Disclaimer- I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review from the author/publishing company.
Imagine keeping a record of every book you’ve ever read. What would this reading trajectory say about you? With passion, humor, and insight, the editor of The New York Times Book Review shares the stories that have shaped her life.
Pamela Paul has kept a single book by her side for twenty-eight years – carried throughout high school and college, hauled from Paris to London to Thailand, from job to job, safely packed away and then carefully removed from apartment to house to its current perch on a shelf over her desk – reliable if frayed, anonymous-looking yet deeply personal. This book has a name: Bob.
Bob is Paul’s Book of Books, a journal that records every book she’s ever read, from Sweet Valley High to Anna Karenina, from Catch-22 to Swimming to Cambodia, a journey in reading that reflects her inner life – her fantasies and hopes, her mistakes and missteps, her dreams and her ideas, both half-baked and wholehearted. Her life, in turn, influences the books she chooses, whether for solace or escape, information or sheer entertainment.
But My Life with Bob isn’t really about those books. It’s about the deep and powerful relationship between book and reader. It’s about the way books provide each of us the perspective, courage, companionship, and imperfect self-knowledge to forge our own path. It’s about why we read what we read and how those choices make us who we are. It’s about how we make our own stories.
This book was a read I will always remember and is definitely on the top of my favourite books that I have read. It’s a glowing read for the book community and an even better story to share about BOB or should I say, book of books. Paul does wonders investigating and producing a book that tackles every reader’s challenges through a range of sheer entertainment and powerful relationships between the pieces of art she read and those she left behind. Pamela is not only reflective but it also relatable and witty as she displays the courage that every reader fears- talking about everyone’s favourites that weren’t exactly hers. This book is a reflection of Paul’s journey and mishaps that everyone can relate too.
“In French, you don’t say ‘I am a writer,’ you say, ‘I am writer,’ which gives the statement an even more boastful and pompous air. Writer, like poet or philosopher, isn’t one of those job titles that rolls of the tongue in any language.”
Some of my favourite chapters consisted of The Trial: A book with No Ending, The Magic Mountain: Different Interpretations and The Hunger Games: No Time to Read. Not only did these chapters speak to me as if I was sitting down, having a chai tea with Paul as we spoke blissfully about the art of literature but the integrity and charismatic energy in every page had me at the corners of the page, waiting to quickly turn the page to read what she would say next.
Not only is this book mindfully quotable but Paul is also thoroughly inspirational in My Life with Bob as I was not only inspired but drawn to her stories and felt as if I have never connected with anyone as such before. I would recommend this book to those who love a great piece of literature, reading other book lovers interpretations of not only our lives behind books but also the stories that we read thoroughly as they invest in ours. I would like to thank Picador Publishing for sending me this copy and I honestly can say it is in my top favourite books that I have ever read.