Thursday, May 31, 2007

Book 27: Libraries in the Ancient World

NUMBER: 27
TITLE: Libraries in the Ancient World
AUTHOR: Lionel Casson
STARTED: May 22, 2007
FINISHED: May 29, 2007
PAGES: 177
GENRE: Books about Books

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Preface] This book is the first full-scale study of libraries in the ancient world.

SUMMARY: [From barnesandnoble.com] Casson chronicles the history of libraries from the storage of clay tablets in the ancient Near East to the Middle Ages. He examines the gathering of collections of writings, the means used to store them, the sponsorship of libraries by emperors and other notables, and the layout of library buildings. The text revolves around the period of the Roman Empire and the city of Rome.

REASON FOR READING: Assigned for my "History of the Book" class

THOUGHTS: The content of this book was great, but the writing style started to annoy me after awhile. Casson has a bad habit of writing his paragraphs like lists: "This happened. And then this. Quick aside. Then this. Then this." It set this rhythm that became rather dull quite quickly. There was no real narrative in the book, it was more a regurgitation of research. I know this book is non-fiction, but I wish it did not read like a fact sheet. The best parts of this book were when Casson gave little stories about the librarians or their benefactors.

I did enjoy how Casson makes note that libraries in the ancient world operated much like libraries today - and showed that they had many of the same problems of modern libraries. Oh library theft, you've always existed.

An interesting read, but one that could have done with a re-write.

MISCELLANEOUS: I'm reminded of the time I made a scroll for a high school history class...

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

No comments: