Joe Queenan is a humourist, critic and author from Philadelphia who become an avid reader as a means of escape from a young age. One for the Books is a memoir where Queenan tries to come to terms with his eccentric reading style. Joe Queenan is not your typical reader, and One for the Books is not your typical book about books.
Joe Queenan is a very odd and particular reader, he knows what he likes and this book is not really humorous but more self-deprecating. I thought I was a bitter and jaded person but Queenan puts me to shame, throughout the book it feels like he will never be satisfied and will always be a cranky reader. Even some of his opinions towards books and book collecting seem outlandish and weird for a reader like me but it works for him and you can’t really argue with that.
I was looking forward to reading about someone who is a grump with a passion for book and while this was explored in this book, I think he took it too far sometimes. I know it is his personal opinions but the way he talked about hating people giving him books or even recommending books to him was just a little too far; he is old and set in his ways but I tend to think a little kindness towards others, especially when giving you a gift isn’t too much to ask for.
Joe Queenan is like that weird relative that everyone has; not sure what he is thinking, always set in his ways and you don’t want to get him drunk. This book is really interesting and I enjoyed his approach to this book. While his opinions differ from my own in some aspects, he really does love reading and this doesn’t always come through in the book but you know it is there.
One for the Books is really different to any other book related memoir I’ve read and that is what makes it so interesting. If you don’t want to read about a grumpy old man’s opinions towards reading then you don’t want to read this book. If you want something different then give it ago. I’m happy to have read this book; it makes me feel almost normal when it comes to my opinions on reading and books.