I really enjoyed this book. The author randomly selects a shelf at the library and commits to reading through it. She then shares her thoughts on the work and the authors. Those who enjoy literary fiction will enjoy this book.
I practice "random reading". When I go into the Gabriola branch of VIRL my usual route is to drop off books I've finished, look at the culled books that are for sale, and then to browse and pluck from the new books display.
THE SHELF - from LEQ to LES is a new book (2014) and the subtitle: Adventures in Extreme Reading caught my attention. I wasn't disappointed. Using self imposed rules, the author Phyllis Rose decides to read the shelf of fiction books from LEQ to LES. I found her experiment fascinating and productive. Phyllis Rose is an accomplished author and she amended her reading rules as she went along. She even made direct contact with a couple of the authors she discovered on this shelf from the New York Society Library.
I enjoyed the chapter LIBRARIES: MAKING SPACE which is about the culling process used by libraries. I have wondered often why such quality books are available to me to purchase from the discard cart. Read the book to find out what the acronyms CREW and MUSTIE stand for in the culling process.
I had already read one of the books on THE SHELF, and I am going to track down and read A HERO OF OUR TIME in the newest of three translations that she read in here experiment as I do try to be not totally random in my reading.
I have just discovered Phyllis Rose's book of brilliant literary criticism, which explores books picked at random off a library shelf. Phyllis Rose is a funny, humane, supremely intelligent writer who has broadened my world of reading enormously. I cannot understand why we have so few of her books in our library. Please, please, I would love to read "Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages" (Knopf 1983), "The Year of Reading Proust" (Scribner 1997) and "Woman of Letters: Biography of Virginia Woolf" (l979).
'The Year of Reading Proust" (Scribner 1997)
Enjoyable, though I expected more precision from the author of Parallel Lives. Don't miss chapter 8: Libraries: Making Space, about deaccessioning.
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