Sunday, January 23, 2011

Books read in 2011: No. 5 - The Enemies of Books

The Enemies of Booksby William Blades

Started: January 22
Finished: January 25

Notes: This short book was originally published in 1881, though the e-book version I'm reading is a second, expanded edition from 1888. I first heard about this book through a post on the Making Light blog, and it drew my attention as something worth reading. Having already flipped through the table of contents and part of the first chapter, this book entails the history (up to 1881) of book destruction of the centuries. The author has broken his chapters down into different ways that books have been destroyed, such as by fire, by water, by ignorance, by carelessness, etc. And yes, this was another freebie available for the Kindle.

Mini review: Quite interesting, but not required reading except for the extreme book collector. There's not so much history here as there are letters and other personal correspondences with the author about various recent (as of 1881) events that included the damaging or destruction of books, though there are some historical events and personages mentioned. The author is a fair writer himself, though not a great writer. From the text I could tell there were meant to be at least a few drawings to go along with the text, but as with many digital reprints of older books, the drawings were not available; still, it didn't seem there were to be many illustrations, and I didn't feel I missed anything.


Charles Gramlich said...

An interesting approach to a kind of history. I wouldn't have thought of that.

Ty Johnston said...

Charles, that's pretty much what I thought, which is why I was drawn to this one.