Review: The Smithsonian Book of Books by Michael Olmert

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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The Smithsonian Book of Books by Michael Olmert

Release Date: 1992
Publisher: Smithsonian
Age Group: Adult Non-Fiction
Pages: 320
Source: Borrowed from the Library

Summary ( Through more than 300 glorious illustrations from library collections around the globe, you'll discover a wealth of book lore in these pages and gain a new appreciation for the role of books in human society, from our earliest attempts at writing and recording information to the newest electronic books; from sumptuous illuminated and bejeweled medieval manuscripts to Gutenberg and the invention of movable type; from the diverse arts and crafts of bookmaking to the building of magnificent libraries for housing treasured volumes; from the ancient epic of Gilgamesh to the plays of Shakespeare and the tales of Beatrix Potter; and from the earliest illustrated books to revolutionary science texts.

My Review:

This might be the best book in print today. It is completely fascinating. If you have even the slightest interest in the history of books this is a must read. I think this would have been a great text for my history of the printed book class. It has a chapter on everything from ancient scrolls to the medieval codex, the invention of movable type to modern typography, from bookbinding to paper making, from Shakespeare to Children’s literature, and literally everything in between. Seriously, I cannot praise this book enough! The chapters are extremely informative, but not in a way that overwhelms the reader. Almost every single page has a photo, illustration, or engraving with a background under it. There is just so much in this Book of Books that to fully appreciate it has taken me 3 months. The only reason it didn’t take me longer is that I finally had to give it back to the library or they’d have had to start fining me (I will be buying a copy of this to study as soon as I can)!