Review: the Secret Library by Oliver Tearle

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This book told me this is a tour through history from the perspective of books. How was there ever anything more like me than this? I didn’t really know what to expect, but definitely not this!

As well as leafing through the well-known titles that have helped shape the world in which we live, Oliver Tearle also dusts off some of the more neglected items to be found hidden among the bookshelves of the past. You’ll learn about the forgotten Victorian novelist who outsold Dickens, the woman who became the first published poet in America and the eccentric traveller who introduced the table-fork to England. Through exploring a variety of books—novels, plays, travel books, science books, cookbooks, joke books and sports almanacs—The Secret Libraryhighlights some of the most fascinating aspects of our history. It also reveals the surprising connections between various works and historical figures. What links Homer’s Iliad to Aesop’sFables? Or Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack to the creator of Sherlock Holmes? The Secret Library brings these little-known stories to light, exploring the intersections between books of all kinds and the history of the Western world over 3,000 years.

This has become one of my favourite books. It’s so incredibly funny and it gives you some SOLID information!

The book is divided in several time periods, you start in ancient times and we finish with the modern classics. But these aren’t the classics that we are used to. Did you know, for example, that Charles Darwin (you know the guy who wrote about the evolution theory) wrote a book in his lifetime about earthworms, and that book was more popular than his “On the Origins of Species”? This book is full of little facts that I never knew about, my personal favourite thing about non-fiction books, and full of authors I really want to read know!

This book is a really a history of the world through books, and you learn quite a lot of it. My only downside to it is that it doesn’t really mention anything other than Europe and the Americas, other continents wrote books and stories as well, so it’s a real shame this isn’t explored more (but maybe that’s a good idea for book 2?).

One thing that would really improve this book, is if there were a list at the end with all the books and authors mentioned so you can actually look it up once you are done. I usually read on my commute to work, so I don’t really remember the names of the people I just read about!

Other than that, if you love books, love history and love your classics, this book is really something you should get! It’s hilarious, informative and such a quick read! It only took me 4 days to finish this book, when usually I take about a week to read one book.

I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads, and you can order your own copy here!

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