Thursday, June 11, 2009

BTT: Niche Books

What Niche Books do you read?

I have a lot of reference type books on my shelves pertaining to photography, Photoshop, dog training, gardening, travel and a huge collection of cookbooks (my husband loves to cook) but I don’t think of them as books that I “read”. They are simply references that I dip into to extract the information that I need and move on. There are three categories of niche books that I will curl up with and read cover to cover for pure enjoyment: 1) Books about Books 2) Books about Antarctica and 3) Books about the Carribean.

I absolutely adore books about books or reading or writing, either fiction or non-fiction. Some of my favorite fiction ones are The Muse Asylum by David Czuchlewski, Club Duma by Arturo Perez-Reverte, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino and the Cliff Janeway mysteries by John Dunning. Some of my favorite non-fiction are Gentle Madness by Nicholas Basbanes, Used and Rare by Lawrence Goldstone, and Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles.

I find Antarctica fascinating and hope to get there someday. I have enjoyed fiction set there such as Ice Limit by Preston & Childe and Antarctica by Kim Stanley Robbinson as well as non-fiction such as Big Dead Place by Nicholas Johnson and In the Ghost Country by Peter Hillary. I will note that I have yet to find an extremely well written book about Antarctica but for some reason I am willing to tolerate poor or average writing that I normally wouldn’t read if it has interesting information about Antarctica.

The last niche that I sometimes read is books about the Carribean, either fiction or non-fiction, especially if it about or set in the Virgin Islands. This is a small niche and most of the books that I have are out of print or only available in the Virgin Islands. I must admit that I used to read and collect a lot more in this niche when I didn’t live in the Virgin Islands then I do now. When its cold and snowy in New England it is more fun to read about the Carribean but now it is more fun to read about the ice and cold of Antarctica.

Does anyone have any suggestions for Books about Books or Books about Antarctica?


Having perused the other responses I have found some great books about books to check out. From the comments to the post by Savidge Reads:
Reading Like a Writer - Francine Prose
Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs - Jeremy Mercer
Ex Libris - Anne Fadiman
Classics for Pleasure - Michael Dirda
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop - Lewis Buzbee
The Polysyllabic Spree or Housekeeping vs the Dirt - Nick Hornby
The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New - Rosenberg
Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel -Jane Smiley
How to Read Literature Like a Professor -Thomas C. Foster
Why We Read What We Read - Lisa Adams and John Heath
Beowulf on the Beach - Jack Murnighan

And from Molly from My Cozy Book Nook:
Reading Like a Writer - Francine Prose
The 7 Basic Plots - Christopher Booker
How to Read a Book - Mortimer Adler
The Well-Educated Mind - Susan Wise Bauer
Mini Lessons for Literature Circles - Harvey Daniels and Nancy Steineke

And a new one:
A Temple of Texts by William Glass


kay said...

I have photography books in common with you!

Mine is art and photography, there are some of the most beautiful books!

Anonymous said...

The Yellow-Lighted Booksop is a must-read for book lover and reader. I'm sure Buzbee would teach your heart-string.

Reading Like a Writer is a new desk reference that I flip through from time to time.

Off topic: Let me know your progress on The Tale of Genji. I have been reading Tyall but have switched over to Seidensticker for sheer readability. Tyall is beautiful prose but is bit less readable.

Moo said...

Mattviews - I haven't had a chance to start Genji but I will this week. Since I have the Tyler I am going to give that a shot. I am looking forward to reading everyone's impressions of the book. Thanks for hosting an interesting read along.