Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Book of Lost Books by Stuart Kelly

I pretty much knew that I had to read this book when I saw this because... it’s a book about books!

Like the title says, this book introduces you to various lost books that you definitely can’t find in bookstores. The book defines a lost book as:

1. A book that existed at one point in time but is now lost

2. Books that never got written because the author died before he could start/finish them

Since none of these books exist, the chapters are almost mini author biographies, since information about these books are found in the author’s lives and correspondence. Sometimes the biography part overshadows the part about what the book probably was, especially in the middle chapters.

I am not familiar with all the authors here, but from looking at the topics that I do know a little about, it seems like the author can sometimes present a one-sided picture. A nuanced, debatable issue becomes over-simplified. This is probably because each chapter is only a couple of pages long, but it might be useful to use the information here as a starting point for more investigation rather than as the ending conclusion.

Overall, I thought this was a fun book. I don’t know if the world is worse-off because all these books are lost (there is almost one case where it’s better the book remained lost), but there are so many books to read that I probably won’t lose sleep over the books mentioned here.

1 comment :

  1. I think this would be such an interesting read! To think of all those books lost. And what of all those books never written because people didn't think they could do it? We'll never know about those, will we?


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