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A Reader's Book of Days

True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year

Tom Nissley (Author)

Overview | Formats

A witty and addictively readable day-by-day literary companion.

At once a love letter to literature and a charming guide to the books most worth reading, A Reader's Book of Days features bite-size accounts of events in the lives of great authors for every day of the year. Here is Marcel Proust starting In Search of Lost Time and Virginia Woolf scribbling in the margin of her own writing, "Is it nonsense, or is it brilliance?" Fictional events that take place within beloved books are also included: the birth of Harry Potter’s enemy Draco Malfoy, the blood-soaked prom in Stephen King’s Carrie.

A Reader's Book of Days is filled with memorable and surprising tales from the lives and works of Martin Amis, Jane Austen, James Baldwin, Roberto Bolano, the Brontë sisters, Junot Díaz, Philip K. Dick, Charles Dickens, Joan Didion, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Keats, Hilary Mantel, Haruki Murakami, Flannery O’Connor, Orhan Pamuk, George Plimpton, Marilynne Robinson, W. G. Sebald, Dr. Seuss, Zadie Smith, Susan Sontag, Hunter S. Thompson, Leo Tolstoy, David Foster Wallace, and many more. The book also notes the days on which famous authors were born and died; it includes lists of recommended reading for every month of the year as well as snippets from book reviews as they appeared across literary history; and throughout there are wry illustrations by acclaimed artist Joanna Neborsky.

Brimming with nearly 2,000 stories, A Reader's Book of Days will have readers of every stripe reaching for their favorite books and discovering new ones.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • October 2015
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35169-9
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 464 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverA Reader's Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year


Endorsements & Reviews

“Completely winning…A Reader's Book of Days is any reader's delight.” — Michael Dirda, Wall Street Journal

“The world's least useful, most wonderful reference book, a masterpiece with a wry sensibility… Whether you browse at random or read a page a day, this book will delight.” — Camila Domonoske,

“A treasure hunt between book covers—and my new favorite gift book…This book is a joy.” — Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune

“Tantalizing long entries on such writerly topics as day jobs, marriage, mothers, Melville, sports, and suicide.” — Mary Norris, The New Yorker

“Essential… Terrifically fun.” — Kate Tuttle, Boston Sunday Globe

“Eclectic and wide-ranging… Delightfully illustrated.” — Publishers Weekly

“Charming, funny, beguiling, this literary miscellany combines true events in writers’ lives and fictional events in their books. The perfect gift for any reader.” — Shelf Awareness

“Finally, a book to live by. Every day will remind me of the few things I've read and all the endless treasures I have to look forward to. How lucky for readers that Tom Nissley has turned his formidable intelligence to the history of literature.” — Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth

“Oh, this is a true delight!” — Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

“Packed with charming anecdotes and delicious facts, A Reader's Book of Days is an utterly delightful and immensely enjoyable book-lover's companion. I'll always have a copy close at hand, and I’ll be giving it as a gift for years to come.” — Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette

“Brilliant, fascinating, and fun!” — Ken Jennings, Jeopardy! champion and author of Because I Said So!

“Those who know Tom Nissley simply as a Jeopardy! stud, prepare to be amazed. He's more than just a gutsy wonk with a photographic memory; as A Reader's Book of Days establishes for all time, he's witty, erudite, and sweet-natured, and he has a gorgeous prose style to boot. Beware: read one of these pages and you're hooked.” — Blake Bailey, author of Cheever: A Life

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