My Life with Bob

Paul, Pamela. My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps a Book of Books, Plot Ensues.New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2017.

Plot in a nutshell: voracious reader tracks what she has read over the years (starting in high school) and relates the books back to various yet significant times in her life. How many other people have done this? I know I have. I track title, author (full name because, for example, there is more than one Girls: Stories out there), reason read, dates read, whether or not I wrote a review and lastly, even which library I borrowed the copy from. I differ from Paul in that I try not to buy my books and when I do I never keep them. I borrow from every library within my state and thensome. Paul differs from me in that she decided to write a book about her reading exploits and reflect on what was going on in her personal life at that time. I blog with the briefest of hints to my personal life. What we have in common is how we read, sneaking pages in anytime we can. Our similarities and dissimilarities crisscross like highway lines on a map.
But, beyond being an entertaining tale about voracious reading and where it got her in life, I found Paul’s memoir informative. For example, I will read Tolstoy’s War and Peace with a family tree. I will allow myself to feel real emotion for inanimate objects (like Paul did while reading Ungerer’s Otto).

As an aside, for the fun of it I made a list of every book Paul mentions in her book. Then I cross referenced her list to what was on mine…Out of the 189 Paul mentions I have 97 on my list. Admittedly, I could have missed a few.
My one complaint – not everyone can afford an extra day in the hospital just because she was at the end of a really good book & wanted to finish it in the peace and quiet of a maternity ward. I think her insurance would have something to say about that!

Reason read: chosen as an Early Review from LibraryThing.

Author fact: Pamela Paul is the editor of The New York Times Book Review.

Book trivia: My Life with Bob contains one photo of the first page of “Bob.”
If I could quote passages from My Life with Bob there would definitely be one from page 144. And maybe 173. Definitely page 191. My Life with Bob is due to be published in May so you can read the quotes for yourself.



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