One for the Books by Joe Queenan

One for the Books

One of America’s leading humorists and author of the bestseller Closing Time examines his own obsession with booksJoe Queenan became a voracious reader as a means of escape from a joyless childhood in a Philadelphia housing project. In the years since then he has dedicated himself to an assortment of idiosyncratic reading challenges: spending a year reading only short books, spending a year reading books he always suspected he would hate, spend...

Details One for the Books

TitleOne for the Books
Release DateOct 25th, 2012
GenreNonfiction, Writing, Books About Books, Autobiography, Memoir, Essays, Humor

Reviews One for the Books

  • Melki
    "I once read Tortilla Flats from cover to cover during a Jerry Garcia solo on 'Truckin'' at Philadelphia's Spectrum; by the time he'd wrapped things up, I could have read 'As I Lay Dying.'""I have never squandered an opportunity to read."Oh, boy - did I ever LOVE this book!!! How could anyone NOT swoon over such an exuberant and irreverent love letter to books and reading?I can't think of any better way to review this one other than to just make ...
  • Diane
    3.5 stars"When I was young and penniless, I read books in the hope of lifting myself out of the abyss, subscribing to the credo that knowledge is power."I enjoyed this collection of essays about books, despite the fact that the author is an arrogant, curmudgeonly ass. He is cynical and grouchy and dismissive of certain types of books and readers and libraries and book clubs. And boy, does he hate e-readers -- he mentions it several times. However...
  • Scott Rhee
    Joe Queenan and I apparently share an obsessive passion. No, it's not whining incessantly about politics (although I suppose that works, too). We are both bibliophiles.To be a true bibliophile, one must possess certain personal quirks. First, one must OWN books. Getting books from the library and borrowing books from friends is okay, but actually owning books---regardless of whether one actually has room in the home (which is why I have books in ...
  • Michael
    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 se...
  • Robin
    I am ready to believe that Queenan wrote this book to prove that he could name however many titles and authors that he name-drops in here in under 250 pages. I suspect he was counting. He covers quite the spectrum, almost always at the level of the barest mention--sometimes scathing, sometimes ecstatic. Yes, he can write witty sentences, and I always award healthy points for that, I don't much appreciate the way he writes a similar sentence over ...
  • Ken
    Books about books. To the bibliophile, they are like candy. Ice cream. Pepperoni pizza. Hot fudge sundaes. Cold beer on a hot summer day. Yes, please, in other words. Who can resist all of those italicized titles of books the author/fellow addict has enjoyed, after all? Rhetorical question, lads and lasses. No one in this room we know.Reading it, you, like me, will be underlining book titles for future reference, for a rainy day when you can type...
  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    I had hoped Joe Queenan’s ‘One for the Books’ would prove to be an exception from the often stuffy, professorial tomes that wax lyrical about the joys of reading, as long as that reading is almost exclusively authored by, or about, Dead White Dudes (D.W.D).In part it was, but unfortunately Queenan’s humour doesn’t quite negate his narrow definition of what ‘good books’ are. Queenan is a book snob, dismissing genre fiction almost in ...
  • Jill Mackin
    I enjoyed One for the Books because it let me reflect on my lifelong obsession with reading. Queenan is sort of a literary snob and we have but a handful of authors in common. And his angst about Middlemarch is a bit over the top.
  • Kris
    Sometimes mildly interesting, sometimes quite funny, but generally too snooty for me. Queenan is frankly a snob.He's so self-absorbed, so sarcastically satisfied with his own self-sanctioned reading habits, his snobbery leaks out into other realms. The second half of the book was barely about books or reading at all, but more like a biography, with Queenan going off on random tangents that I frankly don't care about. I sped-read the last 150+ pag...
  • Carol
    Darn, darn and darn again...someone recommended this to me and I can't remember who but thank you anyway.If you're a book lover and most of us on GR are, you should be able to find something useful and even amusing in this laying in all out on paper, confession of sorts, or Joe Queenan, book addict. Consider that this guy is reading over 30 books at a time, not just browsing, actually reading. He reads at least 2 hours a day, 4 is you add in time...
  • Bridget
    I received this book as a Christmas gift. I'm pretty sure I've heard of Joe Queenan, though I'm not sure where/when/how. This book is a set of essays he wrote - some appearing previously in other publications - where he discusses his love for books, and what they have meant in his life.I am not sure if I liked or hated this book. Queenan seems like a person who is very busy making sure that you know he came from a difficult, poor childhood in Phi...
  • Kate
    I’m happy I read this book. Just one reason is finding permission on p.189 to not like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I haven’t read, and earlier in the book, Tuesdays with Morrie, which I have read. Queenan is an astonishing writer - absolutely hilarious. Never mind that he's arrogant, condescending, insulting, and he overgeneralizes.Those who love cynicism will probably love this book too. And maybe those who don't. The thinner skin...
  • Nicki Markus
    I was actually looking forward to this book, thinking it sounded like a fun and interesting read. Unfortunately, the author got in the way.Before I continue, a little something about me. In my teens, I was a book snob. I thought classics were the only things worth reading and I sniffed at the thought of e-books. These days I have lost that snobbish side and I read a huge range of different books and own an e-reader, dividing my time 50/450 betwee...
  • Manfred
    At about page 83 I realized I was starting to get weary of Joe's adventures in reading. I enjoy his writing in the pelletized newspaper column format, and his sense of whimsical humor and de rigeur Irish sense of self-deprecation is ever-present. He is never sidesplittingly or wickedly funny, more a member of the same tribe as Dave Barry or Erma Bombeck. If your tastes run in that direction then you will enjoy this book. To me, it was like readin...
  • Sutter Lee
    I'd previously read Queenan's How to be Good and really enjoyed, so I was happy to find One for the Books on Friends of the Library shelf for $1 which would piss off Joe, since he thinks people should show support for authors by buying new books, which I cannot afford. Nor does he think people should get books from libraries. Well, too bad.He doesn't give a damn about anyone agreeing with him on any level, which I admire. I felt validated by book...
  • Meghan
    This guy is a crank. A book-reading crank, with several suspect opinions, including the complete dismissal of fantasy, science fiction, and children's books. But wait! His opinions are often outlandish, but he's hilariously clever in a Bill Bryson-esque way. His jabs at libraries and librarianship are awesome, as when he is asked to give a talk at the public library because he is a local author: "Library events scare me, as they provide refuge fo...
  • Diane S ☔
    Book critic and contributor to many different magazines and newspapers, this is a book that is all about reading, his love for books, his experiences in libraries and bookshops. In the first chapter he actually sounded just like me and I am sure many others, reading whenever and wherever he could. He is a self avowed book snob and manages to criticize many others, which was written sarcastically, not meanly.Actually managed to make me feel guilty...
  • Lee Anne
    Joe Queenan was a writer for two of my favorite, long defunct, magazines: Spy and Movieline. In this book, he discusses his lifelong love of reading and of books as physical objects. Many, if not all, of these essays were originally published as magazine pieces, so there is some repetition of themes--his Francophilia and the angst he suffers from never having read Middlemarch--but even still, this is one of those books that when you read it, you ...
  • Dannielle Insalaco
    I hated this book. I gave it several chances. I looked up French phrases, tallied words I didn't know (35 when I gave up at 77% complete) . I found him pompous and rude!
  • Shane
    Joe Queenan, a sixty-one year old (he constantly reminds us of his age,) is a consummate and opinionated reader who reads 250 books a year, owns 1300 plus books, has never finished Ulysses or Middlemarch but intends to, and will never get to Catch 22, gives us his unabashed view on the life of a reader.The book is full of observations and comments on the art of reading – good to know that it too has been elevated to an art, so people like me wh...
  • Maxine
    Joe Queenan is a writer by trade but a reader by inclination. He will read anywhere: on buses, trains, at concerts, at work, even, in his own words "while waiting for people to emerge from comas, while waiting for the Iceman to Cometh". Or Godot, whoever comes first - no matter, if there's a place, there's a book to be read there.According to him, readers are people whose reality, for whatever reason, is lacking. In his case, he grew up poor in a...
  • Shaun
    Nice to know there are, in fact, folks out there who have this same maniacal obsession to read books. I don’t mean the ebooks on Kindle or the like, I mean the “real deal.” Joe Queenan captures so well this obsession to read and own books and writes about every aspect of such reading enjoyment and ownership. Very funny book with an acerbic, oft self-deprecating wit.“One for the Books” should be read by anyone who suffers from this odd, ...
  • Liz
    Apparently, Joe Queenan is a well-known humorist/satirist, but I had never heard of him when I checked out One for the Books from the library. (Books about books are one of my favorite genres.) Apparently, he is also a pretty critical and snarky writer, qualities that don’t usually appeal to me, but I loved this book. (And yes, I have put four or five of Queenan’s other books on my to-read list!) He has very definite ideas about books and rea...
  • Patty
    ”The confraternity of serous readers is united by a conviction that literature is an endless series of expeditions, some planned, some unplanned, all elating. None of us are doing this just to show off. Books do not always take us where we want to go, but they always take us places someone would want to go. Avid book readers are people who are at some level dissatisfied with reality.”Many years ago, I listened to a book by Queenan. I can’t ...
  • Eustacia Tan
    Reading a book on someone's reading experience is always risky. You either feel like an ignorant person, or you'll disagree with their reading choices. At least One for the Books doesn't make you feel either of those emotions.The author, Joe Queenan, is funny. He's realistic that not everyone sees the same book the same way, he's sometimes dismissful of what is considered classic books, and he acknowledges the overhype. So basically, he just gave...
  • Joanne Clarke Gunter
    I read books about books and reading because I always think I will find the author to be a kindred spirit, a book soul-mate, a person I could spend hours and hours talking to about books we have read and want to read, and the ones that will have to go unread or can't be re-read because our lives are just too short. I found all of that in this book and this author.Joe Queenan is one well-read guy. He is also funny, irreverent, looks like a cop, bu...
  • Bryan
    I had a lot of fun with this book--Queenan's collection of articles previously published in venues such as GQ, New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. I certainly didn't expect to. Actually, I have an aversion to this kind of writing, or at least I did, or maybe I do, to everyone except Queenan. What kind of writing is it, you ask? Good question, though I don't know if I have an answer. Diversionary writing, I think. The kind of article you f...
  • Dawn
    I don't think I've ever read a book I've so enjoyed or found so funny where the author, sometimes using less than flattering terms (such as "doofus" or "dolt,") to describe book-lovers, authors, booksellers and even some sports lovers, insults me on more than one occasion (because of the books I might enjoy which he may term "bad", though he does agree we all read "bad" books and some bad books are good for us ...) and I don't mind. Queenan talks...
  • John
    Queenan pretty much lost me early on when he announced that he wouldn't consider audiobooks because he "doesn't do abridged" - HUH? Most books these days are complete text. He also dismisses ebooks as being for scifi dorks, routinely throwing in, "You can't do THAT with a Kindle!" Yawn .... Near the end he proudly quotes his daughter's opinion of library borrowers: "They (libraries) are everything bad about cemeteries without any of the redeeming...
  • Jessica Robinson
    The guy is a real condescending dick about other readers but I'd be lying if I said he didn't win me over. I'm sorry he has such a vendetta against e-readers, libraries, genre fiction, and Middlemarch (four things I like very much), but most bibliophiles seem to have some sort of bizarre vendetta against some aspect of reading or readers. I won't share mine because like with most bibliophiles my vendetta makes me sound petty or crazy, which is no...