The exquisite Call Me Ismael Phone Book is in the style of a retro phone book, if you remember those. I haven’t seen one in at least two decades.
Short history lesson (feel free to skip this paragraph)
They used to drop large paperback phone books off for free at everyone’s house annually. They had a section with yellow pages filled with businesses’ phone number and address by subject that included paid ads. There was also a white pages section with phone numbers and addresses alphabetical by business or individual last name. You had to pay the phone company to remove your name from the white pages. Between payment for inclusion in the yellow pages and fees for exclusion in the white pages, old Mama Bell made some bucks.
This book uses the same format. The yellow pages contain little blurbs from real and anonymous people about how books impacted their life. Some books are listed with just a reference number so you can use to listen to the entire message using your phone. You are encouraged to call a phone number and leave your own book story too.
The book encourages a little geocaching (without the cache) by mapping bookish locations too. Puzzles are also included along with lists of independent bookstores by state.
I really enjoyed reading the blurbs and seeing (and hearing) others talk about books that I have enjoyed too. I only had one issue with the book. The eARC I was reading was rather hard to read. I downloaded a Kindle sample and the use of boxes makes it much easier to read. However, I cannot overestimate how much better this book is in print. Spend the extra $8 to get the authors’ intended full effect.
If you love books and/or are looking for a new book to read, the Call Me Ismael Phone Book is a great book to read. It would also make a great gift to a bookish friend. 4.5 stars (but just for the physical book)!
Thanks to Avid Reader Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.