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Phantoms on the Bookshelves Hardcover – October 1, 2010
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Jacques Bonnet is a French publisher, translator, and author. For forty years he has been acquiring books, so that, as of the time of writing this slim book, he had a private library of more than forty thousand volumes. It is "a working library, the kind where you don't hesitate to write on your books, or read them in the bath; a library that results from keeping everything you have ever read - including paperbacks and perhaps several editions of the same title - as well as the ones you mean to read one day. A non-specialist library, or rather one specialized in so many areas that it becomes a general one."
Much of the book is devoted to problems of classification and organization. That might sound staggeringly dull, except to those of us who have encountered those sometimes vexing problems and are curious about how others address them - and for the likes of us, Bonnet's discussion is thorough and thoughtful, yet light and witty and anything but dull. The point of organization, of course, is to be able to readily retrieve a specific book when one thinks one needs it.Read more ›
I was enchanted by the subject...people who can count their personal libraries in the tens of thousands and their idiosyncrasies. While I'm only halfway to my first ten thousand, I felt Bonnet was speaking directly to me about book collecting and the whys and wherefores of acquiring a book - you like the cover art, someone recommended it, the book had an interesting title. And the downside, they cost a lot of money are aren't worth much in resale. He especially hit home with the comment that even if the book is terrible, it's hard to get rid of. Once part of the library, always part of the library.
The upside, of course, is the pleasure of knowing the books are there waiting for the right time to be read or re-read or just thumbed through for favorite passages. Then there is the obsession of collecting itself and the hunt through used book shops looking for the one volume you're missing.
There is even a chapter on how to organize your collection and a bibliography of the books from his own collection that he discusses in the book.
A charming book fo anyone who loves books.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an obscure, turgid, esoteric and egotistical tour of the author's journey through the book world. Read morePublished on July 7, 2014 by Salvatore
I confess I never read it
Was afraid the page would tear
But the amount of effort put in to produce the book's staggering
Cynics who know the price of everything... Read more
It's easy to read for an non-English reader.
以輕鬆的方式把許多愛書人的模糊地帶做出說明，包括收集書的方式，擺書的方式，有趣的一本談書的書！good one, easy to read and fun. Good ! Good! Good! Funny!
got it to get different angles on what are books and the history and how the library plays it role in societyPublished on July 26, 2013 by Randi Holtz
I gave this book to a friend as a holiday gift. She liked it but I have not had the pleasure.Published on February 9, 2013 by Modemjunkie
I enjoyed reading about other people who build large libraries, since I read it on my Kindle I now need to buy a physical copy :)Published on February 7, 2013 by Mary M Mantlo