Have you ever mourned the destruction of the Library of Alexandria and the innumerable manuscripts that perished when it burned? Do you dream of owning a first edition of The Great Gatsby, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, or The Sun Also Rises to cradle in your arms and admire on your shelf? Have you gleaned wisdom from an old copy of Fahrenheit 451 that you never returned to your high school library? Do you sometimes, just for a second, regret the introduction of the internet and e-mail? German author Burkhard Spinnen revisits these moments of bibliophilia mixed with anguish through a personal and historical journey of the books we encounter and the places we meet them. With anecdotes of serendipitously finding vintage copies of literary classics and bemoaning the loaned book you’ll never get back, Spinnen reminds us that even if the eBook has made reading during a commute easier, it will never bring us as much pride as a well-stocked shelf. Or recover the smell of ink on paper, or the pleasure of good margins and letter-spaced capitals. For those wanting to keep their hard copies close and chat with friends about the joy books have brought into their lives, The Book offers up a kindred spirit. There’s a hole in the heart of humanity that only books like The Book can fill. This condensed history of the printed word along with the dashing and mildly provocative line-cut illustrations of Line Hoven will embolden you to speak out and ensure its future.
Mr. Spinnen mounts a spirited defense of books in the wake of digitization.
—Wall Street Journal
For Spinnen, a book is not words on a screen. Rather, it is tactile pleasure engaging sight and touch; an insignia of distinction in the bookshelf; a treasure sought in libraries and bookstores; a marker for a stage in life, proof of connection with the sentient world, and a talisman for the future.
—Mike Hare, The Northshire Bookstore
40 charmingly personal mini-essays on such topics as “the favorite book,” “the stolen book” and “the annotated book.”
—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post