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The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time Hardcover – August 23, 2016
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“A lovingly designed and illustrated deep history of the book.”
- John Williams, New York Times
“Mr. Houston savors evocative detail. . . . As befits its subject, The Book is pleasingly designed―with an offbeat self-consciousness about its sturdy appearance―and Mr. Houston’s unapologetic nerdiness is matched by a jaunty style. . . . Mr. Houston is an eager, affable guide, and his detailed history is a welcome reminder that this ‘unrepentantly analog contraption’ is one of the truly great pieces of technology.”
- Henry Hitchings, Wall Street Journal
“A love letter to the physical book, this is a fascinating and erudite telling of how it came into being. . . . Hugely enlightening.”
- Tory Lyne-Pirkis, The Yorkshire Post
“Keith Houston's deft history of the object wraps entire civilizations into the telling, propelling us through the evolution of writing, printing, binding and illustration with gusto.”
- Barbara Kiser, books and arts editor of Nature magazine
“If you love books, love the feel of a book in your hands, the heft and smell, the swish of a turned page and the satisfying thump of the cover -- and you must or you wouldn't be reading this -- have I got the book for you. . . . The bookiest of books. . . . Houston. . . writes with zest. He's an enthusiast if not an obsessive, with a voracious appetite for details, from the daily grind in a medieval scriptorium to the intricate workings of a modern offset press. . . . The Book is nothing if not user-friendly.”
- Bill Marvel, Dallas Morning News
“Invitingly tactile. . . . Sure to delight book lovers of all stripes with its lush, full-color illustrations, THE BOOK gives us the momentous and surprising history behind humanity’s most important―and universal―information technology.”
- Book Reporter
“Erudite, playful, and illuminating. . . . Houston is both witty and intensely detailed, thus appealing both to general readers and to bibliophiles who will wish to know the specifics of making papyrus, of stitching together pages, and of learning how we arrived at today's paper sizes. . . . A splendid, challenging mixture of information and fun.”
- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Houston’s fixation with this object is a delight, and his understanding of how history is written and his clear delineation between speculation and established fact are very refreshing.”
- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This engaging volume should satisfy a wide cross-section of book lovers, history buffs, and those interested in the dynamic relationship among language, the written word, and human ingenuity.”
- Rebecca Brody, Library Journal
“[A] masterful and overwhelmingly entertaining volume, both an homage to the book and one itself to be cherished by readers everywhere.”
- Clea Simon, The Boston Globe
About the Author
Keith Houston is the author of Shady Characters and the founder of shadycharacters.co.uk. He lives in London.
Top customer reviews
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Mr. Houston is a fastidious and entertaining writer, and this book is meticulously well written. I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from beginning to end. I learned so much, and will carry that knowledge with me into the future.
I very enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of our most important technology.
Most recent customer reviews
Keith Houston takes you through the history of each element of the book: paper,...Read more
So why the four stars and not five? Content warrants a five.Read more