So Many Books So Little Time Hardcover – Oct 14 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
"I have a New Year's plan," Nelson writes in the prologue to this charming diary of an unapologetic "readaholic." Her goal: to read a book a week for a year and try "to get down on paper what I've been doing for years in my mind: matching up the reading experience with the personal one and watching where they intersect-or don't." Armed with a list of books, the author, a Glamour senior contributing editor, the New York Observer's publishing columnist and a veteran book reviewer, begins her 52-week odyssey. She doesn't necessarily stick to her list, which includes classics ("the homework I didn't do in college"), books everyone's talking about (like David McCullough's John Adams) and titles as diverse as Call It Sleep, by Henry Roth, and Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting. But she succeeds in sharing her infectious enthusiasm for literature in general, the act of reading and individual books and authors. Along the way, Nelson unearths treasures. She becomes enamored of David Mura's Turning Japanese, a memoir that helps her understand her Japanese-American husband better, and looks to Henry Dunow's The Way Home, about coaching baseball, while trying to help her second-grade son improve his athletic skills. Most readers will probably come away from this love letter to books eager to pursue some of Nelson's favorites-Nora Ephron's Heartburn, perhaps, or Emma Donoghue's Slammerkin-which is what makes Nelson's reflections inspiring and worthwhile.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sara Nelson has been an editor and a reporter who has a library the size of my room. She is also a voracious reader. She looks for books that fit her "mood." She wanders around her library in her nightgown knowing exactly where every book is. (Like I do.) She talks about how she wasn't always that way. She used to go to the "Multiplex" and go dancing.
"So when did my life change? Looking back, I can see the early warning signs of readaholism, like when my mother gave me Marjorie Morningstar when I was thirteen and I pulled an all-nighter reading--and weeping over--the Herman Wouk novel." (Mine was around the same time, but not as grown up. Judy Blume's "Are you there God, it's me Margaret?" Doomed to turn any outdoor loving girl into an indoor one.)
Basically, she decided to read a book a week, and write how she felt about it. Now, this is not a book full of lists (which to me, is not a fun book to read, but more to make notes from.) This is a book that takes what she reads and she connects it to personal experience. She read books about baseball when her son was interested in baseball. She read books about Japanese Americans during WWII (because her husband is.) It makes so much sense. When I was in a bad place in a past relationship, I bought relationship books. When I was single, I bought single girl empowerment books. Now that I just want to enjoy books, I buy literature and chick-lit. Sometimes, we want to read what we know, or what we are experiencing at the time.Read more ›
Nelson is an inveterate reader, the messy kind who frequently has more than one book open at once. Her plan for the year 2002 was to read a book a week and record her reactions, or more importantly explore how the book ties into her life. The weekly entries take on a variety of themes, not to mention books, as Nelson opens up her mind and life. Books that dovetail with the issues of her life, books that distract her from the issues of her life, books that work or don't on vacation, books that call up her younger selves, books that nick into her marriage or relationships with parents, books that parent with her, books that fit a mood--she finds them all across the year. She is amazingly candid, wisecrackingly funny and often touching. She keeps the suspense going: can she keep up the pace and fulfill her goals?
In the end she and we know far more about her than about the books, but learning about oneself is part of the reading journey. I think a lot of readers will find that even if their lives and likes are different from Nelson's, they will have found a soulmate.
Secondly, there is a lot of variety here, and I have many new things to add to my list (as if it's not long enough already). She seemingly reads just about anything, and is open to new genres, styles, subjects and authors. I don't think there's anything narrow about her reading tastes (despite what others have said). She may read differently from what I do and I'm sure I could recommend her dozens of things she possibly hasn't looked at - the wealth of Australian fiction out there is just one example - but that in no way implies that her tastes are narrow.
A couple of other reviews have commented that she seemed very self-congratulatory for reading as many books as she did. This didn't come across to me at all - and besides, if a book a week was her goal and she made it, why shouldn't she congratulate herself? Who cares if some people can read more than that? It's not a competition. I wouldn't have cared if she'd read 20 books or 200 - what is valuable her is her insight into the books, into her own life, and into the obsessive nature of us book people.
And this is probably what I like most about 'So Many Books, So Little Time': it's an immensely personal journey through the reading life of one person. Sara Nelson talks about reading to her son, about her marriage (to a non-book person, horror of horrors!), about her parents and her siblings, about the difficulties of recommendation, lending books, hype...Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A reviewer spends a year writing about the books she reads, and how they fit into her life. Rather self-indulgent - why didn't I think of it first? (B+)Published on Oct. 2 2004 by Ez
I am so thankful for Amazon.com used books. I could not afford to continue reading this book if I had to pay full price for the books that Sara has tempted me to buy. Read morePublished on June 11 2004 by Amanda Brookes
The very idea of this book attracted me quite a bit. I love to read about other passionate readers, and I was very curious to see what books Nelson picked. Read morePublished on June 8 2004 by Suzanne Amara
My attention waned while reading this book. I became very bored with her life stories and found myself skipping ahead only to read the blurbs regarding what books she had read and... Read morePublished on May 28 2004 by K. Bergherm
I recently picked up Sara Nelson's book to read while I was working a garage sale. Before the sale was finished I was well into her book, enjoying a look into the mind of another... Read morePublished on May 24 2004 by Daryl B
Until I read this book, I wasn't sure there were other people out there like me. I totally related to the unease Sara expressed when going on a trip and not having something to... Read morePublished on April 1 2004 by currystew
...this book is for you!!! This book is good in so many ways:
1. You can meet someone who is truly passionate about reading and wants to share her love of it with the... Read more
I spent my third Saturday night in a row reading until the wee hours. I read SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME by Sara Nelson and enjoyed it for the most part. Read morePublished on March 14 2004 by Maudeen Wachsmith
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