Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Great Book Amnesty

Inspired by our recent addition to the web archiving programme at the British Library, we wanted to share some our accumulated knowledge with others who hadn't encountered these works via our great book amnesty.

We sought out over 150 titles which we have loved and read but thought that others deserve exposure to them now.

The topics were wide and many from oversized art/print books, early twentieth century plays, non fiction about the history of social lighting as well the odd snippet of world fiction. Failure is generally a lot more interesting than success... this book was only a modest success in America; it deserves to be a huge one here, since we have a better natural empathy with the sweet misery of not being quite good enough at things.

This one is a particular favourite of mine:
In this remarkably wide-ranging book Professor Lowenthal analyses the ever-changing role of the past in shaping our lives. A heritage at once nurturing and burdensome, the past allows us to make sense of the present whilst imposing powerful constraints upon the way that present develops.
It's the idea of sharing this knowledge which makes it really powerful.

The first participants/recipients of the book amnesty were voracious in their hunger and nearly broke their arms taking nearly 100 of the titles, but it's heartening to see these books being given a new lease of life and being absorbed and appreciated by others in the future. Maybe one day, they'll do the same.


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