Welcome to my blog for the final stop on the blog tour for #ALibraryMiscellaney by Clare Cock-Starkey.
I have been a fan of libraries for longer than I care to remember. I visit my local one in Wimborne most weekends and normally have a book or two to collect or drop back and always look at the shelves to see if there is anything that catches my eye.
This is not the only library in Wimborne though, the other is one of England’s very first public libraries, second only to Chetham. It is located in the beautiful 12th Century Minister at the top of a spiral staircase in the room that in the reformation housed the treasury; now it’s treasure lies on the pages. First opened in 1686, the oldest book in the collection dates back to 1343 and explains how to avoid spiritual pitfalls. The 150 books in the library were open to all, but the major donor, Roger Gillingham, wanted them to be available to the ‘better class of person in the town’. The books in the collection were seen as so valuable at the time that he insisted that they were chained up. It is the second largest chained library in the country. You can still visit it and there are more details on the website here: http://www.wimborneminster.org.uk/110/chained-library.html
Clare’s book is a little book full of gems of information and details about libraries from around the world.
But before my review here is an extract kindly provided by Clare.
I have been a fan of libraries for longer than I care to remember. I visit my local one in most weekends and normally have a book or two to collect or drop back and always look at the shelves to see if there is anything that catches my eye.
This sister volume to The Book Lovers’ Miscellany picks up the same baton as that book. It is one that will have you retiring to the closest comfortable chair to uncover the delights and secrets of the libraries of the world. In here we will learn who was the first librarian, which library in the UK loans the most books each year and just what a legal deposit library is. There is a potted history of the library from the earliest over 2500 years ago to the most recent digital libraries. There are the rules of some of the world’s most famous libraries where you can discover which one states that you cannot carry a gun in (!!!)
It is shocking I know, but there are libraries out there that don’t contain books, however, they do contain a variety of other objects from seeds to smells, art and there is even a library of magic. We learn who wanted the library stock for themselves and were caught stealing the maps and books from some of the most famous libraries in the world, and those who have borrowed the books then forgot to bring them back for quite a while. I’m quite excited by the Future Library that Katie Peterson has created, she is collecting 100 books by 100 different authors and these will not be published until 2114.
There is some overlap between this book and The Book Lovers’ Miscellany, but this is still a cornucopia of snippets, facts and figures about libraries that bibliophiles will treasure.
There’s more. Clare was kind enough to send me a copy of the Book Lovers Miscellany too.
In case you haven’t worked it out yet, I love books. I even like reading books about books too, and when I was given an opportunity to read The Book Lovers’ Miscellany I jumped at the chance. This small volume is packed to the covers with details and facts and stories about books, authors and significant events from the world of literature.
If you want a list of publishers who declined the books that went onto break all the sales records, which parts of animals have graced the pages and the what the largest and smallest books ever made were about and the texts that have been translated the most, then this is a really good place to start. You can find out who are the youngest authors, who are the most prolific and who left unfinished manuscripts, as well as finding out what the colours of the original Penguin paperbacks were for. Not sure what colophon and incunabule mean? The answers are in here as well as finding out what books other than science fiction contains wormholes.
This is a delightfully written and produced book that is a treasure trove of information. Perfect for anyone who has the slightest interest in books, authors and reading, it is short so will take almost no time to read spend a few moments to learn a new fact every time you open it.
You can find Clare on the web here: www.nonfictioness.com
On Twitter Here @nonfictioness
If you want to go and hear her speak about both books she will be at the Oxford Literary Festival on March 20th at 12pm:
Buy the book at your local bookshop; that way you will support the author, the bookseller and the publisher with one purchase. Thank you for stopping by.