Thursday, March 27, 2008

Patience and Fortitude

Basbanes, Nicholas. Patience & Fortitude.
I love books that talk about books, about people who are immersed in books, people who collect books and why. It fascinates me. This book is no different. Mr. Basbanes walks you through the founding of ancient libraries, the role of the ancient church (read the Catholic church in most instances) in the preservation of books, what drives people to collect, iconoclastic book stores and dealers, writers who love and collect (Umberto Eco has 30,00 books!!) and many other subjects. This is not a book that you zip through or at least I couldn't. He deals with people who REALLY collect books. I am not talking about Aunt Mildred who has a basement full of Harlequin Romances and old best sellers. I am talking about people who buy first editions in pristine condition, people who buy incunabula and folios. People who don't have a problem paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for ONE book. That is so not me. I have trouble buying a hardback book unless I can justify in my own mind that it compliments the books I already have and is a book that I think I will read again. Those are few and far between and that is also why you have the library. Just an aside but it is really maddening when you spend money on a book and then you don't like it.

I am not sure what makes someone want to collect books that they can look at, but don't want to touch or use because they are old and rare. That isn't what a book is for in my opinion. A book is to be held and opened and read and devoured. To be savored and sometime to be reopened at a later date when you can sit down and visit with the old friends that you made there. However, there is a place for everyone and without the people who inhabit the pages of this book we wouldn't have the wealth of knowledge and the preservation of books and the research libraries that are available today.

All in all an enjoyable read but it was still work.

1 comment:

  1. You must click on Grantian Florilegium on my blog, then hit "Shelf Life" at the top. George keeps lists of books as well. You might find it interesting.

    Also, just finished "The Other Boleyn Girl". Good, but with a harlequin romance flavor that could have been omitted. Have you seen the movie? Let me know your thoughts. I hate to have a decent book ruined by a movie!


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