The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians

Little, Brown. Apr. 2024. 352p. Tr $28. ISBN 9780316567534.
A collection of personal stories from various types of librarians and booksellers across the U.S.; Patterson and Eversmann have pulled together numerous musings from these professionals about their lives with books. A common thread comes through clearly—they love their jobs because they love books. Several of the librarians speak directly to the current state of book banning, offering stories and stating their conviction in the freedom to read. While the volume of entries is impressive, it does start to feel repetitive: in most, the person shares when they first remember loving books, their path to their current job, an anecdote from on the job, and why they love what they do. After awhile, no matter the person or the role, it starts to sound the same. While it might be this way by design, to show the common bond, readers’ eyes may start to glaze over. The book is divided into five parts, but with no explanation of these or delineation of themes, it seems arbitrary. Those unfamiliar with the book business will find this volume informative as well as interesting. For others, this will serve as a way to reignite their passion for books and find camaraderie among like-minded colleagues.
VERDICT An interesting though repetitive roundup of stories from booksellers and librarians that will make readers feel the passion behind the professions.

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