cover image Phantoms on the Bookshelves

Phantoms on the Bookshelves

Jacques Bonnet, trans. from the French by Sian Reynolds. Overlook, $17.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-59020-759-8

In this slim but charming volume, with an introduction by novelist James Salter, French art historian, editor, and novelist Bonnet describes his obsession with books, which has yielded a library of more than 40,000 volumes. In chapters such as “Organizing the Bookshelves” and “Where do they all come from?” Bonnet ponders the pitfalls of various organizational systems, the practice and art of reading, the intricacies of bookstores, buying new versus used books, and the effects of the Internet and electronic books on a physical library. Identity and books are closely intertwined. As Bonnet writes: “The fundamental character of the librarian will emerge as one’s eye travels along the bookshelves.” While ostensibly about Bonnet’s library, the volume also illustrates the intensely symbiotic relationship between reader and writer, a book and its recipients. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (July)