The Book of William

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The Book of William

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Dec 9, 2013, 9:30 am

Just recently picked up and read The Book of William, by Paul Collins, being the story of the First Folios (1623) of William Shakespeare. Absolutely recommend this book for all here who like books on books. Since I enjoyed Sixpence House, also by Collins, I knew this one would also be filled with all kinds of fascinating tidbits of history and bibliographical trivia, like one of the First Folios going down with the sinking the SS Arctic in 1854. I now look forward to visiting the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC to view some of the First Folios they have there.

Dec 9, 2013, 11:01 am

We have this book as well and bought it both because of Kim's interest in Shakespeare and my enjoyment of Sixpence House. I read this book before our visit to the U.K. which included a couple days in Hay-on-Wye where we visited virtually all of the bookstores in the village in 2008. I've only read the preface for The Book of William but it is on my bedside table to return to as the mood strikes.

Earlier this year we were in Washington, D.C. for the Popular Culture Association conference. While there we did research at the Copyright Office and visited the Library of Congress, a couple of the Smithsonian museums, and the Folger. In their long hall are displayed many books that are contemporaries of Shakespeare as well as a couple of First Folios and some quartos. The display changes over time, I'm sure.

This past Wednesday we saw the newly-renovated displays for the Huntington Library and Museum in Pasadena, CA. There they have many great works of literature, including the First Folio, on display. The new displays are effective and informative while helping to preserve the works. LED lighting illuminates the objects and this has been determined to be less likely to harm the materials than traditional lighting sources.

We're looking forward to reading Nicholas Basbanes' On Paper which was recently acquired. Although we bought our copy locally, after going through three stores and 8 copies to find one clean enough to keep, we saw a few copies at Vroman's Books, a legendary new bookstore established more than 100 years ago and worthy of a visit whenever one is in Pasadena, CA.