This enchanting study on the art of living with books considers how our personal libraries reveal our true nature: far more than just places, they are living labyrinths of our innermost feelings.
The author, a lifelong accumulator of books both ancient and modern, lives in a house large enough to accommodate his many thousands of books, as well as overspill from the libraries of his friends. While his musings on the habits of collectors past and present are learned, witty and instructive, his advice on cataloguing may even save the lives of those whose books are so prodigiously piled as to be a hazard...
The Phantoms on the Bookshelves ranges from classical Greece to contemporary Iceland, from Balzac and Moby Dick to Google, offering up delicious anecdotes along the way. This elegantly produced volume will be a lasting delight to specialist collectors, librarians, bibliophiles and all those who treasure books.
In this slim but charming volume, with an introduction by novelist James Salter, French art historian, editor, and novelist Bonnet describes his obsession with books, which has yielded a library of more than 40,000 volumes. In chapters such as "Organizing the Bookshelves" and "Where do they all come from?" Bonnet ponders the pitfalls of various organizational systems, the practice and art of reading, the intricacies of bookstores, buying new versus used books, and the effects of the Internet and electronic books on a physical library. Identity and books are closely intertwined. As Bonnet writes: "The fundamental character of the librarian will emerge as one's eye travels along the bookshelves." While ostensibly about Bonnet's library, the volume also illustrates the intensely symbiotic relationship between reader and writer, a book and its recipients.