In 1995 Nicholas Basbanes introduced a resonant phrase to describe the obsessive passion people have had over the past twenty-five hundred years to possess books, a condition more commonly known as bibliomania, one he christened in his book A Gentle Madness. Reviewing the work in the Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Michael Dirda judged it to be a gallery of wonderful characters, "each more appealing than the last."
Now, in Patience & Fortitude, Basbanes continues his discursive adventures among the gently mad, expanding his focus to probe the more comprehensive concept of book culture. Visiting many key "book places" around the world, he talks with a striking variety of kindred spirits, each one a living testament to the unending relevance of these essential artifacts in our lives.
Drawing its title from the unofficial names of the marble lions that guard the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, Patience & Fortitude explores the changing form of the book over the centuries and describes the nature of the institutions that have evolved to contain them, including academic, public, private, and national repositories.
Using the same narrative technique that made A Gentle Madness a national bestseller, Basbanes employs a lively balance of scholarly research with investigative journalism to document many pertinent book stories that have not been told before, and offers unprecedented depth to others that have barely scratched the surface. Picking up seamlessly where its predecessor left off, Patience & Fortitude profiles the experiences and thoughts of all kinds of dedicated "book people," be they librarians, readers, writers, bookmakers, booksellers, preservationists, or collectors.
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Nicholas A. Basbanes was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1943, graduated from Bates College in 1965, and received a master of arts degree from Pennsylvania State University while serving as a naval officer aboard the aircraft carrier Oriskany in the Tonkin Gulf in 1969. An award-winning investigative reporter during the early 1970s, Basbanes was literary editor of the Worcester Sunday Telegram from 1978 to 1991, and for the next eight years wrote a nationally syndicated column on books and authors. He is a former president of the Friends of the Robert H. Goddard Library of Clark University, which has established a student book-collecting competition in his honor. His first book, A Gentle Madness, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.About the Author:
Nicholas A. Basbanes has worked as an award-winning investigative reporter, a literary editor, and a nationally syndicated columnist. The author of five books, he also writes a regular column for Fine Books & Collections magazine and lectures widely on book-related issues. He and his wife, Constance, live in Massachusetts.
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