Synopses & Reviews
The author, a lifelong accumulator of books ancient and modern, lives in a house large enough to accommodate his many thousands of volumes, as well as overspill from the libraries of his friends. While his musings on the habits of collectors from the earliest known libraries are learned, amusing, and instructive, his advice on cataloguing may even save lives. Phantoms on the Bookshelves ranges from classical Greece to contemporary Iceland, from Balzac to Moby-Dick and Google. Rich in wit and wisdom, it will be a lasting delight for all 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. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"This is a charming book full of erudition and wit, and is very nicely translated."
"Part cataloging manual, part homage to books, adventure story and autobiography, this Borgesian account is a promise of happiness."
"This charming volume illustrates the intensely symbiotic relationship between reader and writer, a book and its recipients."
"The book's ideal readers will be those who share Bonnet's love of being surrounded by the evidence of their minds' journeys, insatiable readers who love to linger over large and quirky accumulations of the printed word. For those readers, highly recommended."
"In Phantoms on the Bookshelves, Jacques Bonnet has once again invested the humble reading copy, the mode through which we first read, experienced, and encountered our favorite books and writers, with the old affection, respect and awe we had for it."
The enthralling memoir on the art of living with books Phantoms on the Bookshelves considers how our personal libraries reveal our true natures: far more than merely crowded shelves, they are living labyrinths of our innermost feelings.
About the Author
Jacques Bonnet is a publisher, translator and the author of novels and works of art history, including a monograph on the artist.James Salter is an American novelist and short story writer whose work includes the classic A Sport and A Pastime. He has won the PEN/Faulkner award, and who was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2000.