A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Love of Books
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On the fiction side I have enjoyed the Cliff Janeway series by John Dunning. I love mysteries and when you add books to a good mystery it is almost complete...the missing ingredients for completion being coffee and chocolate but those can be added by the reader :-)
Even if you just read Basbanes' books, you won't be disappointed!. I especially enjoyed A Splendor of Letters. It's about a culture's libraries and their fragile existence.
A Gentle Madness I read quite a while ago and loved it; just recently I read Every Book It's Reader (no Touchstone?) by Basbanes--it has a great chapter on marginalia and I took it to heart. I made notes all through this book and will read it again.
I didn't like A pound of paper that much - sorry 666777 and utah, but Sixpence house is a good read. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Biblioholism by Tom Raabe is quite funny but also a mirror for the more addicted ones among us
- a brilliant book about a single book and its meaning throughout science and history is The book nobody read by Owen Gingerich. Although I'm not into mathematics or other scientific stuff, this was a great read: combining a passion for books with history, suspense, the world of second hand book selling, international politics...
- I don't know if it's available in English, but the German philosopher Walter Benjamin wrote a beautiful little essay about his library while he is unpacking it, and he writes about his thoughts on collecting books, the meaning of books, etc. Very quotable little story! The french title is Je déballe ma bibliothèque.
- A superb book about collecting books, but for an entirely different reason, is Aaron Lansky's Outwitting history, in which he describes his quest for saving all (and I mean literally ALL) Yiddish books in America and in the rest of the world. Yiddish as a language was about to disappear and Yiddish literature was being thrown away because nobody could read it anymore. Lansky describes how he and his coworkers managed to save millions of books. Especially intruiging is the story about the Yiddish language book of which miraculously one volume exists (because the Nazi's burned the rest, but forgot to burn one book), which Lansky has.
- those of you who enjoy reading about hunting down books in bookstores and garage sales, you will enjoy the books by Lawrence Goldstone and Nancy Goldstone, for instance: Used and rare or Slightly chipped. The goldstones tell about their buying of books, meeting booksellers and other bibliophiles, etc.
Thank you - looking forward to enjoying this. I'm always interested in seeing other peoples libraries. (By the way, if you haven't seen the photos of Neil Gaiman's library that were posted on Shelfari, take a peek.)
I'm green with envy of Basbanes. Not necessarily the books, not everything is of interest to me (like the plays), but to have a house-wide library like that, and such an interesting collection. Someday I hope to have something like that. Looking forward to his book about the history of paper. Anyone know when it might be released?
I was not too crazy about ebooks either, until I found the amazing wealth of obscure and out of print stuff available for free on Internet Archive. (See my "collection" of online texts.) Now I am quite enthusiastic about them.
for all things Nick
It is worth trying.