Book Info :
Title : Islamic Codicology : An Introduction to the Study of Manuscripts in Arabic Script
Author : Francois Deroche
Publisher : Al Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation
Pages : 395 pages
This is one of the best reference books I have ever read 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 succesfully eloborated 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 is extremely useful to me in handling & cataloging ancient Islamic manuscripts.
The book covers from the history of the first written medium for Islamic literature was prepared till the study of paleography and book design/ binding - everything in one book. It's concise, yet very comprehensive.
I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to sit in his class and learn first hand about this subject at 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 in this book, yet I believe that there are not good enough to enable a novice reader of this subject to visualize easily in 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 class where he showed a lot of illustrations and examples which were quoted in his book otherwise I could 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 examples might require a bigger size of book and at least 1000 pages, yet should he have done that, this book might have become a "bible" of Islamic Codicology. I wouldn't mind to spend extra money on such a book if it will give an aswer 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.