Book Review: The Book on the Bookshelf (Petroski, 1999)

The Book on the BookshelfThe Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

[via @trauman] The first half of this book focuses on the co-evolution of the physical/material form of the book (from tablet to scroll to codex) and the way Western culture has fostered access to this form. They evolve in tandem. Really informative. Very clearly written. Should be great resource for my dissertation: shows how objects must evolve in conversation/tandem with their cultural/material contexts. Really expands the notion of what sorts of things might be considered "book technologies."

The second half of the book is also really interesting in that it shows how the architectural design of libraries has been almost entirely dependent on two factors: the value of individual manuscripts housed in the building (pre-printing press / post-printing press) and the availability of suitable reading light (sunlight/candle/incandescent/etc.)

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