See more of the story

I'll never stop wondering how James Patterson supposedly cranks out so many books (he has nine more scheduled for this year). But at least I can see how the prolific wordsmith worked "The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians," co-written with Matt Eversmann, into the mix: He didn't write much of it.

I'm not making any nefarious claims. Plenty of legwork and decision-making was required but "Secret Lives" consists almost entirely of three- or four-page interviews with people who sell and lend books. A few are famous — Judy Blume sneaks in because she owns a bookstore in Key West — but most are the anonymous clerks and librarians who respond when we ask, "Do you have that book about that one thing?" (One shocker: None of these people are from our bibliophile state.)

Again and again, these bookish people find fresh ways to talk about what they love, which is matching people with the right books. They also talk about how they read (one book at a time? several?), who helped them fall in love with reading, why books are vital (still) and their favorite events that occurred in stores and libraries.

I suspect any book lover will find something to relate to in "Secret Lives," in which Seattle librarian Lillian Dabney speaks for all of us: "I could talk about books forever."

The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians

By: James Patterson and Matt Eversmann.

Publisher: Little Brown, 320 pages, $28.