My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’m not the most consistent ratings-giver. My rankings are based on how well the author did what she set out to do, and how much I enjoyed the read.
In Judging a Book by Its Lover, Lauren Leto does exactly what she set out to do: entertainingly explore and explain what it’s like to have a fascination with books, authors, and reading. Leto delves into topics that readers think about but probably rarely cross the minds of others: bookstore smells, the derivation of bookworm, reading in public, what your favorite kids book probably says about you, the risks of giving books as gifts, and lengthy sections on how to fake your way through conversations about specific books, authors, and genres.
Judging a Book by Its Lover may not age well because it refers to a lot of recent books—A Visit from the Goon Squad, Freedom, The Elegance of the Hedgehog—so I’m glad I picked it up now after reading Claudia’s recommendation on Goodreads. Sometimes snarky, sometimes nostalgic, Lauren Leto’s love for books and reading comes through vividly in every chapter.
Although not the funniest lines in the book, I really like these sentences from near the end: “Talking with others about our experience with the books is a way of celebrating the art. That we were pulled into the same existence and we emerged emotionally charged but each struck in a unique way is the beauty of reading.”
I know Judging a Book by Its Lover will come to mind many times in the future because of Lauren Leto’s humor and insights.