"The covetous foraging for old and rare books," is how Matthews defines "booking." It is an act which leads naturally to the pleasures of adding them to one's personal library, then reading them as instruments of light and measure in a murky and chaotic world. The understanding that books are intrinsic to civilized living is wisdom as old as civilization itself; it is affirmed here, in their various ways, by the people who inspire and inhabit these pages: the quasi-literate clerk of the steamboat Science on the Ohio River in 1835; a young fiction writer who got drunk one night and stole the bust of Edgar Allen Poe from the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia; and a guru of the computer age, who writes: "Books have always been important to me and to the people around me."
Matthews explores the collecting of old dictionaries, whose definitions can be read as a sort of poetry; an 1840's rhyming book once used as a mnemonic tool for small children; and the wildly scrawled annotations of an exuberant painter in a battered copy of Thomas Hart Benton's An Artist in America.
In other essays, Matthews compares booking with Charles Darwin's passion for collecting beetles; follows Nero Wolfe of the Rex Stout novels, who grew tentatively into a vivid and fascinating detective; and celebrates the zealous idealism of 1890s fraternity boys as reflected by some of their century-old publications.
In sharing Matthews's adventures as an implacable bookman, readers will find, not an escape from life, but new entrance ways through old books.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Abe Martin Archie Goodwin beetles Benton's BETA THETA PI boys Broun Burkhart bust century character Cock Robin collecting collectors copy course Creighton dark Darwin death defined dictionaries editions essay fact famous fiction fraternity Gallipolis Giant human Hurst idealism imagination Indian inspired interesting J. B. S. Haldane Jack John John Sculley Johnson's Kin Hubbard language letter literary lived look matter mind modern mysterious Nero Wolfe never night novel obviously Ohio old and rare One-Eye passion perhaps Perry County pleasure Poe's poem poetry precisely published rare books readers reference remember Rex Stout rhyme Roland Rivers seems sentence simply sort speak spirit Steamboat Steamboat Science Steve Jobs story sure tell things thought tion told truth Tyrtaeus understand wonderful word writing written wrote young