Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Allure of Books About Books

Books about books.

This is my favorite kind of book.  I love books that talk about other books, publishing, writing, literacy, free speech, authors, book history, bookstores, language and all things bibliophile.  My never-ending fascination with such books is embraced by a minority of people, but it’s a sizeable group.

You know the kind of people that like such books.  They are wordsmiths, maybe writers, professors, educators, or historians.  They love the smell of books and engage their senses to consume books that touch upon history, communication and creativity.

There are even lists devoted to identifying such books. Many stores have sections dedicated to them.

Here is a sample of books that talk about books or have a central theme built around books:

·         Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops
·         The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
·         Book List:  Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason
·         So Many Books, So Little Time:  A Year of Passionate Reading
·         The Jane Austen Book Club
·         A Novel Bookstore
·         The Bestseller
·         How Reading Changed My Life
·         The Book Thief
·         The Bookstore
·         The Case of the Missing Books
·         Fahrenheit 451
·         Matilda
·         Bibliotopia
·         Book:  A Memoir
·         The Bookshop Book
·         1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
·         A History of Reading
·         How to Read a Book
·         When Books Went to War:  The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II
·         The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe
·         The Year of Reading Dangerously:  How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life
·         The Novel Cure:  From Abandonment to Zestlessness:  751 Books to Cure What Ails You
·         The Pleasure of Reading:  43 Writers on the Discovery of Reading and the Books that Inspired Them
·         Book Crush:  For Kids and Teens – Recommended Reading for Every Mood Moment and Interest
·         The Book of Lost Books:  An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You’ll Never Read

Are you book curious?  Do you find yourself more fascinated with a book about some aspect of books than by some ordinary books?  We are so inquisitive about writers and their creative powers, their checkered pasts, and their struggles to influence others.  We want to be taken behind the scenes of the publishing industry and into the lives of those who impact it – from editors, literary agents, book critics, and press agents to those influenced by books – society and its institutions. 

If you read any book this year, read one about books!

Selected Excerpts From Trivium: The Classical Liberal Arts of Grammar, Logic & Rhetoric (Bloomsbury)

“The word ‘grammar’ comes from the Greek term gramma (a letter), itself related to grapho (to draw or write).  The invention of script, around 3000 BC in Sumeria and India, suddenly made it possible to write and read texts of law, commerce, ritual, poetry, history, philosophy, and science.  And, perhaps most important of all, it gave birth to the detailed discussion of the correct form of such texts.

“Broadly speaking, scripts come in two types.  Logographic systems try to depict the meaning of a text without relating to the sound of language (the Chinese script being a prime example).  Phonographic systems, on the other hand, record text as it would sound when spoken.  The Roman alphabet, which we use to write English and other Western European tongues, is phonographic, as are the scripts used for Hebrew, Russian, Greek, Arabic, and Sanskrit.  Today’s International Phonetic Alphabet is used for correctly writing the pronunciation of languages.”

“Every natural language uses a distinct set of sounds as building blocks, these generally being classified as either consonants or vowels.  Distinguishing how and with which parts of our speech organs these sounds are formed can be of great help in the acquisition of a language.  The science of sounds in speech and language is called phonetics.

“Language is humanity’s primary vehicle for though and communication, both internal and external.  Indeed, the ability to learn the complex system of symbols and rules which underlie syntax and grammar is arguably the most distinctive feature of the human race.  Grammar enables us to inform, edify, and entertain; it allows us to reason, debate, and argue; it helps us study, build, and use complex things, from recipes to spaceships.

“One of the earliest written languages for which governing rules were established is Indian Sanskrit.

“Broadly speaking, older languages have more complex systems of inflection, while the grammar of younger languages is more simplified.  Immigration, trade, invasions, and occupations may have forced villagers to learn more languages over time, and, rather than mastering the intricacies of any particular tongue, they muddled along with a simplified speech which later became the rule.  Perhaps the finest example of such a process and its result is English.”

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource."

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