Title: Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere
Author: Lauren Leto
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Acquired: From the publisher for review consideration.
Review: What do you need to know to fake having read Jonathan Franzen? How should you go about picking up the cute guy browsing the biographies at your local indie bookstore? Which book should you buy for your obnoxious mother-in-law? What books should you feature on your living room bookshelf if you want visitors to know what a quirky hipster you are?
The answers to these questions and more can be found in the snarky homage to literature and the current literary scene that is Lauren Leto’s Judging a Book By Its Lover. In the book, Leto (a humor writer and blogger) offers her perspective on the big questions of Great Literature while poking fun at the people who take books and bookish drama too seriously.
In her most extensive chapter, Leto offers her advice for how to fake reading any major author, but my favorite chapter was about stereotyping people by their favorite author — women who are constantly constipated love Nicholas Sparks, people who don’t mind smokers like Tom Wolfe, and guys who love skinny jeans (and the women who love them) are fans of Nick Hornby. A little unfair? Probably. But worth a laugh? Oh, definitely.
Leto also has chapters about which literary pairs might be fun to have over for a dinner party, strategies to avoid talking about the plot points of major novels, and the joy of getting book dirty and cheap. Admittedly, Leto hasn’t written anything revolutionary — her chapters about the general bookish life are funny, but certainly nothing that hasn’t been written before — but her youthful perspective and sense of humor bring a new sense of fun to topics that constantly risk being stripped of fun by critics and Serious Readers a like. If you love books, give this one a try.
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