Book Reviews

For many people summer brings at least a short break from the workaday world, time to be spent chipping away at personal projects and hobbies or simply reading a great (bookish) novel. Five recently published books about books speak to these priorities. So if you’re seeking a stack of summer reads, look no further!

Wait, another book on Paris? Mais oui, mes amis. This one doesn’t need translation, however; photographer Nichole Robertson’s lighthearted visual tour of the City of Lights highlights the various bookstores, libraries, and cafes infused with a rich literary history—think the Abbey Bookshop, Librarie Jules Verne, and les Deux Magots. Peppered throughout are witticisms opined by the likes of Gustave Flaubert: “Do not read as children do, for amusement, or as the ambitious do, to educate themselves.

Literary forgers have plied their trade as long as there's been something worth copying, "creating" purely for financial reasons or simply being able to get away with it. Throughout history, some forgers have been content to "gild the lily," so to speak, while others attempted to rewrite history. Some fakes were so good they did alter history.

One of several thoughts that occurred to me while reading the immensely enjoyable new book Ungovernable: The Victorian Parent's Guide to Raising Flawless Children was that a collection of Victorian parenting guides could be a fun "new path" (as John Carter might have put it) for beginning book collectors. In this book, author Therese Oneill uses a selection of nineteenth-century advice books to describe child-rearing techniques that surprise and shock, e.g.

Few names bestir the hearts of book collectors and die-hard bibliophiles as much as Shakespeare and Gutenberg. Two new non-fiction books adroitly capitalize on that fact, adding the element of suspense to their narratives. Both are riveting reads, but let's peel back the covers just a bit.