#bookreview – The Book Lovers’ Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey @NonFictioness

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction but this one caught my eye. Thank you to Claire Cock-Starkey for sending me a copy for review. Here’s what The Book Lovers’ Miscellany is about:

Ever wondered how ink is made? Or what is the bestselling book of all time? Or which are the oldest known books in the world? Highbrow to lowbrow, all aspects of the book are celebrated and explored in ‘The Book Lovers’ Miscellany’. From a list of unfinished novels, a short history of the comic, the story behind Mills and Boon and an entry on books printed with mistakes, to a guide to the colours of Penguin paperback jackets and a list of the most influential academic books of all time. Between these pages you will discover the history of paper, binding, printing and dust jackets; which books have faced bans; which are the longest established literary families; and which bestsellers were initially rejected. You can explore the output of the most prolific writers and marvel at the youth of the youngest published authors; learn which natural pigments were used to decorate a medieval bible; and what animal is needed for the making of vellum. The ideal gift for every bibliophile, ‘The Book Lovers’ Miscellany’ is full of fun facts, potted histories and curious lists, perfect for dipping into and sharing.

If you would like to delve into this fascinating book yourself then it’s available in hardback now.


What a fascinating little book this is. First of all, a word on the book itself. It’s a hardback, small enough to hold in one hand and it’s really good quality.

Turning to the inside, there’s so much interesting stuff crammed between the covers. For instance, do you know what the first book ever ordered on Amazon was? I’m not going to tell you but if you want to find out you should read this book.

Claire Cock-Starkey likes a list. In fact, I think most book lovers seem to like a good list. One interesting example in the book is a list of Continuation Novels, you know, those books that follow on from another but are written by a different author. I’m not convinced by them myself but they seem to do quite well.

We hear about fonts used in books, the making of a bible in the middle ages, oddest title of the year (some of these are hilarious – How to Poo on a Date!) and much more.

You get the general idea, I’m sure. This is a book you can dip in and out of, or just sit and read from cover to cover. The sections for each fact or list are short enough to read when you have a spare moment. It’s such an intriguing read and the author has done a great job with it. I think this is a book that is up any book lover’s street.


Claire Cock-Starkey is a writer and editor of non-fiction books, including ‘Bodleianalia’ (2016) and ‘Famous Last Words’ (2016).

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