Book: Judging a Book by Its Lover
Author: Lauren Leto
Genre: Non-fiction (sort of)
Source: In my BKR02 box
Readability Rating: 4 stars
Morality Rating: PG-13, I guess.
Target Audience: Well-read persons who don’t take it all so seriously.
Buy it: Amazon
About Lauren Leto
I was not familiar enough with the site, Texts from Last Night to know that Lauren Leto authored that or anything else that she had done, but she sounds awesome. She made Texts from Last Night when she was in law school, which kind of makes her my hero. She is extremely educated and hilarious, which is the best possible combo! What is she up to today? As far as I can tell, writing books and making money.
Judging a Book by Its Lover Book Summary
Basically, Judging a Book by Its Lover is a snarky commentary on the pretentiousness that is the literary world. If you love literature and love laughing at yourself, then you will have a great time thumbing through this book or reading it cover to cover. I enjoyed reading select passages aloud with my brother.
Now, Judging a book by its lover isn’t exactly a book you would read cover to cover, but if you do, you’ll actually have a lot of fun. This is a book where you win with education, because the more you know, the funnier the references are. If you know nothing about literature, you’ll be all like “???” But if you took American Literature in college or have visited the North East, then your reaction will probably be more like, “LOL.
Point: I’m not sure this book has a point… It appears to just be making fun of literature and the literature crowd and the people who pretend to be in the literature crowd but aren’t (often me). My favorite part of the book was where Lauren gives you tips on how you can appear as if you read a book even if you haven’t. She actually suggests using tips that I have used often (usually when people start talking about sports), so I found that section particularly amusing. She says if all else fails, excuse yourself to the bathroom and then quick look it up in Wikipedia. She then suggests closing the web page so you don’t get caught in your ignorance. If you are with a particularly suspicious person, you may even want to clear your browser history. Can’t be too careful when it comes to faking knowledge!
Sections: The book is broken into several sections of various hilarity. One of my children has apparently run off with my copy, so I can’t write down all the sections right now, but there were some called “How to Fake It,” “Stereotyping People by Favorite Author,” “Rules for Public Reading,” and a section on what sort of person your kid will grow into based on the books you read to her/him. I couldn’t decide if my favorite section was the one about the kids or the one about how to fake reading any book. I feel like what she said about Harold and the Purple Crayon was spot on.
Writing: No doubt Lauren is an excellent writer. For a nonfiction book, it is extremely enjoyable to read. I dislike nonfiction books that have that pushy salesperson type writing, and Judging a Book by Its Lover is certainly completely different and refreshing.
Usefulness: Judging a Book by Its Lover is tagged as a “field guide,” but I wouldn’t say you could actually learn a lot from it. There is a bit of use in the quick guides to popular classics, but if you are really wanting to learn how to fake-read books, then I would suggest visiting your handy dandy Wikipedia. This book is fun, but I don’t think it will save you from literature ostracism if you haven’t read Ulysses.
Judging a Book by Its Lover is full of fun, intelligence, and humor. However, as expected, the book is full of snark and sometimes apparent hatred, so if you can’t laugh at yourself, then you probably won’t like this book.
Who should read this book: Literature lovers who like to laugh at the literary world. Also, people who like laughing at children.