Review of ‘Dear Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books’ by Cathy Rentzenbrink

What bibliophile can resist a book about books? Dear Reader is a charming and heartfelt memoir from total book obsessive Cathy Rentzenbrink. I hadn’t previously heard of her but she has published two other memoirs.

I enjoyed this book, with its exploration of what our favourite books mean to us and the excitement of discovering a new favourite read. The author’s reading taste didn’t generally match mine, but I appreciated her enthusiasm. I found it interesting to read about her career as a bookseller and as an advocate for Quick Reads. The memoir aspect of this book is strong but there are also some descriptions of her favourites (which I skim-read as it’s a little boring to read several synopses in every chapter). It’s well-written, funny in parts, very sad in others. I can’t think of anything else to say about it, other than I’m glad to have read it but wouldn’t re-read. I would have been interested to know how she felt about e-books when they started to become popular, as someone who seems fixated on the physicality of books (lending them to people, dropping them in the bath, stacking them in shops, etc).

I think Dear Reader would make a nice gift for a fellow bibliophile.

First published in 2020.

4 thoughts on “Review of ‘Dear Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books’ by Cathy Rentzenbrink”

  1. SO she has like synopses of her fav books in every chapter? How does she categorize the chapters? By fav books or by genre of her fav books? Your review piqued my interest! Might check with my library if they have a copy of it 🙂 Great review, NS!

    1. The chapters correspond to events in her life, with the reading that helped her through those events – vaguely in genres, such as humorous books or those about loss. Thanks for reading Jee 😀

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