My Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book Of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela PaulMy Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book Of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul

My Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book Of Books, Plot Ensues

byPamela Paul

Hardcover | May 2, 2017

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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.

Pamela Paul is the editor of The New York Times Book Review and oversees books coverage at The New York Times. She is also the host of the weekly podcast, Inside The New York Times Book Review. Her latest book is "My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues." She is also the author of four other books By the Boo...
Title:My Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book Of Books, Plot EnsuesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.53 × 5.8 × 0.94 inPublished:May 2, 2017Publisher:Henry Holt and Co.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1627796312

ISBN - 13:9781627796316


Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful read! I enjoyed reading this book and resonated well with the passion and love of reading and owning books. I reminded me of the time in my childhood when I spent in libraries or book stores, being mesmerized by the volumes of books on the shelves. I still feel blissful when I am surrounded by books, e.g. in libraries, book stores, or book sales. By sharing her life with the list of books that she read or sought after at different life stages, laughters and pains, the author allowed me to feel closer to her; I agree that a person's reading list is personal and intimate in a way. I also added a few books that she mentioned to my reading list :-)
Date published: 2018-04-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A fascinating peek into the NYT Book Review editor's reading life I’m a huge sucker for books about books, so it’s probably no surprise that I really like this one. Paul takes us through Bob—her “book of books”—and the life events that surround these titles. It’s a fascinating peek into someone else’s reading life and I love that voyeuristic aspect of learning about someone else’s reading habits. Also fun was hearing Paul’s take on “Kidlit,” a book club group that I’ve read Gretchen Rubin talk about many times in her books. I don’t think anything can ever top Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader for me in terms of books on books—but this was a great one, and I’d recommend it to avid readers who are fascinated by the processes and philosophies of reading.
Date published: 2017-11-02

Table of Contents


Introduction: Why Keep Track? 1

1. Brave New World: You Shouldn't Be Reading That 9
2. Slaves of New York: The Literary Life 19
3. The Trial: A Book with No Ending 27
4. Catch-22: Never Enough 38
5. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Required Reading 54
6. Into That Darkness: Voyeurism 64
7. The Grapes of Wrath: Among Readers 71
8. A Journey of One's Own: Books That Change Your Life 80
9. Anna Karenina: Heroines 91
10. Swimming to Cambodia: The Company of Narrators 104
11. Wild Swans: Inspirational Reading 116
12. The Secret History: Solitary Reading 129
13. The Wisdom of the Body: In Love with a Book 135
14. The Magic Mountain: Different Interpretations 143
15. Autobiography of a Face: On Self-Help 153
16. Flashman: I Do Not Like Your Books 164
17. The Master and Margarita: Recommendations 175
18. The Hunger Games: No Time to Read 184
19. A Wrinkle in Time: Reading with Children 192
20. Bad News: Tearjerkers 205
21. Les Misérables: Why Read? 219
22. A Spy Among Friends: Other Writers 230

Epilogue: The Lives We Read 238

Acknowledgments 241

Editorial Reviews

"[Pamela Paul] is reflective, open and at times achingly funny. My Life with Bob is the book that she was put on this Earth to write." -The Economist"Pamela Paul recalls the stories that have given shape to her own narrative in her appealingly roving memoir.... which includes...undersung marvels that boldly take measure of the world-and challenge us to write our own story." -Vogue"An engaging and.funny memoir.. a delightfully gushing love letter to books - books as a medium that can connect us, transport us and transform us."-Washington Post "Bob becomes a memory keeper, not so much of the of the personal associations they hold for her, such as the place where she read them or the people she was with at the time. Paul approaches books with tenderness, desire, insecurity, and, always, ambition."-The New Yorker"A rollicking, intimate expedition through a brilliant booklover's heart, mind, and life.. 'My Life With Bob' is a fun, accessible, well-written bookalogue; the kind of memoir Pamela Paul would have raved about in the venerable New York Times Book Review if she hadn't written it."-The Christian Science Monitor"A heartwarming reminiscence of the books that reflected and shaped her state of mind at every stage of life. By the end, you'll be hard pressed to not start keeping a 'Bob'.of your own."-Harper's Bazaar"A bibliophile's treasure trove of insights."-O, The Oprah Magazine"Reading Paul, I began to see how much the books you gravitate towards reveal about your truest loves, your most instinctive urges, as well as more thoughtful, curated appetites.. She displays true bravery by listing all of the books she's finished reading. [it's] a baring of one's soul that merits respect."-Financial Times"The ultimate book about reading books.... an intimate look into [Paul's] interior life and the ways in which the stories she has read have changed her own story. Clever and heartfelt, My Life With Bob will appeal to anyone with a deep love for reading."-Buzzfeed"Downright delightful.... a thoroughly agreeable voice to spend time with: energetic, resolute, self-ironic and always passionate about books.... A plot really does ensue - and it's not strained for - in the form of Paul's life. And what a life that has been."-San Francisco Chronicle"A smart, beautifully written memoir about the relationship we have with books and how the books we read frame our lives. This charmer is a must for every beach bag this Summer."-PopSugar"Compelling, authentic, and every dream of every woman who puts reading before eating, the stories offer a perspective on life.... Perfection in a book, My Life with Bob is a love story for readers and woman who love books too much!"-The Review Broads"Pamela Paul's My Life with Bob is absolutely essential for those of us to whombooks are more or less everything. This is a book I was born to read!"-Robert Gottlieb "My Life with Bob is a sweet and heady book that casts a serious charm. Our lively and fetching heroine's journey becomes more thrilling by the page as Pamela Paul perfectly captures the joys of a lifetime devoted to books, as well as the attendant pressure, doubt, and insecurity. Reading this memoir is pure pleasure - funny, brainy, far-reaching- but more than anything, it feels like a call to arms to recommit to our best self: the book person."-Maria Semple"In this hilarious, wise, and elegiac account of a life led half in the world and half in books, Pamela Paul writes with courage and exuberance about the bumpy road to maturity. Her voice-tender, moral, madcap, nostalgic, generous-will captivate all but the most stony reader. My Life with Bob is full of hope, full of love, a joyful and poignant reflection on the well-written sentence and the well-lived life."-Andrew Solomon "Any book that helps me remember reading the Betsy-Tacy-Tib series as well as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, is a book I like. Pamela Paul's My Life With Bob is an absorbing, delightful amalgam - it's a recommended reading list, a personal reflection, and a paean to reading. I'm sorry I never wrote down all the books I read (or even practically any), but I'm so glad Pamela Paul did."-Meg Wolitzer"Paul is inspired to question why we read, how we read, what we read, and how reading helps us create our own narratives. Readers will be drawn to this witty and authentic tribute to the extraordinary power of books."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A witty, heartfelt, deeply optimistic narrative...Titles about reading and books abound, but this memoir stands in a class by itself. Bibliophiles will treasure, but the addictive storytelling and high-quality writing will vastly increase its audience."-Library Journal (starred review)"Intelligent, unique, and wise, Paul's book not only remembers a life lived among and influenced by books. It also reveals how the most interesting stories existless as words printed on pages and more as 'stories that lie between book and reader.' A thoughtfully engaging memoir of a life in books."-Kirkus Reviews "What makes Paul's narrative absorbing and resonant is her determination: we observe her journeying towards the life she always wanted to have, by reading her way through it." -The Times Literary Supplement