Look at your books
But as we, readers, spend more and more time on the Internet and on e-readers, I worry that we are neglecting to appreciate all of the beautiful books.
Let’s think about it:
- “A digital book has no cover. There’s no paper to be bound up with a spine and protected inside a sturdy jacket.” …are ebooks killing the book cover?
- Designer and illustrator Chris Silas Neal speaks about the process of illustrating a picture book: “The biggest challenge illustrating this book was maintaining a healthy balance of poetic-ness with educational and factual imagery.”
- At the Center for Book Arts in New York, one can take classes on Dyed Parchment, Illuminated Manuscripts, and, of course, Bookbinding.
- The Frankenfont Project reconstructs Frankenstein using parts of incomplete fonts found in PDFs on the internet. By the end of the book, the fonts are largely non-Roman, specialized, and illegible.
- A selection from the Morgan Library:
- An inscribed first edition with original dust jacket of Faulkner’s Light in August
- An embroidered binding of The Holy Bible (ca. 1652)
- From the illuminated manuscript Hours of Catherine of Cleves, here’s Last Judgment and Man of Sorrows Petitioned by Pentitents (ca. 1440)
- Galileo Galilei’s notes on the satellites of Jupiter (14-25 January 1611)
- Designer Irma Boom talks about the creation of Sheila Hicks’s Weaving as Metaphor, judged to be the Most Beautiful Book in the World
- Maria Popova, aka the Brain Picker, lists 10 essential books on typography. Guess what: they’re all beautiful.
And in an act that, I hope, has inspired readers to think more about how books are made:
- Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been crowd-sourcing photos and anecdotes for his upcoming memoir.