cover image SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME: A Year of Passionate Reading

SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME: A Year of Passionate Reading

Sara Nelson, . . Putnam, $22.95 (242pp) ISBN 978-0-399-15083-8

"I have a New Year's plan," Nelson writes in the prologue to this charming diary of an unapologetic "readaholic." Her goal: to read a book a week for a year and try "to get down on paper what I've been doing for years in my mind: matching up the reading experience with the personal one and watching where they intersect—or don't." Armed with a list of books, the author, a Glamour senior contributing editor, the New York Observer's publishing columnist and a veteran book reviewer, begins her 52-week odyssey. She doesn't necessarily stick to her list, which includes classics ("the homework I didn't do in college"), books everyone's talking about (like David McCullough's John Adams) and titles as diverse as Call It Sleep, by Henry Roth, and Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting. But she succeeds in sharing her infectious enthusiasm for literature in general, the act of reading and individual books and authors. Along the way, Nelson unearths treasures. She becomes enamored of David Mura's Turning Japanese, a memoir that helps her understand her Japanese-American husband better, and looks to Henry Dunow's The Way Home, about coaching baseball, while trying to help her second-grade son improve his athletic skills. Most readers will probably come away from this love letter to books eager to pursue some of Nelson's favorites—Nora Ephron's Heartburn, perhaps, or Emma Donoghue's Slammerkin—which is what makes Nelson's reflections inspiring and worthwhile. Agent, Mark Reiter. (Oct. 13)

Forecast:Nelson's media connections will undoubtedly yield lots of coverage in women's magazines and regional New York publications. National magazine ads, a radio satellite tour, national publicity and online promos with reading groups will help, too. Although the book could, ostensibly, appeal to both men and women, the precious jacket art—of a cartoon woman reading amid a pile of books—might deter male readers.