Book Reviews

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson (2004) | Book Review

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson (2004) | Book Review So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson
Genres: Non-Fiction
Original Publication Date: 2004
Source: I purchased this book
Find the Author: Website, Goodreads, Amazon

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading: The project began as an experiment with a simple plan—fifty-two weeks, fifty-two books—that fell apart in the first week. It was then that Sara Nelson realized the books chose her as much as she chose them, and the rewards and frustrations they brought were nothing she could plan for. From Solzhenitsyn to Laura Zigman, Catherine M. to Captain Underpants, the result is a personal chronicle of insight, wit, and enough infectious enthusiasm to make a passionate reader out of anybody.

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading

This book is about Sara Nelson’s decision to read one book a week for a year.

While Nelson didn’t quite accomplish that feat, she did find many interesting books that were important to her at a particular moment in time.

She also found out that you DON’T have to read or finish a volume if you don’t want to.

She hadn’t always been an avid reader.

So when did my life change? Looking back, I can see the early warning signs of readaholism, like when my mother gave me Marjorie Morningstar when I was thirteen and I pulled an all-nighter reading – and weeping over – the Herman Wouk novel.

Nelson recalls a time when her reading life took over, when she was lonely living in New York:

Slowly, it dawned on me: Books could be more than a path to good grades or something to do when, in those pre-cable days, you’d already seen the Movie of the Week.

I started paying closer attention to book reviews and began taking advantage of the free review copies that were pouring into the magazine at which I worked as an editorial assistant. I didn’t have much to do on weekends anyway, so I began cruising bookstores and got myself a New York Public Library card.

Nelson Finds Herself Reading in Interesting Places

She found out that sometimes everyday life can interfere with your best-laid plans.

For example, she took Funny Men by Ted Heller with her on a weekend to Vermont.

In Vermont, she stayed in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s old compound. She discovered that Heller’s book was exactly the wrong book to read. 

She was surrounded by Solzhenitsyn’s personal library:

Our host, my friend Sabrina, is the window of a stepson of the famous Russian writer and thinker Alexander Solzhenitsyn. As mother of the author’s first grandchild, Sabrina is still welcome at the compound in Cavendish, Vermont, where the Solzhenitsyns lived in exile for nearly twenty years.

She must have intended this book mostly to be about the books she read.

It eventually became as much a memoir as a book on books: a personal reading journey that taught her much about herself and her family.

Final Analysis

I admit that I had never heard of some of these books before I read So Many Books, So Little Time. I now will check them out!

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it. You will enjoy it.

Further Reading

There is an interesting review by Publisher’s Weekly.

Please read my other posts:

Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker.

Punching In by Alex Frankel

Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry.

Save Karyn: One Shopaholic’s Journey to Debt and Back by Karyn Bosnak

Marie: A True Story by Peter Maas

Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Thank you for reading The Literary Lioness!

About Sara Nelson

Sara Nelson is an American publishing industry executive who is also an editor and book reviewer. Her book So Many Books, So Little Time was published in 2003.

I love books, writing, film, and television.

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