Letters: A Readaholic Trashes Book Clubs

Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish read emails from listeners about an author who estimates he's read almost 7,000 books.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And now, to your letters. And we got a lot of them in response to your chat, Robert, with Joe Queenan about his new book.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm not surprised. The book is called "One For the Books." Queenan details his obsession with reading; sometimes, as many as 130 books a year. He knows that's not ordinary. In fact, he said this about ordinary people:

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

JOE QUEENAN: They read about one book a year, and it's by Tom Clancy or James Patterson.

SIEGEL: (LAUGHTER)

CORNISH: And Queenan also took on book clubs, calling them stupid and ridiculous.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

QUEENAN: One week, they discuss something like "Anna Karenina" and "War and Peace"; and the next week, they discuss the stupidest book imaginable. They just discover whatever book, you know, Anita Shreve just happened to write.

CORNISH: "Horrible" is the review of that interview, from Richard Ezell of Fairburn, Georgia. He goes on: Was it supposed to be entertaining? Informative? It was neither. And he ends on this superlative: In my opinion, Mr. Queenan now holds the title for most pompous guest ever.

SIEGEL: And there's this response about book clubs: How can you generalize? That's from Suzanne Rogers of Sierra Vista, Arizona. She goes on to say: You sound much too snobby to ever be in one, anyway. In my book clubs, we read a variety of books because we are well-rounded people.

CORNISH: But one of you commented that Joe Queenan sounded like a "truly kindred spirit." That's a quote from Danielle Chard of St. Petersburg, Florida. He writes: I chuckled, nodded, laughed out loud and giggled, all through this interview. And she adds: I can't even imagine trying to count the books I've read, but I am usually reading two to four at a time.

SIEGEL: Well, to all of you, no matter how many books you're reading right now, thanks for your comments. You can write to us by going to npr.org, and click on "contact us" at the bottom of the page.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

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