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Special Report

50 Books About Books

The 2010 Reading Guide for Bibliophiles Compiled by Rebecca Rego Barry and Jeremy Dibbell Rebecca Rego Barry is the editor of this magazine.

Jeremy Dibbell, is an assistant reference librarian at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston.

As a supplement to the annual Fine Books & Collections gift guide for bibliophiles (in our autumn issue), we’re offering this list of fifty remarkable non-fiction books about books from the past year. Some titles you will remember having read about in the magazine or on the blog, while others may have slipped by unnoticed. It’s hard to keep up! So we’ve composed an extensive list (by no means exhaustive, as it omits many specialized titles) of recently published books that will appeal to readers and collectors who enjoy books about books. Some good gift-giving ideas, too.

The titles appear in no particular order, and all were published between fall 2009 and fall 2010. As a bonus, we’ve added a list of the top ten novels about books from the past year.

Non-Fiction

Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books edited by Jo Steffens, featuring an essay by Walter Benjamin (Yale University Press, unjacketed hardcover, $20). An enjoyable look at the bookshelves of twelve world-famous architects. Reviewed in the December 2009 issue of FB&C. Buy it now

Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline by Daniel Rosenberg & Anthony Grafton (Princeton Architectural Press, unjacketed hardcover, $50). A heavily illustrated and comprehensive history of time maps, from tables and charts to cartographic illustration to the linear form we now associate with the word ‘timeline.’ From the January 2010 review in FB&C: “for map collectors, history buffs, and the terminally bookish, Cartographies is a very special find.”

Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book edited by Sean Manning, with a foreword by Ray Bradbury (Da Capo Press, paperback, $15.95). This delightful new collection of essays focuses on the book as object; each writer passionately selects and defends the volume he or she loves best in the world.

A Reader on Reading by Alberto Manguel (Yale University Press, jacketed hardcover, $27.50). A brilliant collection of thirty-nine essays on modern reading and writing; read more in our review from the February 2010 issue. Buy it now

The Art of American Book Covers, 1875-1930 by Richard Minsky (George Braziller Publishers, unjacketed hardcover, $34.95). The first trade edition of book artist (and FB&C columnist) Richard Minsky’s amazing work. From our April 2010 review: “Whether you curl up and read it, shelve it for reference, or place on the coffee table, this is one book you don’t want to miss.”

Outside of a Dog: A Bibliomemoir by Rick Gekoski (Constable, hardcover, £10.49/Amazon.co.uk). Twenty-five books that have influenced the life of noted bibliophile Rick Gekoski, also the author of Nabokov’s Butterfly: And Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books. Bookseller John Windle raved (and ranted) about it in our June issue.

Bookbinding & Conservation: A Sixty-Year Odyssey of Art and Craft by Don Etherington (Oak Knoll Press, hardcover, $49.95). The renowned bookbinder’s memoir documents his experiences at the Biblioteca Nazionale in Florence, The Library of Congress, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, and Information Conservation, Inc. This was one of only two books listed in the FB&C annual gift guide. Buy it now

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