My Life With Bob : Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues

My Life With Bob : Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues

eBook - 2017
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McMillan Palgrave

People Pick • O Magazine Title to Pick Up Now • Vanity Fair Hot Type • Glamour New Book You’re Guaranteed to Love This Summer • Best Book about Books • Buzzfeed Book You Need to Read This Summer Seattle Times Book for Summer Reading • Warby Parker Blog Book Pick • Google Talks Harper’s BazaarVogueThe Washington PostThe Economist The Christian Science Monitor • Salon The Atlantic

Imagine keeping a record of every book you’ve ever read. What would this reading trajectory say about you? With passion, humor, and insight, the editor of The New York Times Book Review shares the stories that have shaped her life.

Pamela Paul has kept a single book by her side for twenty-eight years – carried throughout high school and college, hauled from Paris to London to Thailand, from job to job, safely packed away and then carefully removed from apartment to house to its current perch on a shelf over her desk – reliable if frayed, anonymous-looking yet deeply personal. This book has a name: Bob.

Bob is Paul’s Book of Books, a journal that records every book she’s ever read, from Sweet Valley High to Anna Karenina, from Catch-22 to Swimming to Cambodia, a journey in reading that reflects her inner life – her fantasies and hopes, her mistakes and missteps, her dreams and her ideas, both half-baked and wholehearted. Her life, in turn, influences the books she chooses, whether for solace or escape, information or sheer entertainment.

But My Life with Bob isn’t really about those books. It’s about the deep and powerful relationship between book and reader. It’s about the way books provide each of us the perspective, courage, companionship, and imperfect self-knowledge to forge our own path. It’s about why we read what we read and how those choices make us who we are. It’s about how we make our own stories.

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.,, 2017
ISBN: 9781627796323
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Baker & Taylor Axis 360
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks


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Oct 24, 2018

I am a long time listener of the New York Times Book Review Podcast hosted by Pamela Paul so I was looking forward to this book. It was an enjoyable read. A sort of memoir of her life told mostly through her experiences with books that she has kept recorded in her Book of Books (BOB). It was an interesting, pleasant and quick read.

vm510 Nov 30, 2017

An enjoyable memoir about the author's life and how specific books can tell us what we're going through and feeling. I liked learning from someone who enjoys books and there are plenty of memorable quotes about reading and books. If you're a book lover, this will likely resonate.

Oct 15, 2017

Wonderful! Enjoyed Pamela Paul's unpretentious writing on a subject dear to all avid readers' hearts. Wish I'd thought of starting my own BOB earlier! Highly recommend. 5 Stars!

Oct 11, 2017

I've learned so much from Pamela Paul and when she talks, I listen. So when she writes a book about being a bookworm and hiding in books as a way of getting through the uncomfortableness of being young, or not so young, I pick it up and read it even if it seems like not my thing.

But it was my thing. Completely.

The best book I've read all year because I felt good about myself being a bookworm because she made it seem worthy or at least not embarrassing and maybe somewhat noble.

And I learned she was once married to the creepy Bret Stephens who is the climate denier at the NYT opinion page, a controversial figure to say the least and somewhat of a giant asshole, so I'm told.

And now she's so successful, and so connected, and so perfect in every way that you feel like maybe being a bookworm isn't such a bad way to spend the day after all.

Jun 07, 2017

This is a book about books interspersed with stories from the life of an avid reader. It's a perfect book for any bibliophile because you will find yourself nodding along with all her comments about the wonderful smell of new (and old) books, the inability to pick just one book at a bookstore, the never ending piles of to be read books and the overall joy reading brings. Considering that this was written by the editor of the New York Times Book Review, I appreciated how utterly unsnobbish Paul was about books and was willing to read and admit to reading all types of books. My only complaint was that I wish there was more. There were parts of her life that were mentioned only in passing and I would have enjoyed hearing more about her family life and a lot more about her very cool job!

Cynthia_N Jun 07, 2017

Paul has been a reader for as long as she can remember, just like me. The amazing thing about this book is that a lot of her reading memories are the same as mine. Going to the library and hoping to impress the librarians as a young child. Heading into the adult section because you have now finished all the books you want to read in the children's section. Getting excited when you have a friend who reads the books you suggest. Reading a book and thinking you understand it and then rereading it later in life and realizing you didn't have a clue. Recommended for any readers!

May 18, 2017

Very disappointed. The first few essays were some of the best writing I've had the pleasure to read. By the middle, I was frustrated. She turned from delightful storyteller to pontificator. Other essays sounded like notes from a whiny, spoiled, self-indulgent brat. So save yourself time and frustration and just read the first few excellent chapters and then return the book to the library.


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