One of my favourite book reviewers, Nick Hornby, wrote, “There comes a point in life, it seems to me, where you have to decide whether you’re a Person of Letters or merely someone who loves books, and I’m beginning to see that the book lovers have more fun. Persons of Letters have to read things like Candide or they’re a few letters short of the whole alphabet; book lovers, meanwhile, can read whatever they fancy.” 
I am a book lover. I am also a person of a fair few letters, including an M.Phil. in Women’s Studies from Trinity College Dublin and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Toronto. I have taught Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto part-time on and off for the past five years. They do not comprise the whole alphabet, but my letters are effectively gathering dust these days while my three sons are still playing with their alphabet blocks.
Such is narcissism attending the discovery of a good read, I often feel compelled to let other book lovers know what I’m reading. This project is a more formal and pointed version of that enthusiasm: discussions of books about books.
There is a link to LibraryThing (Who is responsible for that unfortunate choice of names?) where you can see my library of books about books. My zeal for collecting books about books rather outweighs the time in which I have to read them, so this project is also a way to structure my reading and, it is to be hoped, slow down my spending.
I have been hesitant about beginning a blog because I am wary of and sometimes impatient with the very proliferation of opinions that the internet has made possible. I tend not to read customer reviews on book-selling websites (you know the ones I mean) because they don’t give me what I’m after. I’m not interested in an opinion hastily dashed off. Numbered stars or thumbs up or down are too simplistic an argot for my tastes. I want depth and breadth. I want style. I want intelligence. I want a considered opinion, not a rant or a gush. No matter what the quality of the thing reviewed, what I want from the reviewer, in a word, is excellence.
I have found that excellence on many of the blogs that I visit, and I am so thrilled to be part of a book-loving community.
 Yes, it’s a footnote in a blog. What can I say? Old habits die hard. Nick Hornby, Housekeeping vs. The Dirt (San Francisco: Believer Books, 2006) 88.
Alas, I have lost the source for the next quotation from Robertson Davies, who said something similar, but with more affectation and much less humour: “I once wrote an essay about books and reading named ‘A Call to the Clerisy,’ and I defined that unusual and almost obsolete word like this: ‘The clerisy are those who read for pleasure, but not for idleness; who read for pastime but not to kill time; who love books, but do not live by books.’ The clerisy are not professional critics or scholars, tirelessly assessing books, or bound by their work to read a lot of books that give them no pleasure. The clerisy are those who seek, and find, delight and enlargement of life in books. The clerisy are those for whom reading is a personal art.”