Downsizing When You Own 35,000 Books

Alberto Manguel photo

What’s it like to move from a home with thousands of books to a “small apartment”?

Famous book lover (and book writer) Alberto Manguel knows, and this past summer he explained to an ABC reporter what that feels like – and how he came to own so many books, despite the fact that he works in a library.

Read the story from ABC’s website.

Found via The Book Project’s Facebook page


Mark Twain: Literary Critic?

One of the small pleasures enjoyed by bibliophiles who own their own libraries is the prerogrative of scribbling down one’s reactions in the margins of the books one’s bought. 

 And when the scribbler and the library owner  happens to be Mark Twain….

When Twain moved to Connecticut and discovered the town had no public library, he immediately alerted his rich pal Andrew Carnegie, chipped in some money of his own for Carnegie’s building fund, then donated much of his private library to stock the town’s new library.

An article in today’s New York Times brings to light some of what Twain scribbled into some of those books.  As was his won’t Twain pulls few punches with authors (including friends) who fell short of his high literary standards. Take a look.

Vincent van Gogh: Passionate Reader

Excerpt from a blogpost about a current exhibit of Van Gogh’s letters:

“Van Gogh’s letters reveals him to be passionate lover a books, a man equally enamoured with the art of the image and the art of the word. As a young man, Vincent van Gogh actually worked in a bookshop. Throughout his short life–he committed suicide at 37–he was a voracious reader. In the just over 900 letters of Van Gogh that still exist, over 150 authors are mentioned, and over 200 literary works. Van Gogh was fluent in French and English, as well as Dutch, and read widely in all three languages. French literary giant Emile Zola is mentioned 96 times in the letters, Victor Hugo is a close second with 62 references, and Honore de Balzac is brought up 35 times. English great Charles Dickens shows up 54 times, followed by George Eliot at 29, and William Shakespeare at 23.”

Read the entire Book Patrol blogpost  for more about van Gogh’s reading, and about the searchable online database of his letters (a website which we posted a link to a few months ago).