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The Book on the Bookshelf
(Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read)

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Average Rating
Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2010
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description
From the author of the highly praised The Pencil and The Evolution of Useful Things comes another captivating history of the seemingly mundane: the book and its storage.
Most of us take for granted that our books are vertical on our shelves with the spines facing out, but Henry Petroski, inveterately curious engineer, didn't.  As a result, readers are guided along the astonishing evolution from papyrus scrolls boxed at Alexandria to upright books shelved at the Library of Congress. Unimpeachably researched, enviably written, and charmed with anecdotes from Seneca to Samuel Pepys to a nineteenth-century bibliophile who had to climb over his books to get into bed, The Book on the Bookshelf is indispensable for anyone who loves books.
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More Details
Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
12/01/2010
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307773289
ASIN:
B004CFAWRA
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Henry Petroski. (2010). The Book on the Bookshelf. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Henry Petroski. 2010. The Book On the Bookshelf. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Henry Petroski, The Book On the Bookshelf. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Henry Petroski. The Book On the Bookshelf. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2010.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
Copy Details
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Shared Digital Collection11
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Grouped Work ID:
31875fc5-73f7-ab06-d538-de1cbede3cc7
Go To Grouped Work
Needs Update?:
No
Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:38:15
Date Updated:
Jun 12, 2018 16:38:15
Last Metadata Check:
Feb 25, 2024 07:56:51
Last Metadata Change:
Jan 22, 2024 17:27:43
Last Availability Check:
Feb 25, 2024 07:56:54
Last Availability Change:
Jan 18, 2024 10:21:28
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Feb 27, 2024 02:25:04

OverDrive Product Record

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      • value: best book club reads
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      • value: book club best sellers 2020
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      • value: book club favorites 2019
      • value: book club reading lists
      • value: book club recommendations 2015
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      • fileAs: Petroski, Henry
      • bioText: Henry Petroski is the Alexander S.Vesic Professor of Engineering and Professor of History at Duke University, where he also serves as chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
      • name: Henry Petroski
imprint
Vintage
publishDate
2010-12-01T00:00:00-05:00
isOwnedByCollections
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title
The Book on the Bookshelf
fullDescription
From the author of the highly praised The Pencil and The Evolution of Useful Things comes another captivating history of the seemingly mundane: the book and its storage.
Most of us take for granted that our books are vertical on our shelves with the spines facing out, but Henry Petroski, inveterately curious engineer, didn't.  As a result, readers are guided along the astonishing evolution from papyrus scrolls boxed at Alexandria to upright books shelved at the Library of Congress. Unimpeachably researched, enviably written, and charmed with anecdotes from Seneca to Samuel Pepys to a nineteenth-century bibliophile who had to climb over his books to get into bed, The Book on the Bookshelf is indispensable for anyone who loves books.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times Book Review
      • content:

        "For anyone interested in the craft of reading, [this book] is a compulsive necessity."

      • premium: False
      • source: Civilization
      • content: "A fascinating history of two related common objects, impeccably documented and beautifully illustrated."
      • premium: False
      • source: Seattle Times
      • content: "After reading this book, you will not look at a book or a bookshelf in the same way."
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal
      • content: "If 'God is in the details,' then those seeking God should read Petroski's books."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 30, 1999
        That bookshelves might harbor secret and enchanting lives is a thrilling prospect for any serious reader. What laws of human nature govern our sturdy cases of books? What damning quirks of character glare from a few casually stowed volumes? In this disappointing study, however, Petroski's effort to reveal the "evolution of the bookshelf as we know it" yields few rewards. Pondering the physics of the bookend and the genealogy of the library carrel, this Duke University scholar observes the bookshelf as a piece of the infrastructure undergirding our civilization. We learn that medieval books were chained to their shelves to prevent theft, and that beverage stains have plagued bibliophiles almost since the dawn of the printed word. Admirers of Petroski's earlier works (The Evolution of Useful Things, Remaking the World, etc.) will not be surprised by his exquisite research, or by the gusto with which he plunges into the dustiest of library bins. But the bookshelf proves a more oblique topic than bridges or even pencils, two of Petroski's other interests. The practical construction principles of bookshelves make for rather dull reading, and conjecture about lectern usage in the Middle Ages wears thin. This book is most successful when delving into the gritty aspects of engineering, whether it be the cantilevered forces of library book stacks or the architecture of the British Museum Reading Room. After lingering among such fusty stacks, readers will welcome the whimsical appendix, which proposes arranging one's books alphabetically by the author's first name, or even by the first word of the antepenultimate sentence.

popularity
50
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shortDescription
From the author of the highly praised The Pencil and The Evolution of Useful Things comes another captivating history of the seemingly mundane: the book and its storage.
Most of us take for granted that our books are vertical on our shelves with the spines facing out, but Henry Petroski, inveterately curious engineer, didn't.  As a result, readers are guided along the astonishing evolution from papyrus scrolls boxed at Alexandria to upright books shelved at the Library of Congress. Unimpeachably researched, enviably written, and charmed with anecdotes from Seneca to Samuel Pepys to a nineteenth-century bibliophile who had to climb over his books to get into bed, The Book on the Bookshelf is indispensable for anyone who loves books.
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