Ian Sansom has the dubious honour of being the most oft-mentioned author in these book reviews. First, Paper: An Elegy featured in The Travelling Bookbinder’s Five Best Reads, then his Mobile Library series was heartily recommended. Now I bring you a book review of Reading Room: A Year of Literary Curiosities.
The idea of spending one’s days in a library, particularly one as august as the British Library, is dreamy heaven for a book lover. (If you’re a publisher, you need to give a copy of every UK publication you make to the collection. That’s a lot of books. This system is called ‘legal deposit’ which has been a part of English law since 1662.)
So, over the course of decades, Ian Sansom, as author, broadcaster, journalist, has made numerous notes about what he has read, mostly in libraries, the ‘passages and ideas that caught’ his attention. Reading Room is a selection of 365 of them. He is clearly widely and well read, on an eclectic range of subjects. From making snow (1653) to Muriel Spark’s Momento Mori (1959) and the pleasures of travel in the 1995 translation of The Principle of Hope by Ernst Bloch.
Dip in and out at your leisure, and discover the length and breadth of your interests too. Anyone else going to start keeping a record of useful quotes and excerpts?
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