The Library Book
Profile Books (ebook), 2012
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
From Alan Bennett’s Baffled at a Bookcase, to Lucy Mangan’s Library Rules, famous writers tell us all about how libraries are used and why they’re important. Tom Holland writes about libraries in the ancient world, while Seth Godin describes what a library will look like in the future. Lionel Shriver thinks books are the best investment, Hardeep Singh Kohli makes a confession and Julie Myerson remembers how her career began beside the shelves.
Do you read books? Hundreds of them? Are your shelves, rooms, bags, cars, offices full of books? Do you buy them on impulse at trains stations and airports? Read the first few chapters before your journey ends? Do you come across a car-boot-sale, second-hand bookshop or a charity shop, and walk away with books that look like bargains but only have 25% of being read? (THIS PLACE WILL LEND YOU BOOKS FOR FREE BY JAMES BROWN)
WHAT I THOUGHT
The Library Book was my non-fiction choice for November. There are a couple of fiction pieces in it but overall the book contains essays by various people supporting libraries through sharing anecdotes about their own experiences.
As a library lover this book appealed to me. I grew up in a small village in Scotland and the local, tiny library was my second home. When I’d read through everything of interest to me, I started to travel weekly by but to the library in the nearest town. This library was about ten times the size of my local one and I still remember the feeling of awe I felt the first time I stepped through the door. I bought as many books as I borrowed but discovered some of my greatest literary loves in the library. I moved to Glasgow almost eleven years ago and for some reason never joined a library. Four years ago, I was made redundant and could no longer afford to buy books. I joined up at the Mitchell Library and fell in love all over again. I borrow physical copies from the library and digital copies via Overdrive.
I thought The Library Book was great. I enjoyed all of the little anecdotes about people’s experiences of how libraries played an important role in their lives. Some stories echoed my own. I found it very interesting that some of the stories were so different but they all had similar elements; sanctuary, finding a book that changed your life, reading as an escape and finding safety in a library. I just a real sense of love of literature and books throughout The Library Book. I liked the fiction pieces but would have preferred a personal anecdote from the writers.