If you are a bibliophile, you simply must read this book. This is Not the End of the Book is a transcribed conversation between the great Italian novelist Umberto Eco and French writer and playwright Jean-Claude Carriere on books. Yes, a book of two guys discussing books. The two were interviewed by Jean-Philippe Da Tonnac on various questions concerning books, collecting books, whether or not books will survive the internet, the nature of libraries, threats to books, past, present, and future, and the history and future of books. Eco and Carriere are both avid book collectors. Eco estimates his collection to be around 80,000 volumes and Carrier, 50,000, many of which are antiquarian.
The conversation is enthralling. I had a great deal of trouble putting the book down. I mainly bought it because I try to read Eco whenever I can, but, in truth, Carriere’s comments were fascinating as well. It is a dizzying, often humorous conversation filled with arcane and eclectic insights. It is replete with fascinating anecdotal stories about the authors’ personal encounters with books. It is also filled with references to the history of book making and the history of books in general.
It is hard to describe this book because it is so all over the place! But if you think you would enjoy sitting in the corner of a room listening to two brilliant, eclectic minds discussing all things book related, you really should get a copy of this work.