August 9th is Book Lovers Day! It’s a time to curl up with a book or three and read your heart out, and Yale University Press is here to help you celebrate. We know that choosing what to read next can be both sweetly intoxicating and totally overwhelming, so we’ve picked out some appropriate and entertaining titles for the holiday.
If you’re a book lover looking to read about other book lovers, we’d suggest Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books edited by Leah Price. The book spotlights the personal libraries of thirteen novelists with photographs, interviews, and top ten lists from each. The featured bibliophiles include Alison Bechdel, Junot Díaz, Lev Grossman and Sophie Gee, and Gary Shteyngart.
If the books in your home library are chock full of highlights, sticky notes, and scribbles, then Marginalia by H.J. Jackson might be the title for you. Jackson reflects on the cultural and historical value of writing in the margins, examines works that have invited passionate annotation, and presents examples of the most provocative marginalia. Jackson’s enthusiasm will be all too familiar to those who read with a pen or pencil in hand.
If you’re looking for some friendly and passionate encouragement to crack open a book, we’d recommend A Reader on Reading by Alberto Manguel. Manguel is a prize-winning writer and a well-decorated reader, and in this collection of essays he considers the ways reading defines our species. To Manguel, narrative is the underlying structure of consciousness, and books provide an intellectual home.
If you’ve wondered how books became so widely available, you might be interested in James Raven‘s The Business of Books. Raven traces the development of English literary commerce to explain how the book went from a luxury item to a mass market commodity. In a similar spirit, Andrew Pettegree reconstructs the first 150 years of the world of print in The Book in the Renaissance. He shows that the printed book had to straddle financial and religious imperatives from the very beginning.
If you’d like to know how the book in your hands came to be so comfortable to hold and pleasant to look at, then you should check out Richard Hendel‘s On Book Design. Hendel explains how he and other designers make decisions about size, shape, typeface, arrangement, and much more as they help transform a manuscript into a finished product.
If you want to understand not just books but Great Books, let How to Read Literature by Terry Eagleton and A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland be your guides. Eagleton poses and addresses questions of evaluation and interpretation while commenting on movements including classicism, Romanticism, modernism, and postmodernism. Sutherland introduces great classics with his own twist of humor and wit, and he includes plenty of digressions into less than canonical territory (everything from Anglo-Saxon runes to The Da Vinci Code).
If, at the end of the day, what you’re really looking for is a well-told story, we’d recommend Severina, written by Rodrigo Rey Rosa and translated by Chris Andrews. The gripping novel centers on a bookseller and the enigmatic thief who throws his world into disarray. It’s a must-read book by a contender for Guatemala’s most prominent literary figure.
If you are interested in the history of Yale University Press and the challenges of university press publishing in general, we’d point you to A World of Letters by Nicholas A. Basbanes. The book recounts the various successes and controversies of Yale University Press’s first one hundred years (1908-2008).
Regardless what you choose to page through next, we hope you have a great Book Lovers Day. And let us know what you’re currently reading in the comments section below!