Friday, December 4, 2009

An Alphabetical Life by Wendy Werris

An Alphabetical Life
by Wendy Werris
Pub: Carroll & Graf, 2006
ISBN: 9780786718177
292 pages
Genre: autobiography/nonfiction
Source: Personal Copy

Summary in a Sentence:

Publisher's sales representative Wendy Werris chronicles her thirty-five years in the bookselling business, her experiences as a woman in the industry, her father's struggles as a television writer, her rape, and her mother's death.

My Thoughts:

I'm a big sucker for books about bookstores. Or books about books in general. Needless to say, when I stumbled across Werris's memoir on sale, I snatched it up immediately. Werris begins her narrative by introducing her readers to the world of Pickwick Books, where her long career in the book business so humbly began at the tender age of 19.

The famous Pickwick Bookshop where author Werris got her start.

Werris's father, Snag Werris, was a writer for the Jackie Gleason Show and between his famous friends and Werris's job in Hollywood, quite a bit of name-dropping goes on in the book which initally irked me. However, it was interesting to read about the book buying habits of Alfred Hitchcock, Mick Jagger  and Joni Mitchell. In time, Werris becomes a publisher's rep in a time where few women held such a position. In 1976, she was one of two women book reppers in the country. She was something of a trailblazer in the field and often faced frustration as independent bookstores closed in the face of chain megastores.

Recommended for anyone who loves books about books, as well as lovers of autobiographies and women's studies.

This book counts towards the Women Unbound Challenge and The Four Month Challenge.

Rating:  3.5/5

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Other Reviews:


Nina said...

Great review. The description sounds very good.

brizmus said...

I love books about books, but I have never read a book about a bookshop. Since this one also seems to be about a powerful woman, I might should check it out.
Great review!

Kirthi said...

A book about books. I haven't heard about many books about books, so I'll have to try this!

L said...

The famous people and what they read angle looks a bit interesting. Especially Hitchcock. I bet he read weird stuff. Trailblazing women are always a good topic! Great review.

Michele said...

Why, yes, now that you mention it, I am indeed a sucker for any books about books. Or the book world. I like what you found here!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Oh, I like the sound of this book; the author seems strong and smart!

Aarti said...

I just read a book about a woman who started an indie bookstore (The King's English), and this one seems kind of along the same lines, though obviously different. Great to know!

Sandra said...

This book is right up my alley. And I loved both Charing Cross Road (I read all her other books too) and The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop too. I'm off to see if my library has it.

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