The Book on the Bookshelf
He has been called "the poet laureate of technology" and a writer who is "erudite, witty, thoughtful, and accessible." Now Henry Petroski turns to the subject of books and bookshelves, and wonders whether it was inevitable that books would come to be arranged vertically as they are today on... show more
He has been called "the poet laureate of technology" and a writer who is "erudite, witty, thoughtful, and accessible." Now Henry Petroski turns to the subject of books and bookshelves, and wonders whether it was inevitable that books would come to be arranged vertically as they are today on horizontal shelves. As we learn how the ancient scroll became the codex became the volume we are used to, we explore the ways in which the housing of books evolved. Petroski takes us into the pre-Gutenberg world, where books were so scarce they were chained to lecterns for security. He explains how the printing press not only changes the way books were made and shelved, but also increased their availability and transformed book readers into books owners and collectors. He shows us that for a time books were shelved with their spines in, and it was not until after the arrival of the modern bookcase that she spines faced out.In delightful digressions, Petroski lets Seneca have his say on "the evils of book collecting"; examines the famed collection of Samuel Pepys (only three thousand titles: old discarded to make room for new); and discusses bookselling, book buying, and book collecting through the centuries.Richly illustrated and wonderfully written, this is the ultimate book on the book: how it came to be and how we have come to keep it.
Publish date: September 14th 1999
Pages no: 290
Edition language: English
, Books About Books
competent rather than stunning, inclusive rather than unified, -- and written, most probably, under the simple rubric, 'a book about books has to get some readers, engineer Henry Petroski can write, but doesn't stun or immediately derive a rabid following. much of the book is concerned with bookshel...
This is a history of bookshelves, and how people have been organizing books since the time we had books as scrolls. His main argument is that the book shelf evolved as people needed better ways to store and arrange books; it came forth out of necessity. The idea is an intriguing one, and there is a ...
If I hadn't worked in a university library for 4 years, I might have found the book a bit more enjoyable; as such, I would not recommend this book to biblioholics, as you probably well versed in bibliohistory already.
Realized my inner-book-nerd while reading this. This is not so much about what's in the book, more about how the book is constructed, shelved and shared. Despite savoring every page (and rereading the occasional chapter), still feel the need to reread. Totally not what I expected.
This book has been sitting -- where else? -- on my bookshelf for a couple years, and I've just cracked it open in the past week. It's a very enjoyable walk through the development of furniture that houses books (and papyri, etc. in ages past). In fact, it made me want to create an installation of a ...