Sunday, 11 May 2008

The Last Resort Library by Irving Finkel

This was one of those spur of the moment purchases - I had just discovered the joys of the London Review bookshop and was having a lovely mooch around it's well chosen shelves when I saw this book on the counter. The library on the front cover (and the title) were enough to intrigue me - so I picked it up and started to read the prologue -

"The Library is situated" said the short entry in the Guide to British Libraries A-L, "in pleasant rolling countryside not too far from Hereford, and is perhaps most readily accessible by private motor vehicle."

Well, that was me hooked! I leafed through the book and joy of joys it's illustrated - Jenny Kallin's blocky, naive woodcut (?) illustrations are a delight - full of humorous detail and fun. They add enjoyment to the wonderfully eccentric life of a library dedicated to collecting unpublished works - and all the rejection letters that go with them! This is a darkly humorous read - full of the day to day problems that such an odd institution may expect to see.... read it!

Irving Finkel is a curator at the British Museum and one feels he talks with affection and humour - albeit black humour about some of his colleagues......


ifinkel said...

Will you come to our next launch?

Anonymous said...

Great I'd love to!

ifinkel said...

bishopsgate libary
sept 9th eve
call me at work

betty said...

I found it in exactly the same way - browaing in the LR Bookshop - and I loved it. An absolute joy, and totally believable. I know some of those people, and I wish I knew the rest.