A Splendor of Letters -- Signed
By Nicholas A. Basbanes.
This copy comes from the author's private stock of books, and it is signed.
In his fourth book, Basbanes contiunes the lively anecdotal exploration
of book people, places, and culture he began in 1995 with A Gentle
Madness. Basbanes now offers a consideration of the many pressing
issues that surround the role of books in contemporary society, such as
the willful destruction of books and libraries in Sarajevo, Tibet, and
Cambodia, and the spirited efforts to restore them. The matter of
"discards" at various libraries takes on an entirely new dimension as
well, with fully researched stories about the kind of attitudes that
may lead to the loss of the last copies of important works.
In vivid detail, Basbanes examines the many materials that have
been used over the centuries to record information, among them clay
tablets, papyrus scrolls, slabs of stone, palm leaves, animal skins,
and hammered sheets of gold and copper. Also discussed are the various
debates that continue to rage about preservation, which may mean saving
and storing books on paper indefinitely, or as electronic data, which
are by nature ephemeral.
We have a very limited supply of these books.