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Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 4 PM (ET) 

February 7 Happy Hour

An Ancient and Global History of the Book with Professor James Raven

Sponsored by the ESU Central PA Branch

As James Raven writes, "perhaps we think we know what a book is—it has a cover and a spine and it's usually printed. It might be illustrated and it's usually read, although sometimes not all the way through. But over many thousands of years, books have come in many different material forms and have served many different purposes. What, in fact, is a book? In this richly illustrated talk, Professor Raven takes us from the earliest inscribed shells, stones, and clay tablets through to knotted strings, buffalo hides, illuminated manuscripts, printed codices, and the modern digital age. This global journey invites comparisons between materials such as papyrus, silk, bamboo, and plant leaves, and explores different ways of creating texts by writing, painting, imprinting, and digitizing. In review of all this, he asks what will happen to the book in the future and challenges us to think about wider sensory aspects of the reading experience. This ESU Happy Hour is sponsored by the ESU Central PA Branch. ESU Happy Hour programs are online, free, and open to all members and the public. Registration is required. Please register here.

Register Here!

Professor James Raven FBA, former Chair of the ESU of the Commonwealth, a Professor at the Universities of Cambridge and Trondheim, Norway (and formerly at Oxford), and a Fellow of the British Academy and of Magdalene College, Cambridge, is a global authority on 'the Book', from the materials and physical structures of the form, to how books have influenced people and places at contrasting times in history, to rare titles and the libraries that house them. The author of 14 books and numerous articles and chapters, he is a regular contributor to newspapers, magazines and radio and television.

The Clover Book (Club) Cocktail

The original Clover Club cocktail dates from the late 1800s and Philadelphia's Bellevue-Stratford hotel, where writers, lawyers, and captains of industry socialized and where a favorite was this cocktail of gin, fresh lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and egg white.


  • 2 ounces of gin
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce raspberry syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • garnish: 3 raspberries


1. Add the gin, lemon juice, raspberry syrup and egg white into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously until well-chilled

2.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass

3.  Garnish with 3 speared raspberries

4.   Accompany with an open book

5.   Imbibe, drink, and text concurrently