Home » Book Biz » BOOK BIZ — All readers need to know, and more, about book lovers and how to fake it

BOOK BIZ — All readers need to know, and more, about book lovers and how to fake it

» Judging a Book by Its Lover By Lauren Leto Published by Harper Perennial $14.99 paperback

» Judging a Book by Its Lover
By Lauren Leto
Published by Harper Perennial
$14.99 paperback

Book lovers will love Judging a Book by Its Lover with the subtitle A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere. It’s fun, humorous and entertaining. I bought it at the wonderful independent bookstore, The Blue Bicycle, while visiting my daughter in Charleston, S.C., and had to wrest it from her when I left with the admonition to go buy her own copy.

Leto begins with an author’s note letting readers know that her judgments, wisecracks and sarcastic comments come from a place of deep admiration for every one of the authors whose work she discusses in these pages. That’s helpful to know as you read through the chapter Stereotyping People by Favorite Author. Examples are: J.D. Salinger – kids who don’t fit in; J.K. Rowling – smart geeks; Lauren Weisenberger – girls who can’t read. or think; Chuck Palahniuk – boys who can’t read; Ayn Rand – workaholics seeking validation; Mark Twain – liars; Anne Rice – people who don’t use conditioner on their hair; Stephen King – eleventh graders who peed in their pants while watching the movie It; Nicholas Sparks – women who’re constipated.

The How to Fake It chapter is also a hoot. Who among us avid readers have hated to admit we haven’t read certain authors? I haven’t read Alice Munro, who is by all accounts a wonderful writer, because I don’t like reading short stories. Now I’ll know how to fake it with a few pithy comments. Our own William Faulkner? Well yes, I have read him, but there are times when I can tell I’m speaking about him with someone who has not. Leto can help these people.

She includes a chapter on Strategies to Avoid Discussing the Major Plots Points of Any Novel. These tips will come in handy for those books sitting in your to-read queue that you intend to read. Maybe by now you’ve read so many reviews of a book and heard so much discussion about it that you’re disinclined to read it. Don’t worry, Leto has ten strategies so you can talk about the book and avoid being called a fool and a liar.

There’s a chapter on A Gift Guide by a Bad Gift Giver, The Bookshelf of the Vanities, Rules for Public Reading, The Rules of Book Club (I love this one!), How to Speak Condescendingly About the Most Revered Authors/Literary Works, and Book Critic’s Bag of Tricks (you didn’t think they actually read ALL those books, did you?).

— Lynn Lofton, mbj@msbusiness.com

About Lynn Lofton

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