Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A Great Book For Bibliophiles

If you love books, be sure to check out a copy of Bibliophile:  An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount.  It is one of the more beautifully put-together books about books in recent times, filled with many wonderful drawings and lists of things such as:

·         Beloved bookstores
·         Little free libraries
·         Books made into great TV shows and movies
·         Writing rooms of famous authors
·         Iconic book covers
·         Cult classics
·         The recommendations of bookish people
·         Song about books

There were also the usual lists – best books on history, romance, cooking, poetry, mysteries, etc., as well as great books on animals, adventures, dystopia, southern literature, and science-fiction.  Something for everyone.

It’s easy to fall in love with a book that pays tribute to books.  It’s even easier when the words are accompanied by original art work.  

Mount, an award-winning illustrator and designer, founded a company a decade ago, Ideal Bookshelf, that makes things for people who love books, including paintings of book covers that have changed people’s lives.

I fell in love with her attractive book cover, which is unusually arresting and textually pleasing to the touch.  Her introduction reveals the A-game perspective that she brought to this book’s creation:

“And if you love a book, no doubt many other people love it, too.  That shared love connects us and sparks that miraculous feel of not being alone in the world.  Which is exactly the whole point of books, showing us the world as others see it helping us understand each other, reminding us we’re all human.”

She had some quirky content, including drawings of bookstore cats – yes, felines that occupied bookstores.  It honors great bookstores, such as New York’s Strand Bookstore, just as easily as discussing cult classic books, striking libraries such as India’s The Rampur Raza Library, and books about dysfunctional families.

The only section of her book that I have to call into question is her list of all-time bestsellers.  She doesn’t identify the source for numbers and they exclude two books – The Bible and Guiness Book of World Records – that I’ve heard by numerous sources as being in the top 10 of all-time selling books.  I also don’t see any Shakespeare books on here, but maybe there’s a reason why the most famous writer in the world, after 400 years, hasn’t cracked this list.

According to Mount, these are the all-time top 10 selling books:

Don Quixote 500 million copies
A Tale of Two Cities 200 million copies
The Alchemist 180 million copies
The Little Prince 140 million copies
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 107 million copies
The Hobbitt 100 million copies
And Then There Were None 100 million copies
The Dream of the Red Chamber 100 million copies
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 100 million copies
The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe 85 million copies

I found the pieces on writer-owned bookstores to be intriguing.  Jeff Kinney, Ann Patchett, Judy Blume, and Louise Erdrich are among authors who own bookstores.  Book mobiles, graphic novels, and books that cover war got their due as well, but I really loved her essay on the pets of writers, including a dog for John Steinbeck, cats for Ernest Hemingway and a monkey for Leonard Woolf.

Lastly, I found a nice section on books that discuss how to write, her illustrated explanation of physical books, and her essay on illustrated books for grown-ups to be interesting.  I also appreciated her four-page spread on world-changing book people.

There’s something for everyone in this book-lover’s lovely book.


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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. 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 http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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