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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review: B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal by J.C. Hallman

Title: B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal

Author: J.C. Hallman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Genre: Arts & Literature

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

“What is the purpose of literature?”

It’s that question during a Q&A with author James Salter that set in stone Hallman’s reading Nicholson Baker and the writing of this book.

B & Me focuses on the author as he explores the works of Nicholson Baker; at first Hallman struggles with reading Baker’s book U and I, often times just setting it down and forgetting about it. He begins to wonder if reading Baker and writing about the author is a bad idea. But once he starts reading Baker again, he develops a fondness for the author and sets out to read more of his books.

The author offers his deep insights as he reads all of Baker’s books and explores the meaning behind the theme of the novel. I have to say at first, I didn’t know anything about Nicholson Baker, but after reading Hallman’s descriptions of Baker’s books, I’m eager to read his work. Even though the majority of the book focuses on Hallman reading Baker, he does delve into his criticism of the literary world and how it’s changed over the years. Hallman makes excellent points by saying reading isn’t what it used to be and how libraries are prisons for books.
Hallman provides plenty of humor throughout the book as he sidetracks to details about his life with his girlfriend, Catherine. He writes about their adventures as they moved from New York to Paris to Maine. He also talks about Catherine’s support as he set out on his quest to read Baker. Even though most of his tidbits were funny, some pushed the boundaries of too much information and should’ve been kept private.

In the end, the author succeeded in his idea to write about Nicholson Baker and the literary world, and because of it he'll have people rethinking the way they view literature.

Rating: 4 stars

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