Even before we launched our reading theme, I saw this book being shared by a bookseller friend of mine on Facebook and was rightly intrigued. As a self-confessed book addict, I love reading books about books, hence our current reading theme.
While I have, unfortunately, not been able to read this pretty thick tome of a book (I had to return it to the library), let me just share bits and pieces which I found particularly interesting.
The book is made up of four parts – beginning with Part One: “The Page” whereby the author traced the book’s history from the papyrus to its eventual paper trail when it has gone global.
Part Two explores “The Text” from the prints to the invention of movable type printing presses, as well as how the Industrial revolution affected typesetting.
To think how people used to physically copy books on blank pages or parchments because reproducing and distributing books were just way too costly and prohibitive. Compare that to the present time when books are now being sold in “vendo book machines” and the many permutations a story can now take with the internet and fan fiction and Wattpad. And we’re not even talking about e-books here.
Part Three looks at “Illustrations” with the rise of the illuminated manuscript. I love how they were referred to earlier as “illuminated” texts rather than illustrated books:
Part Four explores the book’s “Form” with the invention of the codex and binding the paged book, and finally ending with the invention of the modern book.
I have a feeling that this is a must-read not just for avid bibliophiles such as myself but for those who have also made it their life’s work to be part of the book industry, breathing life to stories. This is a beautifully printed and looks-like-a-well-researched material on the story behind what is ostensibly the “most powerful object of our time: the book.”