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.
posted by Nick Senger at 1:51 PM