Friday, June 17, 2011

London Summer Reading

As part of our pre-departure course work the library science students are required to read and write reviews of two books from a supplied recommended list.  I have finished reading two books, and have one review written.  I’m hoping to write the other review today.  I’ve read The Book of William and The Professor and the Madman.  The Book of William, about Shakespeare’s First published Folio.  Though I’m not a huge fan of the Bard, this book is fantastic.  It’s a combination of history, rare book auctions, and antiquarian topics.  The author traveled the globe in an attempt to see as many folio’s as possible and to get an accurate record of their provenance and histories.  I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  The Professor and the Madman is about the two individuals who were central to the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, in the late 1800's. Professor Murray, an English linguistics professor and general editor of the project, and Doctor W. C. Minor an American Civil War veteran, who personally contributed thousands of definitions and supportive quotations. There were many twists and turns that led to their eventual meeting and friendship which lasted several decades. Murder, madness, and tragedy all played a part in this unusual and unexpected relationship.

I’ve read quite a few books since the semester ended; several of them are London/UK related books.  I have read The Canterbury Tales (which I’ve never read in its entirety) and The Inklings of Oxford, as well as several books on the topic of medieval British outlaws, Robin Hood being a central topic.  I am currently reading Thames: The Biography, A Traveller’s History of Oxford, and several non-London books.  I plan on reading A Traveller’s History of London, and maybe London Rising before the trip if I can fit it in.  I already owned a Great Britain guide book from my last trip, but I found a cheap London specific guide book a couple of weeks ago, which made me happy.

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