A Reader’s Book of Days: Auspicious Births and Untimely Deaths, Bestsellers and Bad Reviews, Romances and Betrayals, Hoaxes and Scandals, and Other True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year

Tom Nissley, with illustrations by Joanna Neborsky. Norton, $24.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-393-23962-1
In his eclectic and wide-ranging, if uneven, collection of literary trivia for book lovers, delightfully illustrated by Neborsky, eight-time Jeopardy! champion and former bookseller Nissley offers an amalgam of anecdotes, quotes, reviews, diary entries, and letter excerpts. Each section begins with an introduction to a given month, as well as a list of recommended reading related to, or set during, that time of year. Each day then receives a page of its own, with lists of notable births and deaths, and short entries about events or publications that took place on that date. February 21 alone brings us details about Shakespeare, William James, Marcel Proust, and Alison Bechdel. Entries are by turns fascinating, obscure, and puzzling. A May 6 story about Emily Dickinson turning down a friend’s offer to go walking in order to stay with her ill mother will break reader’s hearts. Nissley occasionally blurs fact and fiction, with varying levels of success; some events from novels are listed as if real, and he assumes a certain level of familiarity with literature. Scholars should note there are no citations, though the collection will charm nonetheless. 100 illus. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/09/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-393-24149-5
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-393-35169-9
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