Aller au contenu


From our desk: Holiday reading for bibliophiles - Part II

Many publications of recent months deserve to be known to a wider audience. We selected a few more, published in the US, Spain, Italy and Sweden - bibliophilia around the world - and the list could be much longer.
Matthew Millman for The New York Times Alice Waters the chef and food activist estimated that two thirds of the 1800 or so books in her Berkeley Calif

Spanish writer and philologist Irene Vallejo recently commented in a UK Guardian interview: "Alexander the Great’s library was the first step towards the internet". Her recent publication "Papyrus" (Original title: "El Infinito en un junco: La invencion de los libros del mundo antiguo") has been translated into various languages and was an immediate success upon its publication.

She comments on the question in the Guardian:
The original title for Papyrus in Spanish was El infinito en un junco (Infinity in a Reed). Can you explain?

It’s a metaphor for my description of what is wonderful about books. The idea that infinite feelings, experiences, fears and emotions can be [contained] in something so small and common. I’m thinking of the first books in history, which were papyrus scrolls [made from a type of reed]. It’s also a tribute to Pascal [Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher], who described human beings as reeds. He said we are fragile like reeds, but we have the power of learning and understanding.

"The book is one of mankind's most beautiful inventions." writes Swiss publisher Diogenes. "Books allow words to travel through time and space and ensure that ideas and stories last for generations. Irene Vallejo takes us on an adventurous journey through the fascinating history of the book, from the beginnings of the Library of Alexandria to the fall of the Roman Empire. Along the way we meet rebellious nuns, shrewd booksellers, tireless storytellers and other people dedicated to the world of books."

Irene Vallejo
Original title: El Infinito en un junco: La invencion de los libros del mundo antiguo.
Now translated into English, German and French