Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The Book on the Bookshelf
Mark recommended this book to me a while back and I finally got around to reading it. It's a history of the bookshelf which isn't near as nerdy as it sounds. As a matter of fact, for someone who loves books as much as I do, it should be considered a required reading.
Petroski is an engineer who has written books on other "exciting" topics like bridges and pencils. The man knows how to research and he does a great job looking at the evolution of the storage of books and how storage is influenced by the end users, printing methodologies, and engineering. Petroski cites his book well and includes a multitude of illustrations, including many from hundreds of years ago. It is fascinating to see how books were used and stored over the years.
I found the early part of the book to be much more interesting than the latter, I guess in part because book usage was so much different pre-printing press and even into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Once the book hits modern day, I wasn't as captivated, which is why I'm giving the book one star.
Petroski concludes his book with an amusing little appendix that details 25 different ways to sort one's library on shelves.
If you love books, definitely read this book. But even if you have a passing interest, it's worth picking up.