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Hardcover Patience & Fortitude: A Roving Chronicle of Book People, Book Places, and Book Culture Book

ISBN: 0060196955

ISBN13: 9780060196950

Patience & Fortitude: A Roving Chronicle of Book People, Book Places, and Book Culture

(Part of the Patience and Fortitude Series)

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Book Overview

"Compulsory for anyone seriously interested in books or curious about the manic nature of collecting." --New York Times Book ReviewIn his national bestseller, A Gentle Madness, Nicholas Basbanes... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A bibliophage is a person who devours books

This is an engaging compilation of book talk topics. Anecdotes abound. The London Library celebrated its one hundred fiftieth anniversary in 1991. Its counterparts are the Library Company of Philadelphia, the New York Society Library, the Boston Athenaeum. It is not a club. There is silence maintained in the London Library reading room. Some writers do their writing there. Penelope Fitzgerald found Novalis's letters in the London Library. Umberto Eco has a personal library of thirty thousand volumes. The success of THE NAME OF THE ROSE enabled him to become a serious book collector. The books arts community located in western Massachusetts is described. The author uses the title 'Profiles in Bibliophagia' for one of the sections of his book. Antiquarian bookselling is more established in Europe than in the United States. The most prominent American bookseller of the twentieth century was Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach of Philadelphia. The very best dealers are scholars. Emigre booksellers helped create some of the great research libraries in America. The Boston Public Library, a McKim structure, is the most notable building in Back Bay. Alfred Kazin and Richard Hofstadter began their friendship at the New York Public Library. Harold Bloom credits that library with starting his book passion. The library was a refuge for many immigrant scholars. Resident writers have included Joseph Lash, James Thomas Flexner, Nancy Milford, Edna St.Vincent Millay, Susan Brownmiller, Robert Caro. Nicholson Baker has written dismissively of the destruction of card catalogues and the replacement of them by various kinds of electronic access. Colleges and universities continue to be judged by the strength of their libraries. Harvard may be the only library that has kept up with inflation. Other schools are buying less than they used to. The author recounts how the library at York University, (Canada), was built. About one hundred thousand books were bought from a dealer of second-hand books in Boston. Works in French were obtained from a store going out of business. York University also bought books along with the the California system of higher education. The same librarian doubled the library collection at Boston College in ten years. Premier research institutions demand strong libraries. University libraries were able to enhance their collections under Title II, a federal program in effect from 1965 to 1982. Research universities have used book depositories for low-circulation books to avoid deaccessioning them. Cornell and the University of Michigan have joined forces to create the Making of America digital library. The author describes the Strand and Argosy book stores of New York City. Serendipity is a term originating in a piece by Horace Walpole. It is the name of a distinguished book store in Berkeley. Photographs ornament this excellent work.

Love books?

I still have not been able to read A Gentle Madness, but from previous reviews, I can get the sense that there is a similar theme to this one. As for Patience and Fortitude--for any book lover, you immediately become overwhelmed by Basbanes' and his interviewees' passion for books. Moreover, the more you read about some of the great collections covered in this book, the more you want to see for yourself. For me, the most intriguing element of the book was the section on the long forgotten libraries of Mt Athos, some of which maintain extensive collections from Byzantium. I was equally interested to read how the major libraries of the world assemble collections, and attempt to maintain them, while filling the need for more computer savvy customers. I hope to read the other books by Basbanes, but if this is the standard for the others, I am sure they will be equally as enjoyable.

Second Installment Of A Classic

As he did with the first volume, "A Gentle Madness", Nicholas Basbanes has written a book for a very wide audience. "Patience And Fortitude", goes well beyond any confines that would limit the work to readers interested only in the smallest of details that would be of importance to only the most addicted of bibliophiles. This is a history book, a political science book, a work that discusses education, and a book that addresses the importance of libraries, whether it is the matter in which they are constructed or how political groups attempt to influence History. It is also about the future of books and in some cases the wholesale destruction of publicly owned library inventory and their contents.There is also good news, for the moment The United States still has more libraries than we do McDonalds. Such may not always be the case if some of those responsible for the care of our written history are not carefully watched. The most notorious example of destruction came about in San Francisco during the transition from the old library to the new. There is no question that a library may choose to have a limited number of copies of a given book, but having the department of sanitation collect and then dump tens of thousands of volumes in to the city landfill should be criminal. There is never a shortage of interest in books. When the disposal of books became known, books that had been marked for destruction were offered to the public gratis. One woman came home with over 1200 books.The construction of The National Libraries of England, France, and an attempt to create a new Alexandria library are also covered in great detail. England's new facility may not be a visual treat but as a repository for books, there care and distribution it works. The National Library of France would be funny were it not also ridiculous. Vertical libraries don't work very well and the new French facility has not one but four towers. Dozens of steps must be climbed to reach a common area for the towers, but if you wish to enter you must travel back down another set of stairs to gain access. The towers are made of glass. If there is anything that will guaranty the destruction of books it is sunlight. The French facility was a political project that just happened to involve books. Built as yet another architectural monument to a former president it fails from the selection of the location right through to its layout and high tech book management system that has even locked employees out of the building. A recent novel by W. G. Sebald, "Austerlitz", took the time to harpoon this facility in great detail.The story of a new library in Alexandria, which is scheduled to open soon, is quite sad. Once the site of one of if not the greatest library in history, the new facility is wonderful but it lacks a key ingredient, books. This may sound like sarcasm but the massive core catalogue that any good library needs much less a great library can no longer be assembled. There are very fini

Everything (Almost) You Needed to Know About Books,

Nicholas Basbanes has written the second of a projected trilogy about the love of his life: books. Following the wonderful "A Gentle Madness", "Patience and Fortitude" (the names of the two stone lions flanking the entrance to New York Public Library) deals largely with the storage and retrieval of books from ancient times till today. It begins with the ancient world's great library in Alexandria where the entirety of Western knowledge was stored and ends with a plan to rebuild a modern library in Egypt's second largest city: Alexandria!The first third of the book deals with his tour of the sites of ancient and medieval libraries. My favorite is the abbey at Monte Casino; but surely any bibliophile and traveler will soon be planning his/her next European trip around Basbanes' theme. The second third of the book deals with avid private collectors and booksellers. This is, really, a reprise of his first book. The folks detailed here suffer from his aforementioned gentle madness and, uniformally, see themselves as temporary custodians of the books they love and the cultures those books represent. In the final portion of the book Basbanes discusses libraries of today and the many challenges they face. In San Francisco there was a wrongheaded pursuit of network access, ultrmodern communication and architectural showing-off when a new building was built for the city's library. This had the horrific result of no room for the books. Thousands of volumes ended up in landfills before a few civic protestors drew attention to the disaster. At Harvard University, on the other hand, rather than destroy books they have built new, climactically controlled storage barns and maintain and grow their marvelous collection.Dry stuff? Compared to Baldacci or King--sure. But, Basbanes is talking about the preservation of a culture and its artifacts. Pretty exciting, I'd say!

For all bibliophiles

Patience and Fortitude continues the work Nicholas Basbanes began with A Gentle Madness several years ago. It is another great compilation of stories about book collectors, but it goes further by describing great libraries of the past, such as Alexandria, Pergamum, and St. Gall; and of the present, including a fascinating comparison of the new British Library in London and France's Bibliotheque National. There are also some nice portraits of great bookstores like New York's Strand and of some of the intrepid dealers who maintain the antiquarian book trade.Perhaps the most important part of Patience and Fortitude is the section dealing with the dilemma faced by many libraries: how to adequately store their collections, identify and weed out books which are no longer of use or value, and also provide public access to high technology. Basbanes tells the sad story of San Francisco's library, which has less shelf room than the building it replaced, and contrasts it with Boston and New York's public libraries, which despite age and crowding still maintain excellent inventories; and with Harvard, which never discards books but must periodically send part of its vast collections to storage.Patience and Fortitude is a wonderful book for anyone who still loves books. I look forward to its sequel.
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