by Joe Queenan
Humorist Queenan, now in his 60s, says he occasionally visits the suburban Philadelphia library that he patronized in his youth, and where a librarian from that era, one Edith Prout, still toils among the shelves. One of Queenan’s books is stocked on those shelves. “Edith herself isn’t all that taken with my work,” Queenan tells us. “Too cynical, she says. Too snarky.”
I think Edith might have a point. Although Queenan’s homage to the book, in which he writes lovingly not just of his collection’s content but also of each title’s importance as a symbol of treasured moments in his life, is often funny, sometimes poignant, and frequently biting, I think One for the Books is probably best read in bits and pieces, rather than all at once – too much snarkiness can be hazardous to your health.
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