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The Library Book

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It then went into the impact on the Printing Press / Guttenberg and how that exploded the number of books and divide between Printed and transcribed. Interesting stories of how some of the early public collections were from private gifts at death and/or private collection used to pay off debt at death. I thought one of the key thoughts (and I'll butcher the exact quote) was that "no matter how Passionate the Collector, the collection/library was a mere burden to its recipients upon his passing". (This makes me thing of all the things I collect, books, sports memorabilia, etc that will probably just end up in the trash.) The book also covers the oft prophesized decline of books and libraries (yes its supposed decline was stated long before the advent of the modern technological era), with some very up to date information all the way up to our global epidemic and its effects on both reading and libraries. This advance of the tech age is possibly the most thought provoking portion of the book as it effects us as readers today, and this book provides plenty of insight. "More fundamentally, are books just too slow for the modern world, where our mindscape is dominated by a smart phone?" "The internet, it is true, is the perfect tool for an impatient age, we love the convenience of same day delivery, but we complain more and more of the stress of the relentless pace of life. Libraries and books encourage reflective thought. We cannot delegate the whole burden of returning balance to our lives to classes and therapeutic groups. A book creates a mindfulness class of one." They each set out to prove that the library isn't just about books – it's the heart of their community.

Two people - Tom is a lonely teenager. Maggie is in her 70s and lonely as well. What brings them together? A library! In 2010 I published an award-winning study of The Book in the Renaissance, and in 2014 The Invention of News: a study of the birth of a commercial culture of news publication in the four centuries between 1400 and 1800. I return to the Reformation for a study of Luther’s media strategy, published in 2015 by Penguin as Brand Luther, 1517, Printing and the Making of the Reformation. I am now engaged in a study of the book world of the seventeenth century Dutch Republic, to be published in 2019 as Trading Books in the Age of Rembrandt.If you are reading this review you are probably a bit of a book addict, as am I. I will always reach for a book that is about a bookstore or library, takes place in one or is somehow connected to books! The titular library does have an important role to play in the book but it is not the central focus point of the book. Instead, the story focusses more on the personal lives of Tom and Maggie, and even the people in the village where they all reside. I think the title creates different sort of expectations in your head, and when the book doesn’t match up to them, you feel let down, even though the book does its job pretty well. I must say, I loved all the book references scattered throughout the story. (Thankfully, I’ve read most of them and have the rest in my TBR. Else, this book would have made a big dent in my reading plans!)

When Tom phones Maggie in a panic one night, she does not hesitate to come to his aid, and their relationship enters a new phase. But Maggie has not been entirely honest about her past, a past that Tom’s continued presence has her reaching out for, with unfortunate consequences. The library is a fascinating account the history of libraries and books through the ages. The chapters span from the ancient library of Alexandria to libraries in this day and age. The writing of the library is pretty accessible but it is clearly a scholarly read. The amount of research the authors put in write this book is evident throughout book and manifests itself in an impressive number of references (many of which seem worthy to read on their own).The Library isn't so much about the efforts to save the local library as a touching story of an unlikely friendship. It's a heartwarming and uplifting read that left me with a smile on my face and needing to read more from this author. Tom Harris lives with his father Paul, he’s only sixteen and he has the weight of the world on his young shoulders. His mum passed away when he was eight, his dad works nights, and Tom's left home alone. He has a crush on Farah Shah at school, he blushes every time he sees her, and loses the ability to speak. He hasn’t a clue about girls, he starts borrowing romance novels from the local library, and to get some ideas on how to be less awkward around girls. Here he meets Maggie Mann, she’s seventy two, a widow and Tom comes to her rescue. The educated and affluent part of our community takes it for granted that public funding of the arts and the facilitation of recreational reading is part of the core functions of government. But the public library – in the sense of a funded collection available free to anyone who wants to use it – has only existed since the mid nineteenth century, a mere fraction of the history of the library as a whole. If there is one lesson from the centuries-long story of the library, it is that libraries only last as long as people find them useful.”

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