Reading More: A Modest Proposal

The Dramatist by Brigit Ganley (1909-2002)

Blogger Shane Parrish has done the math, and here’s his straighforward plan for tackling those Worthy-But-Lengthy Classics many of us booklovers never seem to get around to reading.

Found at the blog Get Old; link posted to Facebook by Atlanta booklover Mary Starck



Exit Darwin, Enter Austen

Jane Austen banknote

Come 2017, the British currency bill that features Charles Darwin will feature Jane Austen instead.

The interesting way the Bank of England made this decision was recently described by The Guardian.

Found at The Paris Review Daily

The Books Most Esteemed by Book Writers

Top Ten Books Cover ImageJ. Peter Zane, author of The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books (2007) and Remarkable Reads: Writers and Their Adventures in Reading (2004), has created a website that continues the work of publicizing the favorite books of over one hundred American and British writers.

The website includes the annotated lists from the 2007 book, as well as lists garnered from authors since then. The site also includes a master list of every title mentioned in any of the lists, a list of every author cited, a list of titles divided into categories (for example, “The Top Ten Books by Russian Authors”), and top-ten lists selected from the site’s readers.

Zane’s website – especially because each reading recommendation is annotated – could be a handy tool for booklovers wanting guidance for picking their next book, and especially for the subset of booklovers who have decided that the most rational solution to the “too many books, too little time” dilemma is to focus their reading solely on classic or at least highly-recommended titles. Although you’ll find many citations of The Usual Suspects on these writer-recommended lists, you’ll also find passionate recommendations for titles you’ve never heard of.

Mary Kalfatovic recently posted to The Committee Room blog her fascinating article about Zane’s project to gather and publish writers’ favorite titles.

Because we think Zane’s website is so potentially useful for booklovers everywhere, we’ve added a link to his site under the heading “Reading Recommendations” in our Booklover’s Toolbox.

Found via a Facebook post written by booklover (and Atlanta bookstore manager) Al Cotton

Atlanta’s Robert Burns Cottage

Did you know that the only replica of Robert Burns’ house in Scotland is located in Atlanta – and that it’s been here since 1911?

In the late 1800s, Robert Burns was a lot more popular than he is today. The Burns Club of Atlanta was the 58th such club to be established worldwide, with dozens more formed later.

Who would’ve guessed that The Burns Club of Atlanta is the city’s oldest surviving literary institution?

The “clubhouse” is located in East Atlanta’s Ormewood Park neighborhood. It’s not open to the public, but it’s still being used for the club’s monthly meetings. (Club membership is limited to a hundred people – which is as many as the clubhouse can accommodate at once.)

Another interesting factoid: the Burns Cottage was built on property bought by one of the Club’s co-founders, Joseph Jacobs – the same guy whose drug store introduced Coca-Cola to the world.

For more information about the Club and its clubhouse, you can read (among other things) Georgia Tech professor Nick Marino’s account of his December 2009 guided tour; Frank R. Shaw’s essay; the profile posted by the National Park Service (the Burns Cottage is on the U.S. Historic Register); and/or the Wikipedia entry.

The photo above was taken by Ken Alpern, who posted it to The Atlanta Time Machine.


What to Read Next?

Booklovers everywhere can find themselves vacillating between two poles: the pole called So Many Books, So Little Time – and the pole we could call Whatever Shall I Read Next That’s Going to Be As Wonderful as This Book I’ve Just Finished?

Our anxiety about finding a really good next read can cause us to forget that other readers have read – and loved – some really great books! And while there’s no accounting for taste when it comes to what you, specifically, might enjoy, another bibliophile’s fave can pan out to be one of yours.

The Internet, of course, is one source of reader recommendations. For example, you can find FlavorWire’s list of ten famous writers’ favorite books here. There are thousands of similar book lists on the Internet, which Mr. Google can help you find.

There are also plenty of books devoted to valorizing particular titles, such as the 2007 title whose cover is featured here. This book features summaries of 544 different titles cited by 125 different writers. A compilation of simiar book-recommening titles can be found sprinkled throughout the Atlanta Booklover’s Blog’s  “Books about Books” section. You don’t have to buy these books: you can borrow them from your local library.

Finally, there are databases available that try to identify books with similar locales, writing styles, time periods, etc. One of the best is NoveList, available  to anyone with an Atlanta-Fulton Public Library borrower’s card. (You’ll find a list of databases on the library system’s website.)

With all these resources – plus whatever you may have scribbled down onto (or input electronically into) your own personal TBA (To Be Read) list – we hope you’ll never have to wait too long between One Amazing Read and The Next One.