Thoughts and experiences of those tactile, lasting, beautiful, timeless objects called ‘books’, including their ownership, production, sale, theft and loss. See also our sister page on book design and illustration, here.

Second hand books

Second hand books

Virginia Woolf's comment on second hand books is for all those of you who love the look and feel of them, the randomness and surprise of finding them in old boxes, or lined up in a charming bookshop. I hope that, like me, you also enjoy second guessing the history of...

Shelebrate with a shelfie

Shelebrate with a shelfie

With a nod to the British Library which introduced me to the idea of the 'shelfie', a photo featuring a shelf's worth of books, here is one to celebrate the 5th anniversary of WritingRedux. It features most of the books I've celebrated on WritingRedux over the last...

My publisher, falsely so called…

My publisher, falsely so called…

Listening time: under 3 minutes. I loved this drawn out account of Thoreau's dealings with a publisher wanting to clear out his cellar of Thoreau's unsold books, which Thoreau had in any case had to pay for.  So he gets them sent to his house, schleps them up several...

A capacious book thief

A capacious book thief

Steinbeck and Robert Capa spent a month in the Soviet Union. It took some time for Steinbeck to cotton on to the fact that his travelling companion was a closet biblioklept. I love the blithe insistence of innocence in Capa, even when caught book-handed, with that...

‘Do you prefer reading to cards?’ said he; ‘that is rather singular’.

Jane Austen – Pride & Prejudice

On the culling of books

I have long put off writing this post because I have an aversion to it.  A while back I bought a second hand book by Italo Calvino, Six Memos for...

Tales from Australia and Oceania

This book cover and related illustrations are from a wonderful old French series of tales and stories from around the world.  I keep finding them at the flea market and...

Book as mirror I

A great riposte, of course, and true to a large extent.  Having dismissed a book, it sometimes happens that I come back to it later, even decades later, and wonder...

A capacious book thief

Steinbeck and Robert Capa spent a month in the Soviet Union. It took some time for Steinbeck to cotton on to the fact that his travelling companion was a closet...

Book as mirror II

One of the most reassuring and surprising insights I found in reading Harold Bloom's literary criticism, was the realization that he wrote for a hidden audience of 'great readers' engaged...

Shelebrate with a shelfie

With a nod to the British Library which introduced me to the idea of the 'shelfie', a photo featuring a shelf's worth of books, here is one to celebrate the...

Rules and readers

Many of us have been in situations where vague ‘conventions’ are cited, the unwritten rules governing this or that realm. Sometimes I have sensed that ‘convention’ was a fig-leaf for...

Second hand books

Virginia Woolf's comment on second hand books is for all those of you who love the look and feel of them, the randomness and surprise of finding them in old...

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