Monday, January 30, 2012

Recent Read: The Book of William

I'm borrowing The Book of William: How Shakespeare's First Folio Conquered the World by Paul Collins from a friend who loans me many of the books I blog about. She's the same friend who was in London with me in 2010 and one of the things we did while we were there was visit the British Library to see all the manuscripts they have on display. It was really wonderful yet overwhelming to see so many original manuscripts of so many important British novels, religious texts and even handwritten lyrics that later became hit songs by the Beatles. I had some paper in my bag which was great because taking notes helped me remember later all the amazing things I had seen.

I was excited to read about one of the manuscripts I'd seen in person at the British Library, Shakespeare's First Folio. I was disappointed in Collins' book though. He jumped back and forth between the publishing history of Shakespeare's works and present-day rare book auctions, which made the narrative choppy. I kept hoping Collins would establish his own credibility in the rare book world. I know he must have some clout to have written the book but I wanted to know more about why he wrote the book, why he loves Shakespeare, why he's interested in the first publications of his work, etc. I'd hoped to hear about the journey of the First Folio I saw in the British Library. I'd hoped for more overall.

Have you read this book? Did I miss something big?

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