Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Papyrus, the invention of books in the ancient world - Irene Vallejo

This gem is a book about…books. The history of books, from a physical and literary point of view. From when the ancient oral stories were first fixed on tablets to the invention of papyrus (hence the title) and parchment, the advent of paper and the current day digital era. From manually copied texts to the printing press revolution.

It reminds us of the miraculous sequence of events that has brought to our shelves the few ancient texts that have managed to survive, and of the vast quantity of works that went lost in the process. It tells the story of libraries - the Alexandria one being the obvious superstar - and of reading styles. You’ll find out for example that silence reading is surprisingly a relatively new trend. It is a beautiful work of academic research and a personal story as well. That of a girl who was mocked by his classmates because she was too…bookish, and managed to become a prominent and famous historian and philologist. If you love books you must like this one.

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