I love a good book recommendation. I read through the reviews and ratings and make my informed decision about whether to invest my valuable time stepping into someone else’s story. Our own Margie Hlava recently wrote an extensive book review for The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World’s Greatest Library on Against the Grain that you might find interesting.

Spanning 50 years, this renaissance story features Hernando Colón, the beloved illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus. The story of his father you know. The story of the son is the only reason you know about the story of the father. Hernando spent much of his life fighting to preserve his father’s legacy and territorial claims and papering over his father’s excesses.

Author, Edward Wilson-Lee, tells the story of Hernando’s acquisition of the world’s knowledge into a comprehensive library. He cataloged everything he acquired so when the ship bringing his 1,637 newly acquired treasures was lost at sea in 1622 he still had a catalog of what was lost and could acquire those items again.

This literal literary journey is worth more than a glance at some of the early attempts at archiving.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.