I have never before read a 5-star book and chosen not to review it for 11 months. The problem was I read it in January and that was simply far too early to have read my book of the year, I decided I’d reread in December just to see if it is as good as my memory of it. It is. But you’ll have to wait until the 31st to see if it gets to wear the coveted crown.

The book cover bears testimony to the richest of the treasures within this Everyman’s anthology of poems about books and libraries. Edited by Andrew D Scrimgeour, Dean of Libraries Emeritus, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, the poems are organised into 10 sections: the love of books, all sorts of readers, turning the page, discovering reading, celebrating individual books and authors, because of libraries, always the librarians, the sriting of books, marginalia, and rethinking books and readings. I defy anyone with even a passing interest in books not to find traces of themselves somewhere. As for passionate bibliophiles, you’ll find a detailed description of all your quirks and habits. Of course whether you find staring reality in the face pleasurable or otherwise is entirely personal. As for me, I just had to laugh out loud.

There are poems about books, readers, writers, libraries and librarians spanning form, time, the world. Poems to match any mood: happy, sad, melancholic, fond, cynical, angry. Poems warning about the dangers of libraries. (You’ll come out a different person.) Poems to ponder. How’s this for reading/reviewing advice?

When you are reading and come to a thorn
Pull it out. Use your knowledge
to heal the book. Don’t meddle with poets
who make a living out of finding fault.
They’re bad news.

How to Read A Book – Muddupalani (Tr. Velcheru Narayana Rao and David Shulman)

The imagery is marvellous. I love this idea of books and their relationships with each other, when the library doors have closed for the night.

While I’m not sure about the abandoned dogs metaphor, I must admit I stroke my books. (Doesn’t everyone?)

That this is a pocket-sized edition is an added bonus as it can be carried anywhere. It’s perfect for dipping in and out of at whim. Or even for settling down with, freshly-made popcorn to hand, to savour and enjoy as Maya Angelou suggests in what is currently my favourite poem in the collection. (Something which will change ofttimes as I suspect I will repeatedly dip in and out of this gem of a collection.)