Review: What We Talk About When We Talk About Books by Leah Price

Like most crazy book people, I love a good book on books. I love cozy mysteries set in the book world, like Buried in Books. I love books about book clubs, like The Dirty Book Club. I even like literary fiction with outright and so hidden you might not have noticed them if the author hadn’t pointed them out to you allusions to Ulysses, like The Sixteenth of June. So, of course, when given the opportunity to listen to an ALC of What We Talk About When We Talk About Books, I jumped at it.

I’d love to say that I recommend this book for everyone, because I feel so informed by it, but I can’t. Not everyone will enjoy this book. I didn’t really enjoy this book. But, as this book talks about, not all books are for enjoying. Who I do recommend this book for are other crazy book people. Also, anyone who wants an incredibly thorough response next time someone tells them books are dying.

I listened to this as an audiobook. I wish I’d gotten a print version. Given that much of this title is about how changing forms are still “books”, I see the irony. But given the massive amount of information it contains, it might have been nice to be able to highlight and make notes. (Yes, I am that kind of book-defacing monster.) The narrator is good, though.

I don’t know what I expected from this. I don’t usually read synopses of my advanced copies. What I got, though, was a lot of knowledge about book history and literary criticism. I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about when and why reading was considered dangerous, and the reasons some people claim one form of book is better than another. Given my recent reading in three forms, it was certainly timely.

I am glad I read this. It’s incredibly thorough and informative. If you are obsessed with books, this one’s for you.

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