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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

Welcome to my own personal exploration of life through reading the great books of the world.

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Location: Spokane, Washington, United States

"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Book Review: The Book on the Bookshelf

The ordinary is always more fascinating than we think. Chesterton knew this, and Henry Petroski knows it. Petroski's The Book on the Bookshelf traces the development of the bookshelf as a reflection of the changing nature of books, and in the process he reminds us that nothing is too ordinary to be written about.

The book is part history, part personal reflection and part social science. From descriptions of medieval libraries to debates about where to place bookshelves in a library, Petroski writes in an engaging and warm style, peppering his book with illustrations, photographs and maps.

I especially enjoyed the appendix, in which Petroski lists the many ways people organize their home libraries. They range from the obvious (author's last name) to the interesting (by color) to the just plain bizarre (by opening sentence!).

The book is well worth reading, both for bibliophiles and for those who enjoy insights into the seemingly ordinary foundations of daily life.

1999, Knopf

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posted by Nick Senger at 1:51 PM

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