Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review: Books: A Living History by Martyn Lyons

Synopsis: From the first scribbling on papyrus to the emergence of the e-book, this wide-ranging overview of the history of the book provides a fascinating look at one of the most efficient, versatile, and enduring technologies ever developed. The author traces the evolution of the book from the rarefied world of the hand-copied and illuminated volume in ancient and medieval times, through the revolutionary impact of Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, to the rise of a publishing culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the subsequent impact of new technologies on this culture.
Many of the great individual titles of the past two millennia are discussed as well as the range of book types and formats that have emerged in the last few hundred years, from serial and dime novels to paperbacks, children’s books, and Japanese manga. The volume ends with a discussion of the digital revolution in book production and distribution and the ramifications for book lovers, who can’t help but wonder whether the book will thrive—or even survive—in a form they recognize. (from the online description)
Review: Marvelous, marvelous book! With deft prose and well-chosen pictures, Lyons goes through the history of the printed word. Starting with wedge marks on clay and going up to the digital Kindle, he sweeps the reader through the torrid history of books and reading. Divided into 5 sections, with smaller subheadings, this is a easy, fast, interesting read. It's on overview, not a comprehensive work, so it will leave you with the urge to go find out more about lots of people, places, event and ideas. Just my sort of book. Anyone who is a bibliophile will enjoy this wonderful volume.
Bookmarks: 8 of 10
Awards: None
ISBN: 78-1-60606-083-4
Date Finished: 2-22-2014
Pages: 224

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