A Reader's Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year (Hardcover)

A Reader's Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year By Tom Nissley, Joanna Neborsky (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Tom Nissley, Joanna Neborsky (Illustrator)

December 2013 Indie Next List

“This book goes everywhere with me. I read it aloud at the front counter of our store. I read it silently to myself. Filled with fascinating and interesting stories and excerpts from literature, the pages of this beautiful book overflow with rich nuggets of information. A wonderful gift for readers, teachers, lovers -- and yourself!”
— Tracy Taylor, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA


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 Bolaño, 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.

About the Author

Tom Nissley is an eight-time champion on Jeopardy! and former Amazon books editor. He holds a PhD in English literature and has written for the Paris Review Daily, The Millions, and The Stranger. He lives in Seattle where he owns Phinney Books.

Praise For…

Completely winning… Clearly a masterpiece… 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 - NPR.org

A treasure hunt between book covers — and my new favorite gift book… This book is a joy… [Nissley] is a marvelous storyteller.
— Elizabeth Taylor - Chicago Tribune

Essential… Terrifically fun.
— Kate Tuttle - Boston Sunday Globe

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

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 State of Wonder

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

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393239621
ISBN-10: 0393239624
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: November 4th, 2013
Pages: 464
Language: English