The British Library

The British Library 8 June

The British Library has been my favorite museum I’ve visiting in London thus far. The medieval manuscripts were amazing to see up close. Looking at a slide show of some old books is not the same as viewing them first-hand. I could see the ink marks and texture of the paper. My favorite thing I saw was the Gutenberg Bible. As a journalism major, I have been tested over who invented the printing press. Johann Gutenberg was the first to use a printing press. The Gutenberg Bible is a complete version of the Bible. There were 180 copies made and there are only four complete copies left. I heard it is the most expensive book in the world. It was incredibly beautiful and breathtaking. The printing press has changed the world immensely. I don’t know if journalism would be around without it. Before we went to the library, we learned about how manuscripts were made back then and how they hand-wrote everything. Not only did they have to hand-make the paper, but had to hand-write every page. Then they added artwork to every page, too. In class we talked about the Lindisfarne Gospels, which looked amazing in the slides that Megan showed us. Unfortunately, the page that was displayed wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be. The Magna Carta was also on display. That was incredible. I also saw some of the Beatles notes for some of their famous songs. He wrote one on the back of his son’s birthday card. It was really cool to see. Most everything was really cool to see. I liked the old manuscripts a lot. It is amazing that humans have been recording stories for thousands of years and that we still read those same stories today.

Here’s an amazing picture of the Gutenberg bible. It was so dark in there that I wasn’t able to get a picture, but here’s someone else’s picture via google.

via google

SciFi in the British Library

Science Fiction

When I arrived at the large Barnes and Noble a few weeks before I departed to London, I enquired about China Mieville’s The City and The City. “What its in the science fiction section?” “I don’t think I’ve ever read a science fiction book,” I thought. Fast-forward a month: I am standing in awe of this modern exhibit at the British Library that is dedicated to Science Fiction, a genre I thought I knew nothing about. As I roamed the exhibit, my eyes found titles such as Clockwork Orange and Slaughterhouse Five, which I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read, but I’ve heard of them.

Then it happened. I saw two of my favorite books I’ve ever been forced to read: Brave New World and 1984. What? These are science fiction? I’m so glad I saw these books displayed. It opened my mind to idea of what science fiction is and how science fiction should be considered literature. I have read 1984 in a high school English class and again in my college-level English, and it has been one of my favorite class reads for years. The idea of a changed society and all the implications of a government is so fascinating. Classes should definitely use science fiction as a learning tool. It is fascinating how past science fiction works have predicted some of our inventions today, such as, the telephone, video communication and such. I believe that science fiction is a really neat literary genre – now that I understand a little more of what it is.