For twenty-eight years Paul has kept track of the books she's read in a notebook she named Bob. Those books track the different stages of her life from high school and college, to living abroad, different jobs, marriage, divorce, children. All of it. Books and reading helped shape her life; in turn, her life experiences influenced the books she chose to read. As a lifelong reader myself, I related.
I laughed when she wrote: "There was a shiftiness to kids who secreted themselves in a corner to read instead of what they should have been doing.... I did everything I could to read my way out of doing anything else. It was the one thing I was good at."
And I nodded my head in agreement when she said: "...lending a book to an unreliable reader inevitably leads to regret. It is lovely to share books, but they need to come home. I have known people to maintain years-long grudges over unreturned books. Who can blame them?" (I admit, I still remember the name of the girl who borrowed my copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes in high school and never returned it; and I still haven't quite forgiven my uncle who lost one of the books he borrowed from me...mostly because he was so unapologetic about it.)
For the most part, I enjoyed this book. But then I do tend to like reading books about books and reading. Paul's a likable person, and her musings on reading made me smile. And I agreed with many of her sentiments, though not all of them. Some of the chapters were less interesting to me than others, but that's typical in any biography. And while this one won't make my favorites list at the end of the year, it's a solid 3-star read. Now I'm off to choose my next book. Because as Paul writes, "There (are) lots of books needing to be read."