Review – Book Love

Posted April 7, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 3 Comments

Review – Book Love

Book Love

by Debbie Tung

Genres: Graphic Novels, Non-fiction
Pages: 136
Rating: three-stars

Bookworms rejoice! These charming comics capture exactly what it feels like to be head-over-heels for hardcovers. And paperbacks! And ebooks!And bookstores! And libraries!

Book Love is a gift book of comics tailor-made for tea-sipping, spine-sniffing, book-hoarding bibliophiles. Debbie Tung's comics are humorous and instantly recognizable--making readers laugh while precisely conveying the thoughts and habits of book nerds. Book Love is the ideal gift to let a book lover know they're understood and appreciated.

Debbie Tung’s Book Love is an easy enough read which blithely presents a certain picture of what it is to love books. There are definitely pages I relate to — like the one where she’s in the middle of one book, can’t wait to start a new one, and just lets herself read the introduction… which leads to reading the whole thing.

On the other hand, I feel like she leans into a particular sort of loving books where it’s as much an aesthetic as anything, to the point of being an affectation, and one that I think has become ever more popular because of phenomena like “bookstagram”, where half the time people want books to take pictures of them (hence, probably, the page where she insists on returning a movie edition of the book, and hence definitely the page about checking out book-related social media to “inspire” you to read more).

I’m not immune from the aesthetics of books, to be clear. A flat or a house isn’t a home to me until I’ve brought my books in, and I continue to love reading dead-tree books even as I adore my sleek and comfortable ereader. I love getting new books, and I love the smell of books. But I don’t get so precious about it: I’m fine with lending books or giving books away, with reading the movie tie-in edition, with being less conscious all the time of being a person who reads, and my ereader is a constant companion even though it doesn’t look as bookish.

Sure, I knew going in that this one would be all about books, but it’s suspiciously full of bookshops, coffee shops and fairylights too, and that grates a bit.

Rating: 3/5

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3 responses to “Review – Book Love

  1. Apparently I read this one in 2021 and gave it 2 stars, I suspect because there’s at least a few relatable pages (like the one you mentioned) and the art is alright. Otherwise, I hated it so much. I feel really, really uncomfortable with the conspicuous consumption and hoarder aspects of book social media, and how they reinforce class barriers around who gets to be perceived as a “reader”.

    And yes, all of what you said about preciousness and aesthetics! I love a beautifully bound book, but a book in hand is worth two in the store.

    • Just wait until my review of her book about depression goes up… I did give it two stars, but oof, it’s so naive.

      I absolutely staggered someone at one point by explaining that almost everything I read at the time got donated onwards to the community library I was on the committee of. Like, yeah, I buy a lot (and almost all of it new because of OCD and some unfortunate experiences), but the point isn’t Have The Most Books.

      • I read the one about “introversion” that was actually about social anxiety, so I can just imagine what the depression one will be like.

        One of the things I appreciate on the rare occasions when you share photos of your personal library is the obvious care you have for your books. It’s not a hoard – the spines aren’t being broken, nor the pages ripped. All the books are accessible, too. I would probably have more books if I could afford them, but I would hope that I would confine my purchasing to what I can actually handle, both in space and shelving costs, and in the time to tend to the books (dusting etc).

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