Sunday, November 27, 2005

Read a Review or Read the Book?

Sometimes I feel that it would be fun to read every book that I hear about. For example, I listen to an interview with an author on the Diane Rehm show. As I'm listening 'Very interesting', I think, 'Sure would like to read it'. But I know that that would not happen because there is just not enough time in the day or night for that matter to read all those books.

What's the alternative? Find a book review and read it. Often times that is enough information about the book to satisfy my curosity. Or my interest is heighten and then take the book out of the library if that is possible.

Recently my Plymouth Library 'Meet the Author' email newsletter arrived which featured an interview with Barbara Ehrenreich. Her latest book "Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream" was reviewed. After reading the review I was satisfied. However if I wanted to read more reviews then I would put a Google search command in starting with the word review followed by the book title. Usually the first page of hits reveals some well written reviews with varied points of view.

To be sure, reading the book is the last word on knowing something about the work.

5 comments:

Joshua said...

yeah, i like a good solid book review. but book reviews just don't replace reading books for me. i gotta read the book!

Nancy said...

This is a well-written opinion and yet I must agree with Joshua. If books are to be cherished and authors respected, then one must read books in their entirety.

Bob Frank said...

I agree with both Joshua and Nancy regarding reading the book. Perhaps I should have made the last line in my post a little more emphatic.

John Shack said...

I learned to "suck the guts" out of non-fiction books in my undergrad years. Most non-fiction books are built around a handful of ideas that can be compressed into a few pages, with the rest serving as filler for publishing purposes. Finding the essence of the authors idea is like finding the pearl in the clamshell...it takes practice.

Bob Frank said...

Besides reading a review, I hear a good interview with an author and find that is satisfying enough that I don't need to read the book. After all there is only so much time for reading. Realisically there are just too many books I would like to read but not enough time to do so.