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Summary and book reviews of The Readers Catalog by Geoffrey O'Brien

The Readers Catalog

An Invaluable, Lively, Erudite and Readable Resource for Book Lovers...

by Geoffrey O'Brien

The Readers Catalog
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  • Paperback:
    Feb 1997, 1382 pages

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Book Summary

The definitive source for readers looking to build a great library. This second edition, published in 1997, has annotations on over 40,000 titles.

With annotations on more than 40,000 of the best books in print, The Reader's Catalog is the definitive source for readers looking to build a great library. This second edition, published in 1997, is the work of writers, scholars, and critics who contributed their comments to this massive and authoritative reference.

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The excerptions to this rule are a handful of 'reading guide' books (including this title). In this case, BookBrowse has included the book even though an excerpt was unavailable because we feel it has a contribution to make to this relatively specialized category.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Choice - D.G. Davis

Users of the 1989 version will note some small changes (sequence of the divisions and stylistic matters) and some major ones (layout of pages and the form of the indexes). . . . Like the first edition, this work is designed to sell books, but the titles in one division illustrate its dilemma. 'Religion, Spirituality & Philosophy' provides ample coverage of non-Christian religions, but while no mention is made of the most popular modern English Bible (the New International Version), there is an entry for William Tyndale's translation of 1525. The history of Protestantism lists only four titles (one of them The Book of Common Prayer), but there are six for alchemy (formerly under 'New Age' in the 'Practical Advice' division). Nearly all the titles were published by major commercial publishers, while denominational and smaller publishers are ignored. Emphasis rests on the exotic and bizarre at the expense of mainstream material. . . . This book industry index to the current taste of popular reviewers is significant as a cultural document but of limited use to academic libraries.

Newsday

The catalog is discriminating yet expansive, a feat of editing that anyone who has wasted time rooting out data in the weeds of the Internet will appreciate.

Union-Tribune San Diego

The idiosyncratic nature of The Reader's Catalog is what makes it so iresistible -- and valuable.

The New York Times - Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

The most attractively laid out and compactly informative guide that I know of to books that are currently in print.

Los Angeles Times

A catalogue that is both scholarly and accessible, that challenges the reader without overwhelming, that skirts the academic but refuses to pander to popular taste. By the manner in which The Reader's Catalog presents what is essentially an attractively annotated list of books, it must be called a triumph.

Author Blurb Geraldine Brooks
This best-books guide is an enlarged and updated version of a work first published in 1989. Arranged topically (e.g., 'Science-Mathematics-Number Theory'), the catalog covers all areas of knowledge, including fiction. . . . The titles listed have been selected by about 140 writers and academics.

Reader Reviews

simon peter

I have used this book as a guide to teach myself about the world and found it 's recommendations reliable in regard to interest and readibility. Its topical organization is also helpful. Good job.

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Readalikes

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    More than one hundred famous writers have contributed original essays in response to the question: What books have left the greatest impression on you and why?

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