Book review: Islamic Codicology by Francois Deroche

This is one of the best reference books on Islamic Manuscript Codicology. It is highly academic and educational. This book was originally published in French, written by Dr Francois Deroche, with several entries contributed by some other experts. Dr Deroche has successfully elaborated the history and the study of Islamic codicology in this book corroborated with his extended research and findings as well as contributions from other experts. 

I found this book extremely useful to me in handling & cataloguing ancient Islamic manuscripts. The book covers the history of the first written medium for Islamic literature and was prepared with the study of palaeography and book design/ binding - everything in one book. It's concise, yet very comprehensive. 
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to sit in his class and learn first-hand about this subject at The University of Cambridge recently. However the only drawback of this book is the lack of illustrations and pictures. Although there are a total of 160 illustrations, I believe that they are not good enough to enable a novice reader  to easily visualise  this subject. 
Dr. Deroche quoted a lot of examples and references from other books or findings, but they are not accompanied with illustrations. I could easily follow the course of this book as I have sat in Dr. Deroche's class, where he showed a lot of illustrations and examples which were quoted in his book, otherwise I would have been lost too. 
I understand the intent of Dr. Deroche is to keep this book as concise as possible and to illustrate all his example,s might require a bigger size of book and at least 1000 pages, yet if he had done this, the book might have become a "bible" of Islamic Codicology. I wouldn't mind  spending extra money on such a book, if it gave an answer to almost all inquiries related to this subject. 
All in all I still recommend this book for anyone who is looking to indulge in Islamic Codicology. 


Source:Review published [Online] by abu dervish, 7/10/12, http://abudervish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/book-review-09-islamic-codicology-dr.html