The Book Lovers’ Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey

the book lovers' miscellany

My grateful thanks to the author Claire Cock-Starkey for a copy of The Book Lovers’ Miscellany in return for an honest review.

Published by the Bodleian Library on 13th October 2017, The Book Lovers’ Miscellany is available for purchase here.

The Book Lovers’ Miscellany

the book lovers' miscellany

Ever wondered how ink is made? Or what is the bestselling book of all time? Or which are the oldest known books in the world? Highbrow to lowbrow, all aspects of the book are celebrated and explored in The Book Lovers’ Miscellany.

From a list of unfinished novels, a short history of the comic, the story behind Mills and Boon and an entry on books printed with mistakes, to a guide to the colours of Penguin paperback jackets and a list of the most influential academic books of all time.

Between these pages you will discover the history of paper, binding, printing and dust jackets; which books have faced bans; which are the longest established literary families; and which bestsellers were initially rejected. You can explore the output of the most prolific writers and marvel at the youth of the youngest published authors; learn which natural pigments were used to decorate a medieval bible; and what animal is needed for the making of vellum.

The ideal gift for every bibliophile, The Book Lovers’ Miscellany is full of fun facts, potted histories and curious lists, perfect for dipping into and sharing.

My Review of The Book Lovers’ Miscellany

The Book Lovers’ Miscellany is a cornucopia of bookish facts and information.

This is a little gem of a book. Although I read it in the order presented, it would pay huge dividends if treated like a bookish box of chocolates, dipping in at random and seeing what tasty morsel came out. Alternatively, as many pages are cross referenced, readers could enjoy a kind of literary mystery tour, jumping from one author led note to another. The footnotes too add an extra dimension of interest.

An aspect I really enjoyed was the way different elements prompted memories for me. The references to papyrus took me back to a trip to Egypt where I saw it made, for example. I adored the oath for the Detection Club that I hadn’t come across before because it made me giggle.

Whilst many of the materials such as the glossary of book and manuscript terms were familiar, and avid bibliophiles may feel they know much of the information already,  reading The Book Lovers’ Miscellany also provided new information and I especially liked learning the ages of older first time authors – there’s hope for me yet!

Claire Cock-Starkey writes with a meticulously researched, fluent and authoritative style that is a pleasure to read. I think The Book Lovers’ Miscellany would be a perfect gift for any book lover, be they a reader or a writer.

About Claire Cock-Starkey

Claire Cock Starkey

Claire Cock-Starkey started out in media, working at BBC Radio Four and Five Live before going on to work at LBC. Having had a family, Claire is now a writer and freelance copy editor always keen to work on new projects.

You can find out more by visiting Claire’s website and following her on Twitter @NonFictioness.

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