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Thursday, January 12, 2017

How Not to Read: Harnessing the Power of a Literature-Free Life

I had been waiting to read this book for some time, and one day this fall I saw it at The Strand, so I decided to pick it up. I have been following Dan Wilbur's blog Better Book Titles for a while, so I was interested in what he had to say in How Not to Read: Harnessing the Power of a Literature-Free Life

Reading is a pain for most people. I know this – when I tell people that I love to read they look at me as though I am some sort of saint. I'm not, I'm just slightly intelligent. Dan Wilbur's blog allows readers to submit book covers with hilarious and snarky new titles describing their contents, and it's been quite a joy for many years. Dan himself is also a comedian, so the success of his blog let him to write a book with quippy anecdotes. The best part of this book, however, is the middle section filled with some of the "best of" book covers.

The rest of the book, however, is just a little "trying too hard." I enjoy Dan's Twitter feed immensely, but early on this book just felt as though it were trying to hard to be funny. I ended up skipping a few paragraphs because it felt as though it were forced and not casual enough to just giggle at. I also get where the jokes are coming from – that no one likes to read – but I also wish that this book has been a little more earnestly tongue-in-cheek as opposed to elitist. It is, after all, being read by people who enjoy reading, a good bit even, and who enjoy reading so much that they find the jokey titles made up for the new covers to be swoon-worthy. 

I'm going to keep enjoying the original website, because that's where the crux of humor regarding a love of literature lies.

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