For the Love of Books: Stories of Literary Lives, Banned Books, Author Feuds, Extraordinary Characters, and More

Skyhorse. Jun. 2019. 244p. ISBN 9781510741577. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781510741584. LIT
Tarrant (Cinema: From the Silent Screen to the Hollywood Blockbuster) delivers a trivia lover’s delight. Starting with the history of the book, the subjects quickly progress through types of novels, writers’ work habits (Truman Capote would never begin or end a project on a Friday), how authors lived, or died (Herman Melville was so little known at the time of his death that his obituary mistakenly named him Hiram), famous author feuds, and a look at different genres. Each section (22 topics in all) is filled with anecdotes, fun pull-out facts, and a list or two of titles. There are quotes from writers about writing and about other writers. The book leans heavily toward the British side of the pond but does encompass some American authors. It may have had greater appeal to today’s readers if there were more publication dates after 2010. As is, this is more historical than current trivia, but intriguing nonetheless.
VERDICT The By the Book podcast meets Andre Bernard’s Now All We Need Is a Title, in this compulsively readable collection that may appeal to bibliophiles.

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