My rating: 4/10.
Quick verdict: Glad I didn’t buy this. Mildly diverting, but not a keeper.
The author is (apparently) a popular blogger. Fair enough. The chapters would indeed make fine blog posts. Read ‘em and forget ‘em. (Not that I would extend that attitude to those of you, my marvelous readers, who are also fellow bloggers. No, no, no! But blog posts are, by the very nature of the venue, rather in-the-moment, are they not?)
I was going to condemn this novelty project by calling it pure fluff or something equally dismissive, but fellow-reader compassion for the author, an undoubted book lover, stays my hand. I’m mostly just glad I got this one from the library. It was mildly humorous in a pleasantly snarky way and I did frequently smile. Some sweetly tart anecdotes about a childhood of reading and a gentle ode to her book-loving grandparents enriched the whole.
I easily made it to the end, though I tuned out some at the mention of and rants about authors I’d never even heard of. Who the heck is Susan Wiggs? Chuck Klosterman? Augusten Burroughs?
The publisher is pushing this one with the following:
Want to impress the hot stranger at the bar who asks for your take on Infinite Jest? Dying to shut up the blowhard in front of you who’s pontificating on Cormac McCarthy’s “recurring road narratives”? Having difficulty keeping Francine Prose and Annie Proulx straight?
For all those overwhelmed readers who need to get a firm grip on the relentless onslaught of must-read books to stay on top of the inevitable conversations that swirl around them, Lauren Leto’s Judging a Book by Its Lover is manna from literary heaven! A hilarious send-up of–and inspired homage to–the passionate and peculiar world of book culture, this guide to literary debate leaves no reader or author unscathed, at once adoring and skewering everyone from Jonathan Franzen to Ayn Rand to Dostoyevsky and the people who read them.
Not a particularly broad field of authors covered within, I found, but the author did her best with her limited years of reading experience, for she’s a youngish bright young thing – I quickly googled her and found a reference to her being twenty-four in 2010 – and obviously feels most at home among the American bestseller and college reading list standards.
And that’s all the time I’m going to spend on this one. Should be in abundant supply in the used book stores in the next year or two, as all of the readers who’ve received this for Christmas of 2012 purge their shelves.