The Book on the Bookshelf

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 1, 2010 - Literary Criticism - 304 pages
From the author of the highly praised The Pencil and The Evolution of Useful Things comes another captivating history of the seemingly mundane: the book and its storage.

Most of us take for granted that our books are vertical on our shelves with the spines facing out, but Henry Petroski, inveterately curious engineer, didn't.  As a result, readers are guided along the astonishing evolution from papyrus scrolls boxed at Alexandria to upright books shelved at the Library of Congress. Unimpeachably researched, enviably written, and charmed with anecdotes from Seneca to Samuel Pepys to a nineteenth-century bibliophile who had to climb over his books to get into bed, The Book on the Bookshelf is indispensable for anyone who loves books.

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User Review  - Mapguy314 -

I especially liked the appendix "Order, Order", because I, and I am sure everyone else here, have encountered every one of the problems of ordering the books on the shelves. I think he omitted the de facto most popular method - wherever I can wedge it in. Read full review

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User Review  - m.belljackson -

Erudite and meticulously researched, The Book on the Bookshelf is also ungodly repetitive and so, often boring. I read carefully through opening chapters, got captivated by St. Jerome, then read ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Henry Petroski is the Alexander S.Vesic Professor of Engineering and Professor of History at Duke University, where he also serves as chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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