Concise but still chock-full of interesting facts and tidbits about the history of books and their authors, For the Love of Books by Graham Tarrant, is an entertaining overview that will appeal to all bibliophiles. Tarrant approaches the subject with a light touch-with humor and an attitude of wonder rather than a dry recitation or wordy analysis. He covers everything from the invention of the form to the different genres, citing examples of each with quotes and quick summaries. The book also provides insight into the interesting lives of the writers themselves- including background trivia, inspirations, feuds, substance abuse struggles, brushes with the law and even some quirky death stories. For aspiring writers, there are also passages that provide advice both serious and tongue-in-cheek. For the Love of Books perhaps relies a bit too heavily on the traditional and well-known, and the reader may be left desiring more inclusion of those outside of the usual British/American canon. Still, there is plenty of new information to discover in Tarrant’s offering to make it a fun, quick dip into the fascinating world of books.
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of this book in exchange for an objective review.