Full disclosure: Dan Wilbur is a friend of a friend, and I hope someday to be able to call him my friend as well. He sent me the book to review, and Penguin asked me to blurb it, which I did. The book is based on his blog, Better Book Titles, in which he and others come up with creative and descriptive titles for books like White People Ruin Everything, also known as The People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, and Epic References! which you may know as The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman. He's even retitled his own book I'll Probably Stop Blogging Now That My Book's Been Published.
The book is hilarious. Although it does include a nice sampling of his re-written book titles, most of it is a comedic tour of the book industry, reading and literary studies. It's the kind of book that's fun to dip in and out of when you have a spare moment and need a chuckle. The basic thesis of the book is that reading is a waste of your time. Obviously there is a heavy component of irony in writing about how it's dumb to read. Wilbur is a comedian and a bookseller when he's not blogging and he puts his knowledge of the book world and his well-honed comedic turns of phrase to good use.
Chapter headings include
- Books: What Are They, and What Are They Good For?
- How To Read
- How To Talk to Others About Books
- and the introduction, Ughhh! Books Are the Worst!
How Not to Read would make a great gift for the book-lover in your life, or a gag gift for someone who doesn't like to read. It's not really kid-friendly though so I would hesitate to recommend it for reluctant younger readers, even though it is very funny.
Click here for my very serious interview with Dan Wilbur.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review and was asked to blurb it.