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On Reading, Writing and Living with Books (The London Library)
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The London Library is the world's largest independent library. Founded in 1841 by Thomas Carlyle (in reaction to the "museum headache" brought on by the crowds in the British Museum Reading Room), it has become a haven for readers, writers and all who draw strength, solace or inspiration from the presence of books. Some of the most illustrious figures of the last two centuries have written, thought and walked there: George Eliot, Charles Dickens, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf and many more were members. And over time, some of these celebrated members have shared--with each other, or with an interested public--their views on the delights, challenges and joys of reading, writing and living with books. The books in "Found on the Shelves" have been chosen to give a fascinating insight into the treasures that can be found while browsing in The London Library. Now celebrating its 175th anniversary, with over seventeen miles of shelving and more than a million books, The London Library has become an unrivalled archive of the modes, manners and thoughts of each generation which has helped to form it. From essays on dieting in the 1860s to instructions for gentlewomen on trout-fishing, from advice on the ill health caused by the "modern" craze of bicycling to travelogues from Norway, they are as readable and relevant today as they were more than a century ago.
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