By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life from the ‘New York Times Book Review’

Edited by Pamela Paul. Holt, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-1-62779-145-8
In By the Book interviews collected by New York Times Book Review editor Paul (Parenting, Inc.), 65 writers—including Junot Díaz, Lena Dunham, Colin Powell, Anne Lamott, and Khaled Hosseini—discuss books they’ve found inspiring or terrible, as well as their reading habits and recommendations. The variety of responses and respondents make for a captivating hodgepodge of literary musings, with illustrations provided by Jillian Tamaki. Gems include Neil Gaiman’s plug for Harry Stephen Keeler (the “greatest bad writer America has ever produced”), and John Grisham’s recommendation that President Obama read Fifty Shades of Grey, because “Why should he miss all the fun?” Authors speak to and about one another across the pages: Malcolm Gladwell and Dave Barry sing the praises of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, and Colin Powell and Arnold Schwarzenegger both admire J.K. Rowling’s success. (For those truly dedicated to literary socializing, Gary Shteyngart lists over 40 of his favorite authors’ Twitter handles.) Sidebars throughout feature excerpted responses from multiple authors on the same questions, and, while this creates an unfortunate sense of déjà vu upon encountering the same material in the full interviews, it’s illuminating to see what these writers consider “guilty pleasure” reading, or discover that very few actually get Ulysses. 65 line drawings. Agent: Lydia Wills, Lydia Wills LLC. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/28/2014
Release date: 10/28/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-250-07469-0
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-62779-146-5
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