The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time by Keith Houston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Keith Houston doesn’t skip the details in his exploration of the history of the physical book as we know it today. He covers it all. In reading it, you will discover how we came to have the paper we use; the texts and ink; the illustrations; and the shape and sizes that are both common and not.
The book itself, as you read, is a lesson as well. Every introduction of a new element is clearly labeled, and he dives into murky waters to find where each one begins. Sometimes there are no clear answers. Sometimes there seem to be, but wait…not so fast! He points out where seemingly settled matters veer off into myth. Facts may be hard to nail down, but the stories are entertaining.
My only complaint was that so much space was given to processes that I sometimes became lost. I do not fault Houston for this, I have always had problems following formulas and directions. My knowledge of engineering is quite shallow. But I enjoyed it all the same and recommend it to anyone who cares deeply about books.