Older and Still Popular: Books About Books, Libraries and Reading
There are 100 libraries in Toronto and each branch has it's own character, collection and community. Across all libraries though, perhaps not surprisingly, books on books, reading and books about libraries are quite popular. The Dewey call number range for these books is 020-029. Some older books have withstood the test of time. They're borrowed over and over and, in a way, handed from one reader to another. They've also survived physically with many wearing their scars proudly.
Below are some of our highest circulating, well loved and well used, books about books and libraries. Some books on data and the world wide web of information fall into this range too. These titles are popular all across Toronto.
The book descriptions are all taken from our catalogue.
"Susan Orlean reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution--our libraries"
"How to Read a Book, originally published in 1940, has become a rare phenomenon, a living classic. It is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader. And now it has been completely rewritten and updated. You are told about the various levels of reading and how to achieve them -- from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading, you learn how to pigeonhole a book, X-ray it, extract the author's message, criticize. You are taught the different reading techniques for reading practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy and social science."
"For more than forty years, renowned literary critic Harold Bloom has transformed college students into lifelong readers with his unrivaled love for literature. Now, at a time when faster and easier electronic media threaten to eclipse the practice of reading, Bloom draws on his experience as critic, teacher, and prolific reader to plumb the great books for their sustaining wisdom. Shedding all polemic, Bloom addresses the solitary reader, who, he urges, should read for the purest of all reasons: to discover and augment the self."
"James Gleick, the author of the best sellers Chaos and Genius, now brings us a work just as astonishing and masterly: a revelatory chronicle and meditation that shows how information has become the modern era's defining quality--the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world. The story of information begins in a time profoundly unlike our own, when every thought and utterance vanishes as soon as it is born. From the invention of scripts and alphabets to the long-misunderstood talking drums of Africa, Gleick tells the story of information technologies that changed the very nature of human consciousness."
"For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big (and small) questions about how to live his life. In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions."
"In this marvelous book, acclaimed around the world, Alberto Manguel takes us on a fascinating exploration of what it means to be a reader of books. A History of Reading is a brilliant reminder of why we cherish the act of reading--despite distractions throughout the ages, from the Inquisition to the lures of cyberspace. He shows us what happens when we read; who we become; and how reading teaches us how to live. He reminds us that we live in books as well as among them--how we find our own stories in books, and traces of our lives. He shows us how our reading habits have developed over the centuries, and how, ever since humans first transcribed their thoughts and deeds on clay and papyrus, the act of reading is itself a part of being human."
"The starting point is a question," Alberto Manguel writes in the introduction to The Library at Night: since few can doubt that the universe is ultimately meaningless and purposeless, why do we try to give it order? After all, our efforts are surely doomed to failure. It’s hard to think of a more profound or serious subject to start with – but The Library at Night, Alberto Manguel says, is by no means a systematic answer. Rather, it is the story of the search for one. In the tradition of A History of Reading, this book is an account of Manguel’s astonishment at the variety, beauty and persistence of our efforts to shape the world and our lives, most notably through something almost as old as reading itself: libraries. The result is both intimately personal and incredibly wide-ranging: it is a fascinating study of the mysteries of libraries, a thorough analysis of their history throughout the world and an esoteric, enchanting celebration of reading."
"The author argues that reading is alive and well in America. Millions of devoted readers support hundreds of enormous bookstores and online booksellers. Jacobs's interactions with his students and the readers of his own books, however, suggest that many readers lack confidence; they wonder whether they are reading well, with proper focus and attentiveness, with due discretion and discernment. Jacobs offers an insightful, accessible, and playfully irreverent guide for aspiring readers. Each chapter focuses on one aspect of approaching literary fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, and the book explores everything from the invention of silent reading, reading responsively, rereading, and reading on electronic devices."
"A newly revised and updated guide to the world's best literature--all at your fingertips. For discerning bibliophiles and readers who enjoy unforgettable classic literature, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is a trove of reviews covering a century of memorable writing. Each work of literature featured here is a seminal work key to understanding and appreciating the written word."
"Have you lost the art of reading for pleasure? Are there books you know you should read but haven't because they seem too daunting? In The Well-Educated Mind, Susan Wise Bauer provides a welcome and encouraging antidote to the distractions of our age, electronic and otherwise. Newly expanded and updated to include standout works from the twenty-first century as well as essential readings in science (from the earliest works of Hippocrates to the discovery of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs), The Well-Educated Mind offers brief, entertaining histories of six literary genres--fiction, autobiography, history, drama, poetry, and science--accompanied by detailed instructions on how to read each type."
The next two titles are on data and how it provides information about us.
"An irreverent, provocative, and visually fascinating look at what our online lives reveal about who we really are--and how this deluge of data will transform the science of human behavior. Big Data is used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us things we don't need. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder puts this flood of information to an entirely different use: understanding human nature."
"Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are the four most influential companies on the planet. Just about everyone thinks they know how they got there. Just about everyone is wrong. For all that's been written about the Four over the last two decades, no one has captured their power and staggering success as insightfully as Scott Galloway. Instead of buying the myths these companies broadcast, Galloway asks fundamental questions. How did the Four infiltrate our lives so completely that they're almost impossible to avoid (or boycott)?"
More in our Older and Still Popular series of posts:
What older and still popular books about books, libraries and reading would you recommend? Share in the comments below.