Author(s): Joe Queenan
Since Gutenberg first began moving type around five centuries ago, the book - one of the great achievements of human culture - has been subjected to any number of indignities, from being banned to being burned to being turned into a breathtaking quantity of unspeakably appalling movies. It has managed to survive all of these, only to find itself at the dawn of the twenty-first century facing the most radical challenge to its existence from the digital tsunami that has already left the tattered remains of the music business in its wake. As bookstores disappear and readers, apparently, along with them, alarmed bibliophiles everywhere can't help but wonder: Whither the book?
That question has been weighing heavily on one of America's great humorists, Joe Queenan, as he has recounted in a series of widely read New York Times Book Review pieces and in his critically acclaimed memoir Closing Time. Having first become a voracious reader as a means of escape from a joyless childhood in a Philadelphia housing project, he has since devoted himself to a lifelong defense of the book and merciless hounding of all the forces aligned to undermine it. One for the Books is Queenan's choleric survey of the landscape of reading today, from fervently dedicated booksellers to beleaguered libraries to the everyday dilemmas faced by the avid reader (borrowing and lending, the inability to finish certain books, rereading favourites, dealing with an increasingly elephantine collection). Queenan also embarks on a series of projects to come to terms with his own eccentric reading style, which involve gauging the number of titles he will have time to read in his lifespan, reading only short books, granting library books that are about to be disposed of a respite by being the first one in years to check them out, and finally confronting the fearsome leviathan of Middlemarch.
Acerbically funny, passionate, and oddly affectionate, One for the Books is a reading experience that true book lovers will find unforgettable (and a goad to reading even more).
"[Queenan's] passion for reading is infectious ... It's so rare to hear such a heartfelt defense of books -- it's one of the most original works we read this year." " New York Daily News" (Best books of 2012) "A celebration of literature, reading and the call of books from a stylish humorist who has a soft spot for Georges Simenon and a hard time with trendiness and 'astonishing' reviews." "Kansas City Star" (Top 100 books of 2012) "A passionate, at times hilarious, account of a life spent reading and rereading." " Minneapolis Star Tribune" "Queenan's energy and candor make you miss reading. It feels as though it's been a long time since someone advocated a return to books with such fervor, and his impassioned voice is one of the most original we've heard in a long time." " New York Daily News" "Queenan's goal isn't just to declare his love for books and to list particular books that he loves, but to suss out the customs of book lovers: to analyze what books mean to his friends and acquaintances (not to mention a few enemies), and how books forge or destroy friendships." Leah Price, "San Francisco Chronicle"
Joe Queenan has been a columnist for "The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, GQ, " and" Spy." He has written for "Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Golf Digest, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, " and "The New Republic," and contributes to "The New York Times," and "The Guardian." He has appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America, Today, " and "The Daily Show." His books include "The New York Times" bestseller and Notable Book "Closing Time: A Memoir."