Well, to start at the start. This does not mention Oriental writing (worth looking at that in Michael Woods “In Search of the First Civilizations”) much but starts with clay tablets in the Middle East. Handy things – leave them to dry or even burn them and they only get tougher. As I type, I begin to wonder what the specs were for those shelves. This is covered in “Libraries in the Ancient World” by Lionel Casson and runs through papyrus in Egypt (why did they have to build the Library of Alexandria in a marsh for petes sake?) and on through the Romans take on writing and its storage. The evolution to the codex and on to the book. Did you know Guttenburg was sued by his partner and kicked out of the business? Didn’t get a cent from the publication. They already had printing with woodcuts but one of the most tricky bits they encountered was getting ink to stick to metal type.
You can carry on with the theme from reading “The Book on the Bookshelf” by Henry Petroski. To the near present with “Bookbinding and the care of Books” by Douglas Cockrell. In the present there are many books on books and shelves – I liked ” At home with Books” for its sections on shelves in the home. As for books – Millers “book Collecting” and “Discovering Book collecting” by John Chidley are a good start. I do miss the “Book and Magazene Collector” monthly, but am still picking up back issues. For the joy of books and the joy of knowing you are not alone in collecting – “A Book Addict’s Treasury” by Julie Rugg and Lynda Murphy and “Adventures of a Book Collector” by Philip Murray do hit the spot. Take your time – have them finished by the end of the week. I could of course type so much more – but they say it so much better than me. Echos of thunder are not the same.
Next post should be on Timber. Perhaps with pictures.