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.

Now we are six

Now we are six

As we approach the 6th birthday of WritingRedux, I've cast my mind back to the year I turned six and the books I was given and reading at that time.  We had several Christopher Robin books at home and so Now We Are Six was a permanent presence. In addition, in 1970,...

The Magic Ink-Pot

The Magic Ink-Pot

Always on the hunt for treasures among forgotten children's books, I came across this one by chance when I was rather looking at glorious buildings and libraries stashed around the National Trust.  It seems The Magic Ink-Pot was born out of a mother writing...

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...

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

Jane Austen – Pride & Prejudice

The Magic Ink-Pot

Always on the hunt for treasures among forgotten children's books, I came across this one by chance when I was rather looking at glorious buildings and libraries stashed around the...

How to speak to an editor

Clearly, authors are simply too humble in approaching editors. This is how it should be done, straight to the point and don’t forget to pay me. In this story, the...

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...

A wilderness of books

This vast languishing resource was first brought home to me in Erik Reinert's How Rich Countries Got Rich ... and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor, which highlighted a lemming-level of...

Culling of books …

I sometimes feel like this when we go to the flea market in Geneva and survey a lifetime's worth of books chucked into banana boxes by the house clearance company...

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...

Books hidden, books found

Armenians seemed to be particularly adept at averting bibliocide.  Some cultures, threatened with bibliocide, committed books to memory. The Armenians, apparently successfully committed to memory the whereabouts of hidden books and...

Fuel for the body or mind?

Book burning, or bibliocide, is usually something we associate with ideologues, political or religious, fearful of the free flow of ideas.  Here it is a bibliophile scholar who burns them...

Department of Exceptions

‘All good publishers have a department of exceptions.’

Perhaps any institution worth its salt should have a department of exceptions: schools admissions offices, human resources departments, government ministries.

Trouble is,...

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...

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...

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