THE LIBRARY BOOK
Famous writers on libraries real or imagined, past and future; why libraries matter and to whom. In aid of The Reading Agency
From Alan Bennett’s Baffled at a Bookcase, to Lucy Mangan’s Library Rules, famous writers tell us all about how libraries are used and why they’re important. Tom Holland writes about libraries in the ancient world, while Seth Godin describes what a library will look like in the future. Lionel Shriver thinks books are the best investment, Hardeep Singh Kohli makes a confession and Julie Myerson remembers how her career began beside the shelves. Using memoir, history, polemic and some short stories too, The Library Book celebrates ‘that place where they lend you books for free’ and the people who work there. All royalties go to The Reading Agency, to help their work supporting libraries.
In The Library Book, published for National Libraries Day on 4 February, twenty-three of the UK’s most outstanding writers describe libraries real or imagined, past, present, and future – why they matter and to whom.
Recognising that without libraries we would not have the writers of today and tomorrow, The Library Book’s contributors are all donating their royalties to The Reading Agency, the independent charity working to inspire more people to read more.
Included in the book are Anita Anand, Julian Barnes, Bella Bathurst, Alan Bennett, Michael Brooks, James Brown, Ann Cleeves, Stephen Fry, Seth Godin, Susan Hill, Tom Holland, Hardeep Singh Kohli, Lucy Mangan, Val McDermid, China Miéville, Caitlin Moran, Kate Mosse, Julie Myerson, Bali Rai, Lionel Shriver, Karin Slaughter, Zadie Smith and Nicky Wire.
As the very essence of thinking woman’s crumpet — in essence, a heterosexual Stephen Fry, but with the flashing eyes of a Gypsy violinist — one can presume that Mitchell would have been getting some good quality dating offers. Classy birds — ones with expensive knickers, first-edition George Orwells, and knowledge of niche Scottish distilleries. If a good-looking famous bloke finds looking for love too enervating — when he’s probably got women hurling themselves at him every time he pops to the corner shop for Yop — it does start to suggest that dating might rank as not a pleasure, but, rather, an unpleasant and risky undertaking, such as laser eye-correction. One that many might understandably just not bother with.
Caitlin Moran - If David Mitchell’s given up on dating, what hope is there for us?