Shelf Life (Paperback)

Writers on Books and Reading

By Alex Johnson (Editor)

British Library Publishing, 9780712352864, 176pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2019

List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Books: reading, collecting, and the physical housing of them has brought the book-lover joy and stress for centuries. Fascinated writers have tried to capture the particular relationships we form with our library, and the desperate troubles we will undergo to preserve it. With Alex Johnson as your guide, immerse yourself in this eclectic anthology and hear from an iconic Prime Minister musing over the best way to store your books and an illustrious US President explaining the best works to read outdoors. Enjoy serious speculations on the psychological implications of reading from a 19th-century philosopher, and less serious ones concerning the predicament of dispensing with unwanted volumes or the danger of letting children (the enemies of books) near your collection. The many facets of book-mania are pondered and celebrated with both sincerity and irreverence in this lively selection of essays, poems, lectures, and commentaries ranging from the 16th to the 20th century.

About the Author

Alex Johnson is a professional blogger and journalist, part of the Independent's online team. Alex runs, which inspired the book Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution;; and, which was published as Bookshelf. He is also the author of A Book of Book ListsBook Towns, and Improbable Libraries.