Friday, December 19, 2014

Booknote: Shelf Life

George Grant and Karen B. Grant, eds., Shelf Life: How Books Have Changed the Destinies and Desires of Men and Nations. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House, 1999. ISBN:  9781581820430.


I thought this would be a nice book of quotations about readers and books. I happen to enjoy quotation books, especially if they are about books and readers. Well, apparently the editors of this collection also happen to be moralistic puritans because as soon as I started reading the introduction I was bombarded with jeremiads against pop culture and television, the evils of mass media, and television as "a kind of electronic valiume" (14). Once they starting citing Robert Bork, I knew this book was not just going to be a nice book of quotations.

Then, as if that was not bad enough, we also get the pretentious claptrap that to be a serious or real reader, you have to read the classics. So my suggestion is to skip the parts and commentary written by the editors and just read the quotes. Better yet, just skip this book altogether and find a better quotes book that truly celebrates reading culture instead of sticking to old and outdated stereotypes.

I did not like this one, so I am giving it 1 out of 5 stars (and I do it under protest). And by the way, I am not even commenting on that pompous full title, which is not really applicable.

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