or want a list of coming of age books. That is all well and good, hats off to Nancy Pearl for able to make a collection of book lists into a book series. The problem I found is book lovers are aware of most of the books mentioned in these lists; they have millions of books they want to read and this book doesn’t really help them at all. Personally I don’t think anyone apart from book lovers will read a book like this so really it feels pointless. There are lists in the book so obscure they start to feel like filler. My major beef with this book was there were no original thoughts, all books seemed like obvious choices and the presentation of each list needed work.  Each topic isn’t a book list and they are not essays of literary criticism either, for me, this just felt sloppy.  I will give credit to Nancy Pearl for being able to turn her love of book lists into a collection of books.