Friday, March 25, 2016

Booknote: Food Men Love

Margie Lapanja, Food Men Love: All-Time Favorite Recipes From Caesar Salad to Grilled Rib-eye to Cinnamon Buns and Apple Pie. Berkeley, CA: Conari Press, 2001.  ISBN: 1-57324-512-7.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: cookbooks
Format: paperback
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library

This book does the whole how to keep your man happy and satisfied with food routine. It's got the whole use food for romancing thing going, which to be honest, at times it got a bit too cutesy. Maybe that is the case for me because because I grew up with mom teaching us how to cook and telling us to learn to cook because we should not expect a woman to come do it for us. And while I am not a chef by any measure (though I have a brother who is a trained professional chef by the way), I do know my way around the kitchen and can cook a few things. For the rest, I can follow a recipe book, even if it may or not be this book. The recipes vary in terms of accessibility. Some are accessible and could be done with ingredients you can find around the house. Others can get quite complex, so your mileage can  vary.

The book is divided in chapters by themes from breakfast to appetizers, salads, and so on. Each chapter opens with some quotes, testimonials the author has collected from men asking what they love about the type of food featured in the chapter. I will say that for supposedly manly men, some of those guys have some seriously pretentious and snobbish tastes. The chapters then have a commentary from the author passage to set up each recipe. In addition, the book is sprinkled with bits of trivia and celebrity quotes about cooking, food, and/or romance. Some of the trivia I did find interesting.

In the end, I thought the book was just OK. This is not one I see myself using much, and I am glad I borrowed it. As I said, recipe accessibility and viability vary significantly, and overall, the book does get a bit too syrupy at times.

2 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2016 Reading Challenges:

Friday, March 18, 2016

Reading about the reading life, March 18, 2016 edition

Welcome to another edition of "Reading about the reading life" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is where I collect stories about reading and the reading life. Basically, these are items related to reading, maybe writing and literacy, that I find interesting and think my four readers might find interesting as well with a little commentary. As with other features I do on this blog, I do it when I have time or feel like it. Comments are always welcome (within reason). 

 I found some interesting things this week, so I have enough to share a few with my four readers. So here we go.

  • I learned a bit about the history of Fat Men's Clubs. Apparently these were a thing in the lat 19th century and into the very early part of the 20th Century. The story comes via NPR. The article also mentions the book Fat History by Peter Stearns, which I will be adding to my TBR. The article also features some links to historical pieces on the topic.
  • Here is an essay on why we can't get Arabic books in the United States. As usual with stories about the U.S., a lot of it has to do with basic American ignorance. Story via The Millions.
  • Under what can only be described as fuckery, the estate of the late Harper Lee decided to kill the low cost paperback edition of the book, i.e. let it go out of print and then no longer allow it to be published. They claim it was the author's wish, but I highly doubt the old lady would want to deprive schools, who are the main buyers of the book in order to shove it down kids' throats teach it, of an affordable option. This is just clearly a greedy dick move from the heirs. Story via The Rumpus, and it has been reported in other places.  
  • Now in a follow up and apparent gesture of decency (or appeasement), Harper Collins, which publishes the trade paperback edition of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, is offering schools a sort of rebate. In essence, they can buy the trade paperback edition and get it for the mass paperback price. Story via Publishers Weekly
  • In cool news, a new manuscript by H.P. Lovecraft has been discovered. Apparently it is a piece that Houdini commissioned for Lovecraft to ghost write. Story via The Guardian.
  • I also learned that tough hombre Charlton Heston was a rare books collector, and it seems he had a predilection for Jane Austen. Go figure. Story via Fine Books and Collections blog.
  • And finally, Umberto Eco passed away back in February. Learn a bit about the book that inspired his novel The Name of the Rose. Story via Fine Books and Collections blog. 

Signs the economy is bad, March 18, 2016 edition

Welcome to another edition of "Signs the Economy is Bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the semi-regular (as in when I have time and/or feel like doing it) feature where I scour the Internet in search of the oh so subtle hints that the economy is bad. Sure, pundits may say things are getting better, but what do they know? And to show not all is bad, once in a while we look at how good the uber rich have it.  

Welcome to the day after St. Patrick's Day hangover edition of "Signs the economy is bad." Yes, things are still bad in the economy, and for some reason, I noticed much of the signs have to do with hospitals and health. I guess if you close down enough hospitals you can start decreasing that surplus population. So, let's get on with it.

Booknote: Ghetto Klown

John Lequizamo, Ghetto Klown: a Graphic Novel. New York: AbramsComicArts, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-4197-1518-1.

Genre: graphic novels and comics
Subgenre: autobiography, actors, writers, playwrights, adaptations
Format: Hardcover
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library

This is a brilliant and inspiring book. The book is a graphic novel adaptation of John Leguizamo's one-man autobiographical play of the same title, and it works great as a graphic novel. It is truly an example of how the graphic novel format can be used to tell great, moving, and at times very funny stories. In his preface to the book, Leguizamo tells us why the graphic novel format works so well to tell his story:

"Despite the various stage incarnations and the HBO television adaptation, the show seems best suited to the graphic-novel format, because it really needs to travel through a space-time continuum with fewer constraints than an in-person retelling. My story goes from me being a little kid all the way to a middle-aged man and jumps around to different states and countries, the action fast and very physical. You can travel to places visually with the graphic-novel medium that you can't achieve onstage, and experience inner states that even movies can't quite capture. This is the magic of putting pen to paper, and it's one of the most exciting ventures I've undertaken yet" (vi). 

Indeed the book is quite the adventure. Leguizamo rises from humble origins to be a solid writer, playwright, and stage actor. His great talent in time gets him work in film and television. But this is not just a story of  humble kid who does right. Leguizamo does have his issues, including bouts of depression and some self-destructing habits. Yet with pluck, hard work, and a little help from good people along the way, he manages to rise up. In this graphic novel, Leguizamo bares his soul, and we are all moved in the process, rooting for him to succeed. As he states at the opening of the story:

"I'm gonna give you a piece of my soul. And if you give me a piece of your soul, and we do this right, we'll have a soul exchange" 

And give us a piece of his soul he does as he tells his story in a direct, moving, often funny and at time dark narrative. Leguizamo is a great writer, and he pulls us in with his narrative. The book's pacing is fast and engaging. Once you pick it up, you'll keep reading until the end. The book is further enhanced by the great illustration work from Cassano and Beyale. Their black and white art bring the characters to life in a realistic way that captures the happenings and emotions the author captures in his writing. Leguizamo also comments on the art of the book in his preface:

"My work is evocative--through the power of suggestion-- and what you had to imagine before is now manifested. The illustrations really concretize my play, and it's no longer just a theatrical impression but a visual documentation of my life" (vii). 

I highly recommend this book, and I anticipate it will make my list of best books read in 2016. This is a book I would gladly add to my personal collection. It is an excellent acquisition for libraries. Do keep in mind that though it can be read by older teens, it does feature some adult situations. It is definitely a great read for adults. It is a candid, sincere work of redemption that must be read.

5 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2016 Reading Challenges:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Booknote: Bernie

Ted Rall, Bernie. Oakland: Seven Stories Press, 2016.  ISBN: 9781609806989.

Genre: comics and graphic novels
Subgenre: politics, biography
Format: paperback
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) Public Library

This is a graphic novel biography of Bernie Sanders. It is an excellent book that both goes over the life of Vermont's U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and explains the political landscape as we enter the 2016 presidential election and how we got there. After laying the background, the book then moves to look at Bernie Sanders. We start with him as that "socialist senator from Vermont." In 2011, he begins a rise in the left, in part propelled by the Occupy Movement as some people begin to say enough is enough. Ted Rall shows us Bernie's life and career with color, a little humor, and with conviction. The comic ends just as Bernie enters the presidential race, making it a very timely reading for the 2016 election season.

The book's art is very good. Rall's unique and somewhat quirkly art style captures Sanders well. It suits Sanders' image yet maintains the man's credibility and character. In addition, Rall does blend in some real photographs at key moments of the story, such as looking at Sanders' youth. The photos work very well to enhance the story.

This is a book that I highly recommend. It is a very timely selection for the 2016 election season in the United States. A strength of the graphic novel is that it is an accessible story. It explains in simple and clear language how we got here, and what the high stakes really are. For libraries, especially public libraries, this book is a must have. The book is also a great way to learn about the candidate. It is an easy read, but it is also a substantial read. The book includes a set of notes to provide good documentation of Sanders' positions and the politics discussed in the book; this is good for readers who wish to learn more. Rall does a good job of humanizing the man; we see Bernie's flaws as well as his virtues, which makes for a good biography and politics book.

5 out of 5 stars. 

* * * * * 

Additional reading notes: 

To help us understand where Sanders comes from, the book starts with a history of the Democratic Party and its turn to the right after Nixon defeated McGovern in a landslide in 1972. The Democratic Party has continued its rightward direction to this day.. Let's be honest. Hillary Clinton today, as the Rude Pundit said in one of his recent columns  is what a moderate Republican used to be. The book even recalls that Jimmy Carter, beloved humanitarian now, was not exactly an angel in office. He was a savvy politician who did turn to the right as well and was quite hawkish in his diplomacy and foreign policies.

And then came the Reagan presidency, and the rightward turn of the Democrats kept on going:

"Liberal concerns--poverty, environmental degradation, racism, discrimination against women, rising income inequality-- disappear from speeches by Democratic candidates. The media ignores these issues as well. Two-party politics becomes a debate between center-right and right-right" (36).

This explains why today the GOP is rabidly extreme right-right, and Hillary mostly runs a center-right campaign. Sanders, who the media often minimize is attempting a left move for the Democratic Party, but it is an uphill battle. The book, in a brief and concise way, explains how we got to this point in time. 

While Obama has his many good traits, certainly when compared to the obstructionist extremist right wing GOP, there is still this:

"The voices of the dispossessed are not heard in Obama's America. Neither major political party talks about income inequality, which has been growing steadily since the 1970s" (62).

And there is also this:

"America isn't poor. There's always money for war: to invade Afghanistan, to invade Iraq, to build so many new military bases that--this is true-- even the Pentagon might not know how many there are. What there isn't is money for average people. Unemployment benefits run out after a few months. After those paltry assistance payments end, it's your tough luck, your problem. If you're jobless or poor, you are on your own" (65).

As Ted Rall argues, the fact Bernie draws so much support from the young shows there is a hunger for new leadership and ideas. However, if in the end, there is nothing more than a coronation, or,

"If Bernie turns lame, or stays true and loses the nomination or the election, the hundreds of thousands of voters who turned out will never do so again. They will become jaded and cynical, muck like the young men and women who canvassed for Obama in 2008, only to find out after the election that their politics bore little resemblance to his" (190-191).

Therein lies a danger. Keep alienating the young, the poor, the disenfranchised, and there is the road to oligarchy and the loss of democracy. Now certain loyal Democrats love to whine and chide other Democrats they see as not toeing the party line. Many women support Hillary for no other reason than she is a woman or "it's her turn." Women may know Hillary is a warmonger, Wall Streeter, and free trader, but to them "first woman president elected" sounds really good. If that is the main thing the establishment candidate has, it really is not much, and our nation needs more at this crucial time. Overall, this will be a very interesting election season to watch. 

* * * * * 

This book qualifies for the following 2016 Reading Challenges:

Friday, March 11, 2016

Booknote: Harley Quinn, Volume 3

Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, Harley Quinn, Volume 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab. Burbank, CA: DC Comics, 2015. ISBN: 9781401257644.

Genre: graphic novels and comics
Subgenre: superheroes
Format: e-book galley
Source: NetGalley

I do not enjoy too many DC Comics titles these days, but this is a series that I always look forward to. Harley continues her hijinks and attempts to lead a (sort of) straight life. From trying to break her bff Poison Ivy out of Arkham Asylum to winning a date with the most eligible bachelor in town, Bruce Wayne, Harley Quinn keeps getting into all sorts of situations, keeping her sense of humor.

This series definitely continues to be entertaining. You look forward to seeing what she does next. In addition, her various dream sequences and moments when she breaks the fourth wall are amusing. Those moments also feature work by a variety of artists. The art remains a great reason to pick up this series.

I continue to enjoy it, and it is one I would add to my personal collection. This is a good addition for libraries, especially if they already collect Batman titles.

5 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2016 Reading Challenges:

Reading about the reading life, March 11, 2016 edition

Welcome to another edition of "Reading about the reading life" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is where I collect stories about reading and the reading life. Basically, these are items related to reading, maybe writing and literacy, that I find interesting and think my four readers might find interesting as well with a little commentary. As with other features I do on this blog, I do it when I have time or feel like it. Comments are always welcome (within reason).

 There are some new stories and some older stories that were sitting on my feed reader's queue that I finally have the time to share with my readers. Let's get on with it.

  • The Christian Science Monitor has a story suggesting what books to read if you want an Ivy League education. It is pretty much what you expect: read these classics with a few odds and ends. To be honest, from reading the article, these are classics that you might have read in high school or in college (Ivy League or not). I did like this line from the article: "The bottom line: Approximating an Ivy League education may be as easy as checking out the right books at the library." 
  • Publishers Weekly highlights that 2015 was a good year for bookstores.  A cooling in e-book sales and some rising in independent bookstores, in part due to the Borders collapse, seem to be helping.
  • Teddy Roosevelt was a voracious reader, and here are his ten rules of reading via BookRiot.
  • Via The Paris Review, a short piece on ladies having to put up with bookstore creeps, especially in the erotica section of said bookstore. All I have to say is the following. Guys: don't be that asshole.
  • Via Inside Higher Ed, some advice for reading for pleasure in graduate school. While I did manage to keep reading for pleasure while I was in graduate school, it was not much. I was very glad I got out of graduate school (my first masters, in English ironically when we think about this topic of reading) so I could go back to reading whatever the hell I wanted in peace. Don't get me wrong, I do not regret the skills I learned as an English major, but I can do without the snooty attitudes about "what's good reading for you."
  • Via Infotecarios, a lament on the forgotten sections of foreign books in Spain's public libraries and bookstores. The article is in Spanish, but allow me to give you the highlights. The author suggests three reasons for this sad state of affairs. One, Spanish upbringing and educational system that did the minimal in terms of teaching foreign languages. Two, the Franco era's requirement to dub into Spanish any and all audiovisual material from abroad. Three, the Spanish timid character (in the sense of feeling self conscious if trying to speak a foreign language they barely get). I will agree with some of it because I can relate to some growing up in Puerto Rico, which by the way was a Spanish colony for four hundred years. For us, English as a foreign language was barely taught in public schools; it was mostly pen, paper, and blackboard, some reading, but no audiovisual listening devices or such. Thus the learning was very theoretical. In my case, I was fortunate my parents put me in an immersive English language school so I got fluent, but I am very aware of my fortune in that regard. 
  • And here is someone working on translating Spanish literary books into English. Via Asymptote, a profile of the publisher of Hispabooks
  • On to a little U.S. government trivia. Via Government Book Talk, here is a listing of the government's best selling books of 2015. These are not exactly riveting pleasure reads, although I will point out that one of the best sellers is a book about the historic fortifications in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Stuff on how to become a U.S. citizen is quite popular too. I am thinking a few libraries may be buying that for patrons seeking to take the citizenship test. Librarians, if you have have purchased such books, feel free to comment and let me know.
  • Ever wonder what it was like to be a bank librarian in the 1920s? Inside Adams highlights a few articles from the 1920s, including a mention of "Miss Margaret Reynolds, a librarian at the First Wisconsin National Bank of Milwaukee, who was quoted in that Bankers Magazine article. . . " .
  • Via the Los Angeles Times, a report that finds, once again, that college students prefer to read their books in print over e-books or online. And yet, administrators keep shoving and forcing them to read texts online be it for convenience (theirs) or cost (this can be relative as it is not just money but time, effort, etc.). The findings in large part from Naomi S. Baron, author of the book Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (link to WorldCat so you can find it in a library near you), which sounds like a book I will be adding to my TBR list.
  • Finally for this week, a good article by Rachel Kramer Bussel in Salon on why used bookstores are not going to kill an author's career. This is worth a read. Personally, I have less respect for writers who whine that holy shit they bought my book used and I do not get a penny of that. Yea, but you saw your penny from the one who bought it new so I could get it used. Author Tiffany Reisz, quoted in the article summarizes this: "Buying a used book is no more piracy than buying a secondhand Christmas sweater at Goodwill. Piracy is more like stealing a new book off a bookstore shelf without paying for it. Every book in a used bookstore has already been bought and the author has received royalties for it." Besides, as Bussel argues, it is the long term game. And yes, I already know how the whole publishing thing works; I am a librarian, so please, if you comment over this, don't bother "trying to educate me." I already know the drill, and I still buy used books just fine. After all, I am on a librarian salary here. So high fallutin' snob authors, get off the high horse already. Odds are good if I find one of your out of print books in the used bookstore, and I like it, I may seek others out, even in a new books store. Oh, and by the way, no libraries will not kill your career either. Bussel does a great job taking down the whiny arguments, calling out privilege where it is found, and overall reassuring us all will be OK. As for me, yea, I buy used books, a lot of them when I can. I also check out a lot of books from my libraries (both my workplace and my local public one). I also buy new books, though not as many. Again, I am on a librarian salary.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Signs the Economy is Bad, March 4, 2016 edition.

Welcome to another edition of "Signs the Economy is Bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the semi-regular (as in when I have time and/or feel like doing it) feature where I scour the Internet in search of the oh so subtle hints that the economy is bad. Sure, pundits may say things are getting better, but what do they know? And to show not all is bad, once in a while we look at how good the uber rich have it.  

That the economy is bad is something that you will not hear politicians speak about. You sure as hell are not going to hear about things like this from the Republicans (who mostly cause a lot of the bad economy) nor the Democrats (who these days are pretty much Republican-lite. Talk about how the mighty have fallen). So, let's then talk about what the politicians and pundits fail to even consider.

  • You are still naive and think the U.S. is the land of opportunity? The Washington Post has a few charts to help you wake up and put that myth to rest
  • The Atlantic reports that rural hospitals are closing delivery rooms.
  • And assuming you can deliver your child in a rural area, if you are poor, things are not better overall. In fact, poverty among rural children is on the rise, and a lot of it is clustered in Appalachia. But you will not hear any political party mentioning this. Story via The Rural Blog
  • And more on hospitals, where many patients, mostly elderly and disabled, are finding themselves stranded because the nursing homes where they may have come from refuse to let them come back. It's some serious fuckery. Story via NPR.
  • The Atlantic also reports on something I have mentioned before on this blog: the debtors' prisons are very much alive and well in the United States. In fact, collecting fees for minor things as well as piling up court costs for petty things has pretty much become a big racket in many American cities and towns. According to the article, "What these cities lack in tax receipts, they collect through fines and fees stemming from minor municipal violations. These include vehicle violations such as expired registration, speeding, or seat-belt tickets, and other offenses like “saggy pants” or property-upkeep tickets (everything from chipped paint to trash-can violations). Simply put, these are not serious crimes. And, to make matters worse, such laws are unevenly enforced. City governments, incentivized by their own budget goals and shortfalls, encourage local police to increase the number of citations in order to drive up revenue. Municipal courts are the mechanism for collection."
  • Meanwhile, in Tennessee it pays to be a legislator as you get showered with money from the payday loan industry to approve shitty loans with a 279% interest rate (yea, that number is correct; The Mob wishes they could do this kind of racket legally). According to Addicting Info, who highlighted the story, "an investigation by WTVF revealed that, just before and just after the bill was passed, at least $400,000 was funnelled to state lawmakers from payday lending companies."
  • And speaking of unethical scheming, did you know you could get rich exploiting and plundering public schools, and you do not even have to educate a single student? Read this article from Common Dreams to find out how. Still need a hint? Let me give you one word: privatization.
  • Meanwhile, in Maine, low income renters are shit out of luck as their neighborhoods get gentrified and the millionaires tell them to GTFO. Story via Addicting Info.
  • Hell, gentrification is getting so bad that billionaires are actually telling mere millionaires to GTFO. Via The Halting Problem.
  • In fact, the economy is so bad that bratty spoiled college students are now setting GoFundMe pages so you can chip to help pay for his spring break. Like this guy. Story via COED.
  • And for your amazement in signs the economy is bad, for this Thai princess, she is so rich she can afford to build toilets she will never use at $40K a pop. Story via the BBC.

Booknote: The Bookshop Book

Jen Campbell, The Bookshop Book. London: Constable and Robinson, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-47211-666-6.

Genre: nonfiction
Subgenre: books and reading, bibliophiles, travel
Format: hardcover
Source: Hutchins Library, Berea College

This was a good read. I will admit I read most of it, and I did skim a few parts as some parts of the book were more interesting than others. I am always up for reading books about books and reading, and this fit the bill nicely. In essence, the book is a sort of list or directory of special or unique bookstores around the world. Some regions do have more bookshops and are better represented than others. Europe is extremely well represented, so is North America, the rest of the world not so much.

The book offers as way of introduction a small history on the world of books, which serves to set up the rest of the book. The rest of the book then covers "bookshops around the world & thoughts from those who love them." In the directory section, the following areas are covered:

  • Europe
  • Africa
  • North America
  • Central and South America
  • Australasia
  • Asia
For access purposes, the book features an index of bookshops and another index of people.

The author has worked for seven years in bookshops in England and Scotland; this may explain some of the heavier emphasis on those countries and Europe. It's what the author really knows. Bookshops featured in the book are usually independent, often second-hand and/or antiquarian. Many of them are the kind of places I would love to just lose myself in for a while. Each bookstore gets an entry which can vary in length from a paragraph to various pages. This does mean that you learn a lot about some places and very little about others. Also, each regional section features "Bookish Facts" and "Some Wonderful Things," which are boxes with book trivia and lore. Additionally, there are also sections of chats with authors, mainly literary type authors, who give their thoughts on bookshops and their reading experiences.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book. For bibliophiles, this would be a comfort read. Armchair travelers who enjoy books and reading will likely enjoy this book as well. In the end, it's one I really liked.

4 out 5 stars.

* * * * * 

Some additional reading notes:

The author's motivation for the book:

"Stories connect people: I want to share the stories of three hundred wonderful bookshops across six continents, and thoughts from famous authors about their favourite bookshops, too. These days, we've got booksellers in cities, in deserts, and in the middle of a rain forest; we've got travelling bookshops, and bookshops underground. We've got bookshops in barns, in caravans, and in converted Victorian railway stations. We've even got booksellers selling books in the middle of a war" (xiv). 

Ian Rankin on why bookshops are important. His sentiment is one I agree with:

"As a reader, I think bookshops are important because nothing beats the experience of browsing. You cannot replicate it online. In a well-run bookshop you are always going to find something that you want to read. If not, hopefully you can chat with the bookseller and they will tell you about something you didn't know existed.  You get that personal recommendation.  You build up a relationship" (16). 

You know what other place also can offer good browsing and has knowledgeable people when it comes to books? Your local public library, and contrary to some of the newer librarians who think of exclusively online technotopias, many readers want and seek out books. But I digress.

Ali Smith on what bookshops are:

"A bookshop is a bookshop owner's vision, and book-lovers tend to share visions. At the end  of the day, it doesn't matter so much what publishers declare to be the latest trend, or what's going to win such-and-such an award that year. A bookshop's aim is the same as the reader's aim, and it isn't restricted to time: they help things stay steady, and balance everything out. All they want, all we want, is a good book" (63). 

James Daunt, of Daunt Books, on e-books:

"If you own something digital, you don't own a physical thing. I can see e-books replacing the paperback copies one might give away after a single read, but I still think that people like to own books-- physical books and beautiful objects-- and, because of that, good bookshops will stay" (92). 

Daunt on children and growing up a reader:

"If you fall in love with reading young, it's something that will stay with you throughout your whole life--you might not find yourself reading all the time, but you will always go through periods of wanting to be around books, and the worlds they offer" (92-93). 

Again, and not to take away from bookstores, but this is applicable to libraries as well who not only offer books for children but also do programs to engage children in reading. Many of those kids will grow up to use libraries, but they will also become book buyers. Perhaps bookshops should send us a thank-you note once in a while.

The passion of booksellers, which I would say is the passion of book readers as well:

"Our passion is in the word, the power of the word, its freedom and the ability of stories to take us to other places. To live many lives at once, as mindful reading allows" (156). 

Cliff McNish on secondhand bookshops, also why I like such stores so much:

"Is there anything better than entering a secondhand bookshop? Inexpensive books (good!), but also books you've never heard of, or barely heard of, by people who were writing in your genre, and your target age-category, just a generation or even half a generation ago, and have already been either completely or half-forgotten. There they are, in hardback and paperback, remembered. Honoured. Which, since we nearly all end up there eventually-- let's not pretend-- honours us all" (181). 

* * * * *

This book qualifies for the following 2016 Reading Challenges: