Reading the Fine Print

CE-avatar Cara/Andrea here,

In that strange synchronicity of thought that sometimes swirls through the ether, it appears that Susan and I both decided to talk about books and why we love them this week. In the spirit of “there can never be too much of a good thing,” I shall, however, stick to my inkly guns, for I intend to a more “hands-on” approach.

Hypne2pg

LetterpressslugsConsider Susan’s lovely words and pictures on the beauty of a room filled with books as a prologue to my post, so to speak. Her waxing poetic on the look, the feel, the smell and the texture of real books echoes my own elemental affinity for ink and paper.

Now, that said, allow me to give you a little backstory on how those lovely library shelves come to be filled with bibliographic treasures . . .

Gutenberg I love the printed page. For me, it’s the aesthetics—though in truth, much of the subtle nuances have been lost these days in the blur of cheap newsprint and mechanized speed-demon presses that spit out zillions of copies per hour. So what I really mean is, I love the printed page from the centuries when its creation was a labor of love as well as profit.

From the mid 15th century, when Gutenberg set his eponymous Bible in moveable type, to the late 19th century when Ottmar Mergenthaler invented the revolutionary linotype machine, printers were artists of a sort, painstakingly creating each word out of individual letters cast in lead. (Equipped with a typewriter-style keyboard, the linotype machine allowed a typesetter to compose an entire line of text, which was then cast in one piece of metal—thus it’s called “hot type” as opposed to traditional “cold type” where each word is composed of individual lead letters.) A printer’s workshop—the sort of which I speak—was a whole little world unto itself, with its own arcane language and its own quirky traditions.

So now, let’s roll up our sleeves (warning—in printing, you have to be willing to get your hands dirty!) and take a quick primer course on how a “real” printed page is created.

Type 2 These are pieces of type, cast out of lead. They are called "sorts" in printer's lingo—hence the term "out of sorts" because when a printer ran out of type while setting a page, it was not a happy moment. There are hundreds—no, thousands—of different typeface designs, from elegant serifs  to flowery scripts to austere sans serifs. A printer usually tries to match the type to the “feel” of the text. In other words, Lord Byron’s poetry would, to my eye,  look awkward set in Helvetica bold. Once a typeface is chosen, the printer decides on the size of the page, the width of the text, and the size of the actual type. Another variable is leading, which as the name implies, consists of actual strips of lead that are inserted between the lines of type. They range in thickness from a hairline (yes, this is an actual measure) to a wide variety of  “points,” i.e 3 pts. of leading, 6 pts. of leading, etc.

Type-3 What’s a point? I did warn you that printing has its own language and customs. Traditionally, printers use a measuring system based on picas rather than inches. There are roughly 6 picas to an inch, and 12 points to a pica. Type sizes are also measured this way—you are probably all familiar with 12 pt. Times Roman on your computer, right? Well, even in this digital age, points and picas remain the standard for designers and printers. 

As you can imagine, print workshops are filled with cabinets full of leading in a vast array of lengths and widths. They are also filled with drawers of lead “spacers” Em spacers, en spacers, word spacers, hairline spacers . . . okay, you get the point.

Composing-stick Once all these decisions are made, the work begins! A composing stick, which has a moveable locking end that can be adjusted to various widths, is used to hold the letters. The type is set upside down and right to left, so the page can be built on top of itself. (printers develop an uncanny ability for reading this way.) A printer takes his letters from a type case, which holds one size and style of type. Is it arranged alphabetically? Oh no, that would be far too easy. It’s arranged by the frequency of use—the vowels are closest to the center, and range outward, with Zs and Qs toward the outer edges. Again, printers and their assistants—or “monkeys”—must memorize the arcane arrangement, for when a page is finished, the type must be ‘distributed” back to its proper place. And nothing makes a printer curse more than finding the wrong letter in the wrong compartment!

Typecase-composite

Quoins When the stick is filled, the  lines tied off with a length of twine to keep from spilling helter-skelter, and moved to a composing tray. Once a page is complete, it’s time to go to press. There are a variety of press styles, but let’s stick with a flat bed proofing press. The type, which is all cast to a standard height, is locked into place with wooden “furniture,” which are blocks of wood that are tightened with a printer’s quoin and key. The pressure is key. Too little and the type will wobble under the pressure of the print cylinder, causing a smeared impression, or actually breaking the type. Too much and the type will be squeezed up, with the same results.

Type-1

Typefaces The printer is now ready for paper . . . oh, don’t get me started on paper! Like typefaces, paper comes in an infinite variety of textures, colors and weights. Plain white? No such thing. There are warm whites (undertones of yellow), cool whites (undertones of blue), pearl whites, cream whites . . .you get the picture. And then there is grain. It’s important to print with the grain going parallel to the binding, otherwise a finished book may warp in a weird way. All paper has a grain, which is determined by the way the paper fibers are aligned during the papermaking process. Take a sheet, curl it up as if you were going to fold it in half (but don’t) and test the pressure against you palm. Do it in both directions. One way will have more resistance than the other. This is ‘going against the grain.” It’s a real no-no to mix  the direction of the grain—pages always be printed with the grain going the same way. If the paper is dampened very slightly, it takes a better impression. But the process is very time-consuming. Today, some artisan printers still follow the tradition, however it is becoming a lost art.

Press1 Now, back to the press . . . a sheet of paper is clipped into place on the cylinder, which rolls over the inked type (on a flat bed press, there are soft gelatin rollers below the paper cylinder, which lay a light layer of ink over the lead.) A printer will adjust the pressure of the paper against the type by adding or subtracting thin sheets of paper, calling packing, beneath the actual printing paper. Connoisseurs of fine printing consider a “perfect” impression is one where you can feel just a ghost of embossing from the lead letters.  Again, too much pressure and the type will look heavy and distorted. Too little pressure and the type will be faint and uneven. And then there is the subject of adding illustration to the text. However that is a whole other can of worms (or block of wood, as the case may be!)

This is, admittedly a very basic explanation of the process. There are many nuances of printing left unsaid, but I hope you begin to see why I consider a printer of real books to be an artist.

Kelmscott_chaucer-larger

KelmscottPress2 I could go on and on and on about the books I consider beautiful. But that would take up far too much space, so I’ll leave you with just a few parting images. Here are two examples that I love from the Kelmscott Press, the magnificent workshop founded by William Morris, a leader of the Arts & Crafts movement in the late 19th century. (top and left) And here is a special treasure from my own library—a handmade book with original etchings by Lance Hidy.  (bottom)

How about you? What do your feel about paper vs. digital? And do you have a favorite “aesthetic” book—one that you love for its look and feel, regardless of the subject matter?

Hidy

110 thoughts on “Reading the Fine Print”

  1. Hi Cara/Andrea, I seem to compartmentalise my books. The modern books )paper backs etc.) I like for their content, but for older books I like for their printing, their covers, and then their content. My favourite books are a set of Napier’s Peninsular War. Its a 3rd edition, six volumes, and beautifully leather bound, and yes I have read it through a number of times. Another of my favourites is an old atlas from 1887 (again leather bound) which is really fascinating because it shows how the world has changed since then. Actually I could go on and on because I seem to have numerous favourites now I have started. So I will stop and say I just love books.

    Reply
  2. Hi Cara/Andrea, I seem to compartmentalise my books. The modern books )paper backs etc.) I like for their content, but for older books I like for their printing, their covers, and then their content. My favourite books are a set of Napier’s Peninsular War. Its a 3rd edition, six volumes, and beautifully leather bound, and yes I have read it through a number of times. Another of my favourites is an old atlas from 1887 (again leather bound) which is really fascinating because it shows how the world has changed since then. Actually I could go on and on because I seem to have numerous favourites now I have started. So I will stop and say I just love books.

    Reply
  3. Hi Cara/Andrea, I seem to compartmentalise my books. The modern books )paper backs etc.) I like for their content, but for older books I like for their printing, their covers, and then their content. My favourite books are a set of Napier’s Peninsular War. Its a 3rd edition, six volumes, and beautifully leather bound, and yes I have read it through a number of times. Another of my favourites is an old atlas from 1887 (again leather bound) which is really fascinating because it shows how the world has changed since then. Actually I could go on and on because I seem to have numerous favourites now I have started. So I will stop and say I just love books.

    Reply
  4. Hi Cara/Andrea, I seem to compartmentalise my books. The modern books )paper backs etc.) I like for their content, but for older books I like for their printing, their covers, and then their content. My favourite books are a set of Napier’s Peninsular War. Its a 3rd edition, six volumes, and beautifully leather bound, and yes I have read it through a number of times. Another of my favourites is an old atlas from 1887 (again leather bound) which is really fascinating because it shows how the world has changed since then. Actually I could go on and on because I seem to have numerous favourites now I have started. So I will stop and say I just love books.

    Reply
  5. Hi Cara/Andrea, I seem to compartmentalise my books. The modern books )paper backs etc.) I like for their content, but for older books I like for their printing, their covers, and then their content. My favourite books are a set of Napier’s Peninsular War. Its a 3rd edition, six volumes, and beautifully leather bound, and yes I have read it through a number of times. Another of my favourites is an old atlas from 1887 (again leather bound) which is really fascinating because it shows how the world has changed since then. Actually I could go on and on because I seem to have numerous favourites now I have started. So I will stop and say I just love books.

    Reply
  6. LOL, Jenny! Once I get started talking about what books I love and why, I could go on forever!
    Your treasures sound wonderful! I know what you mean about the old atlas. I have several from the same time period, and it’s fascinating to see the images, and read the descriptions. It’s incredibly revealing as to how people saw themselves and their place in the world, especially in relation to the colonial world. As a social commentary they are a very rich source of background information.

    Reply
  7. LOL, Jenny! Once I get started talking about what books I love and why, I could go on forever!
    Your treasures sound wonderful! I know what you mean about the old atlas. I have several from the same time period, and it’s fascinating to see the images, and read the descriptions. It’s incredibly revealing as to how people saw themselves and their place in the world, especially in relation to the colonial world. As a social commentary they are a very rich source of background information.

    Reply
  8. LOL, Jenny! Once I get started talking about what books I love and why, I could go on forever!
    Your treasures sound wonderful! I know what you mean about the old atlas. I have several from the same time period, and it’s fascinating to see the images, and read the descriptions. It’s incredibly revealing as to how people saw themselves and their place in the world, especially in relation to the colonial world. As a social commentary they are a very rich source of background information.

    Reply
  9. LOL, Jenny! Once I get started talking about what books I love and why, I could go on forever!
    Your treasures sound wonderful! I know what you mean about the old atlas. I have several from the same time period, and it’s fascinating to see the images, and read the descriptions. It’s incredibly revealing as to how people saw themselves and their place in the world, especially in relation to the colonial world. As a social commentary they are a very rich source of background information.

    Reply
  10. LOL, Jenny! Once I get started talking about what books I love and why, I could go on forever!
    Your treasures sound wonderful! I know what you mean about the old atlas. I have several from the same time period, and it’s fascinating to see the images, and read the descriptions. It’s incredibly revealing as to how people saw themselves and their place in the world, especially in relation to the colonial world. As a social commentary they are a very rich source of background information.

    Reply
  11. You too can write just like Jane Austen. A font artist created a font in her handwriting.
    http://www.fontriver.com/font/jane_austen/
    I play with fonts because I can’t do calligraphy, but the cold type seems even more satisfying. Thank you for the explanation of the shape of type boxes. My parents bought several of them to hang on the wall back in the 1960s from an awesome salvage place called Homewreckers in Connecticut. I think they even bought some type too.

    Reply
  12. You too can write just like Jane Austen. A font artist created a font in her handwriting.
    http://www.fontriver.com/font/jane_austen/
    I play with fonts because I can’t do calligraphy, but the cold type seems even more satisfying. Thank you for the explanation of the shape of type boxes. My parents bought several of them to hang on the wall back in the 1960s from an awesome salvage place called Homewreckers in Connecticut. I think they even bought some type too.

    Reply
  13. You too can write just like Jane Austen. A font artist created a font in her handwriting.
    http://www.fontriver.com/font/jane_austen/
    I play with fonts because I can’t do calligraphy, but the cold type seems even more satisfying. Thank you for the explanation of the shape of type boxes. My parents bought several of them to hang on the wall back in the 1960s from an awesome salvage place called Homewreckers in Connecticut. I think they even bought some type too.

    Reply
  14. You too can write just like Jane Austen. A font artist created a font in her handwriting.
    http://www.fontriver.com/font/jane_austen/
    I play with fonts because I can’t do calligraphy, but the cold type seems even more satisfying. Thank you for the explanation of the shape of type boxes. My parents bought several of them to hang on the wall back in the 1960s from an awesome salvage place called Homewreckers in Connecticut. I think they even bought some type too.

    Reply
  15. You too can write just like Jane Austen. A font artist created a font in her handwriting.
    http://www.fontriver.com/font/jane_austen/
    I play with fonts because I can’t do calligraphy, but the cold type seems even more satisfying. Thank you for the explanation of the shape of type boxes. My parents bought several of them to hang on the wall back in the 1960s from an awesome salvage place called Homewreckers in Connecticut. I think they even bought some type too.

    Reply
  16. I never knew this stuff. Great to hear about it.
    I love books in any way, manner, or form. I can appreciate the aesthetics of a beautifully crafted paper book, as well as the convenience and price of a cheap paperback or ebook.
    Sometimes you need to flip back and forth, and a paper book is great for that. Doing that on a computer screen is just about impossible.
    I’d rather have a cyber version available than not have access to the book at all. Google Books is great for finding original sources.
    The more books the better, as far as I’m concerned. Books forever!

    Reply
  17. I never knew this stuff. Great to hear about it.
    I love books in any way, manner, or form. I can appreciate the aesthetics of a beautifully crafted paper book, as well as the convenience and price of a cheap paperback or ebook.
    Sometimes you need to flip back and forth, and a paper book is great for that. Doing that on a computer screen is just about impossible.
    I’d rather have a cyber version available than not have access to the book at all. Google Books is great for finding original sources.
    The more books the better, as far as I’m concerned. Books forever!

    Reply
  18. I never knew this stuff. Great to hear about it.
    I love books in any way, manner, or form. I can appreciate the aesthetics of a beautifully crafted paper book, as well as the convenience and price of a cheap paperback or ebook.
    Sometimes you need to flip back and forth, and a paper book is great for that. Doing that on a computer screen is just about impossible.
    I’d rather have a cyber version available than not have access to the book at all. Google Books is great for finding original sources.
    The more books the better, as far as I’m concerned. Books forever!

    Reply
  19. I never knew this stuff. Great to hear about it.
    I love books in any way, manner, or form. I can appreciate the aesthetics of a beautifully crafted paper book, as well as the convenience and price of a cheap paperback or ebook.
    Sometimes you need to flip back and forth, and a paper book is great for that. Doing that on a computer screen is just about impossible.
    I’d rather have a cyber version available than not have access to the book at all. Google Books is great for finding original sources.
    The more books the better, as far as I’m concerned. Books forever!

    Reply
  20. I never knew this stuff. Great to hear about it.
    I love books in any way, manner, or form. I can appreciate the aesthetics of a beautifully crafted paper book, as well as the convenience and price of a cheap paperback or ebook.
    Sometimes you need to flip back and forth, and a paper book is great for that. Doing that on a computer screen is just about impossible.
    I’d rather have a cyber version available than not have access to the book at all. Google Books is great for finding original sources.
    The more books the better, as far as I’m concerned. Books forever!

    Reply
  21. LynS, thank you for the link to the font site. I’ve seen it before but forgot to bookmark it. Now I will keep it handy. How fun!
    Oh, I know Homewrexkers in CT! A fabulous place for salvage stuff. But I have to say, I get sad seeing type cases hung on walls. So much beautiful cold type has been melted down for scrap, making it harder for artisan printers to get their hands on old fonts.

    Reply
  22. LynS, thank you for the link to the font site. I’ve seen it before but forgot to bookmark it. Now I will keep it handy. How fun!
    Oh, I know Homewrexkers in CT! A fabulous place for salvage stuff. But I have to say, I get sad seeing type cases hung on walls. So much beautiful cold type has been melted down for scrap, making it harder for artisan printers to get their hands on old fonts.

    Reply
  23. LynS, thank you for the link to the font site. I’ve seen it before but forgot to bookmark it. Now I will keep it handy. How fun!
    Oh, I know Homewrexkers in CT! A fabulous place for salvage stuff. But I have to say, I get sad seeing type cases hung on walls. So much beautiful cold type has been melted down for scrap, making it harder for artisan printers to get their hands on old fonts.

    Reply
  24. LynS, thank you for the link to the font site. I’ve seen it before but forgot to bookmark it. Now I will keep it handy. How fun!
    Oh, I know Homewrexkers in CT! A fabulous place for salvage stuff. But I have to say, I get sad seeing type cases hung on walls. So much beautiful cold type has been melted down for scrap, making it harder for artisan printers to get their hands on old fonts.

    Reply
  25. LynS, thank you for the link to the font site. I’ve seen it before but forgot to bookmark it. Now I will keep it handy. How fun!
    Oh, I know Homewrexkers in CT! A fabulous place for salvage stuff. But I have to say, I get sad seeing type cases hung on walls. So much beautiful cold type has been melted down for scrap, making it harder for artisan printers to get their hands on old fonts.

    Reply
  26. Linda, I couldn’t agree more about digital/cyber books having an important place in our reading universe. Google Books gives great access to hard-to-find material, and for that we should all be happy. Still, the feel of paper and the smell of ink will always make my heart flutter in ways a computer screen can’t.

    Reply
  27. Linda, I couldn’t agree more about digital/cyber books having an important place in our reading universe. Google Books gives great access to hard-to-find material, and for that we should all be happy. Still, the feel of paper and the smell of ink will always make my heart flutter in ways a computer screen can’t.

    Reply
  28. Linda, I couldn’t agree more about digital/cyber books having an important place in our reading universe. Google Books gives great access to hard-to-find material, and for that we should all be happy. Still, the feel of paper and the smell of ink will always make my heart flutter in ways a computer screen can’t.

    Reply
  29. Linda, I couldn’t agree more about digital/cyber books having an important place in our reading universe. Google Books gives great access to hard-to-find material, and for that we should all be happy. Still, the feel of paper and the smell of ink will always make my heart flutter in ways a computer screen can’t.

    Reply
  30. Linda, I couldn’t agree more about digital/cyber books having an important place in our reading universe. Google Books gives great access to hard-to-find material, and for that we should all be happy. Still, the feel of paper and the smell of ink will always make my heart flutter in ways a computer screen can’t.

    Reply
  31. What a great post, Andrea! Love the parallels and the way our posts complement each other. And this is fascinating stuff, thank you for taking time to lay out each step in the process of early printed books, which looked back in many of its forms and details to hand produced manuscripts — and now, even with all our digital processes, we still preserve the forms and details, though the production is a whole lot easier. Still, there’s nothing like the smell of ink, paper and even the metal of blocks and presses.
    It’s apparently Book Appreciation Week at Word Wenches! Certainly I’m feeling more appreciative of the volumes on my bookshelves right now, and all that went into producing them (especially the really old ones!). 😉
    Susan

    Reply
  32. What a great post, Andrea! Love the parallels and the way our posts complement each other. And this is fascinating stuff, thank you for taking time to lay out each step in the process of early printed books, which looked back in many of its forms and details to hand produced manuscripts — and now, even with all our digital processes, we still preserve the forms and details, though the production is a whole lot easier. Still, there’s nothing like the smell of ink, paper and even the metal of blocks and presses.
    It’s apparently Book Appreciation Week at Word Wenches! Certainly I’m feeling more appreciative of the volumes on my bookshelves right now, and all that went into producing them (especially the really old ones!). 😉
    Susan

    Reply
  33. What a great post, Andrea! Love the parallels and the way our posts complement each other. And this is fascinating stuff, thank you for taking time to lay out each step in the process of early printed books, which looked back in many of its forms and details to hand produced manuscripts — and now, even with all our digital processes, we still preserve the forms and details, though the production is a whole lot easier. Still, there’s nothing like the smell of ink, paper and even the metal of blocks and presses.
    It’s apparently Book Appreciation Week at Word Wenches! Certainly I’m feeling more appreciative of the volumes on my bookshelves right now, and all that went into producing them (especially the really old ones!). 😉
    Susan

    Reply
  34. What a great post, Andrea! Love the parallels and the way our posts complement each other. And this is fascinating stuff, thank you for taking time to lay out each step in the process of early printed books, which looked back in many of its forms and details to hand produced manuscripts — and now, even with all our digital processes, we still preserve the forms and details, though the production is a whole lot easier. Still, there’s nothing like the smell of ink, paper and even the metal of blocks and presses.
    It’s apparently Book Appreciation Week at Word Wenches! Certainly I’m feeling more appreciative of the volumes on my bookshelves right now, and all that went into producing them (especially the really old ones!). 😉
    Susan

    Reply
  35. What a great post, Andrea! Love the parallels and the way our posts complement each other. And this is fascinating stuff, thank you for taking time to lay out each step in the process of early printed books, which looked back in many of its forms and details to hand produced manuscripts — and now, even with all our digital processes, we still preserve the forms and details, though the production is a whole lot easier. Still, there’s nothing like the smell of ink, paper and even the metal of blocks and presses.
    It’s apparently Book Appreciation Week at Word Wenches! Certainly I’m feeling more appreciative of the volumes on my bookshelves right now, and all that went into producing them (especially the really old ones!). 😉
    Susan

    Reply
  36. It really was Book Week at the Wenches. 🙂
    So glad you enjoy a brief overview of the printing process. Lots more to cover, but those things can be topics for future posts. Am looking at my shelves of books and inhaling the faint fragrance of ink. And loving it.

    Reply
  37. It really was Book Week at the Wenches. 🙂
    So glad you enjoy a brief overview of the printing process. Lots more to cover, but those things can be topics for future posts. Am looking at my shelves of books and inhaling the faint fragrance of ink. And loving it.

    Reply
  38. It really was Book Week at the Wenches. 🙂
    So glad you enjoy a brief overview of the printing process. Lots more to cover, but those things can be topics for future posts. Am looking at my shelves of books and inhaling the faint fragrance of ink. And loving it.

    Reply
  39. It really was Book Week at the Wenches. 🙂
    So glad you enjoy a brief overview of the printing process. Lots more to cover, but those things can be topics for future posts. Am looking at my shelves of books and inhaling the faint fragrance of ink. And loving it.

    Reply
  40. It really was Book Week at the Wenches. 🙂
    So glad you enjoy a brief overview of the printing process. Lots more to cover, but those things can be topics for future posts. Am looking at my shelves of books and inhaling the faint fragrance of ink. And loving it.

    Reply
  41. Hooray for Book Week! More! 🙂
    I was so excited when I got to see the Book of Kells on display at the Trinity College Library, Dublin, shown in Susan/Sarah’s post! Illuminating manuscripts remains for another blog post! 🙂
    Dh and I have a lot of books but we have one shelf dedicated to the really old ones, like his great-grandmother’s Dutch Bible she brought across the ocean with her and others. I love the feel of the leather and imagining all of the other hands which have held that volume.
    My dad collects used and rare books so I guess it runs in the family. 🙂

    Reply
  42. Hooray for Book Week! More! 🙂
    I was so excited when I got to see the Book of Kells on display at the Trinity College Library, Dublin, shown in Susan/Sarah’s post! Illuminating manuscripts remains for another blog post! 🙂
    Dh and I have a lot of books but we have one shelf dedicated to the really old ones, like his great-grandmother’s Dutch Bible she brought across the ocean with her and others. I love the feel of the leather and imagining all of the other hands which have held that volume.
    My dad collects used and rare books so I guess it runs in the family. 🙂

    Reply
  43. Hooray for Book Week! More! 🙂
    I was so excited when I got to see the Book of Kells on display at the Trinity College Library, Dublin, shown in Susan/Sarah’s post! Illuminating manuscripts remains for another blog post! 🙂
    Dh and I have a lot of books but we have one shelf dedicated to the really old ones, like his great-grandmother’s Dutch Bible she brought across the ocean with her and others. I love the feel of the leather and imagining all of the other hands which have held that volume.
    My dad collects used and rare books so I guess it runs in the family. 🙂

    Reply
  44. Hooray for Book Week! More! 🙂
    I was so excited when I got to see the Book of Kells on display at the Trinity College Library, Dublin, shown in Susan/Sarah’s post! Illuminating manuscripts remains for another blog post! 🙂
    Dh and I have a lot of books but we have one shelf dedicated to the really old ones, like his great-grandmother’s Dutch Bible she brought across the ocean with her and others. I love the feel of the leather and imagining all of the other hands which have held that volume.
    My dad collects used and rare books so I guess it runs in the family. 🙂

    Reply
  45. Hooray for Book Week! More! 🙂
    I was so excited when I got to see the Book of Kells on display at the Trinity College Library, Dublin, shown in Susan/Sarah’s post! Illuminating manuscripts remains for another blog post! 🙂
    Dh and I have a lot of books but we have one shelf dedicated to the really old ones, like his great-grandmother’s Dutch Bible she brought across the ocean with her and others. I love the feel of the leather and imagining all of the other hands which have held that volume.
    My dad collects used and rare books so I guess it runs in the family. 🙂

    Reply
  46. Anne, I, too, find part of the allure of old books to be imagining the people who have touched them through the years, and enjoyed the same pleasures of the page that I savor. It’s a wonderful affirmation of the power of the written word. The expression of ideas and emotions is what helps link us together, from generation to generation, from century to century.
    I’ve yet to view the Book of Kells, but it’s high on my “Must See” list.

    Reply
  47. Anne, I, too, find part of the allure of old books to be imagining the people who have touched them through the years, and enjoyed the same pleasures of the page that I savor. It’s a wonderful affirmation of the power of the written word. The expression of ideas and emotions is what helps link us together, from generation to generation, from century to century.
    I’ve yet to view the Book of Kells, but it’s high on my “Must See” list.

    Reply
  48. Anne, I, too, find part of the allure of old books to be imagining the people who have touched them through the years, and enjoyed the same pleasures of the page that I savor. It’s a wonderful affirmation of the power of the written word. The expression of ideas and emotions is what helps link us together, from generation to generation, from century to century.
    I’ve yet to view the Book of Kells, but it’s high on my “Must See” list.

    Reply
  49. Anne, I, too, find part of the allure of old books to be imagining the people who have touched them through the years, and enjoyed the same pleasures of the page that I savor. It’s a wonderful affirmation of the power of the written word. The expression of ideas and emotions is what helps link us together, from generation to generation, from century to century.
    I’ve yet to view the Book of Kells, but it’s high on my “Must See” list.

    Reply
  50. Anne, I, too, find part of the allure of old books to be imagining the people who have touched them through the years, and enjoyed the same pleasures of the page that I savor. It’s a wonderful affirmation of the power of the written word. The expression of ideas and emotions is what helps link us together, from generation to generation, from century to century.
    I’ve yet to view the Book of Kells, but it’s high on my “Must See” list.

    Reply
  51. Fabulous post Cara/Andrea — I don’t think there’s any problem with you and Susan talking about the same thing. I daresay we could all write about the same topic and they’d all be different.
    I love the feel of real books. And books of different eras evoke those times so strongly. I remember once when I was a poor university student I spent a LOT of money on a printed book of Haiku, not because I had such a passion for haiku, but because the book was so beautiful in every way. I still treasure it.

    Reply
  52. Fabulous post Cara/Andrea — I don’t think there’s any problem with you and Susan talking about the same thing. I daresay we could all write about the same topic and they’d all be different.
    I love the feel of real books. And books of different eras evoke those times so strongly. I remember once when I was a poor university student I spent a LOT of money on a printed book of Haiku, not because I had such a passion for haiku, but because the book was so beautiful in every way. I still treasure it.

    Reply
  53. Fabulous post Cara/Andrea — I don’t think there’s any problem with you and Susan talking about the same thing. I daresay we could all write about the same topic and they’d all be different.
    I love the feel of real books. And books of different eras evoke those times so strongly. I remember once when I was a poor university student I spent a LOT of money on a printed book of Haiku, not because I had such a passion for haiku, but because the book was so beautiful in every way. I still treasure it.

    Reply
  54. Fabulous post Cara/Andrea — I don’t think there’s any problem with you and Susan talking about the same thing. I daresay we could all write about the same topic and they’d all be different.
    I love the feel of real books. And books of different eras evoke those times so strongly. I remember once when I was a poor university student I spent a LOT of money on a printed book of Haiku, not because I had such a passion for haiku, but because the book was so beautiful in every way. I still treasure it.

    Reply
  55. Fabulous post Cara/Andrea — I don’t think there’s any problem with you and Susan talking about the same thing. I daresay we could all write about the same topic and they’d all be different.
    I love the feel of real books. And books of different eras evoke those times so strongly. I remember once when I was a poor university student I spent a LOT of money on a printed book of Haiku, not because I had such a passion for haiku, but because the book was so beautiful in every way. I still treasure it.

    Reply
  56. Aloha, Cara! We spent the week in Maui with little internet conenction, so I am catching up on blog reading. I left a comment on Susan’s blog about the treasures I find as I sort donations to the Thrift Shop. When I hold 100+ year old books, it makes me think how much the readers of that generation appreciated the opportunity to read a book that was handcrafted.
    And my favorite place in the entire world remains Hay on Wye – a town of books in Wales. I get goosebumps thinking of the treasures waiting to be found in the numerous book shops in this historic border town.

    Reply
  57. Aloha, Cara! We spent the week in Maui with little internet conenction, so I am catching up on blog reading. I left a comment on Susan’s blog about the treasures I find as I sort donations to the Thrift Shop. When I hold 100+ year old books, it makes me think how much the readers of that generation appreciated the opportunity to read a book that was handcrafted.
    And my favorite place in the entire world remains Hay on Wye – a town of books in Wales. I get goosebumps thinking of the treasures waiting to be found in the numerous book shops in this historic border town.

    Reply
  58. Aloha, Cara! We spent the week in Maui with little internet conenction, so I am catching up on blog reading. I left a comment on Susan’s blog about the treasures I find as I sort donations to the Thrift Shop. When I hold 100+ year old books, it makes me think how much the readers of that generation appreciated the opportunity to read a book that was handcrafted.
    And my favorite place in the entire world remains Hay on Wye – a town of books in Wales. I get goosebumps thinking of the treasures waiting to be found in the numerous book shops in this historic border town.

    Reply
  59. Aloha, Cara! We spent the week in Maui with little internet conenction, so I am catching up on blog reading. I left a comment on Susan’s blog about the treasures I find as I sort donations to the Thrift Shop. When I hold 100+ year old books, it makes me think how much the readers of that generation appreciated the opportunity to read a book that was handcrafted.
    And my favorite place in the entire world remains Hay on Wye – a town of books in Wales. I get goosebumps thinking of the treasures waiting to be found in the numerous book shops in this historic border town.

    Reply
  60. Aloha, Cara! We spent the week in Maui with little internet conenction, so I am catching up on blog reading. I left a comment on Susan’s blog about the treasures I find as I sort donations to the Thrift Shop. When I hold 100+ year old books, it makes me think how much the readers of that generation appreciated the opportunity to read a book that was handcrafted.
    And my favorite place in the entire world remains Hay on Wye – a town of books in Wales. I get goosebumps thinking of the treasures waiting to be found in the numerous book shops in this historic border town.

    Reply
  61. Glad you enjoyed the post, Anne. There really is something iiresistible about the tactile pleasures of a real book, as well as the thoughts they provoke on the past. You will never get that with digital, LOL.
    I’ve bought a LOT of books at library and yard sales simply because they are beautiful, not because of the subject matter. Don’t regret a one of them. 🙂

    Reply
  62. Glad you enjoyed the post, Anne. There really is something iiresistible about the tactile pleasures of a real book, as well as the thoughts they provoke on the past. You will never get that with digital, LOL.
    I’ve bought a LOT of books at library and yard sales simply because they are beautiful, not because of the subject matter. Don’t regret a one of them. 🙂

    Reply
  63. Glad you enjoyed the post, Anne. There really is something iiresistible about the tactile pleasures of a real book, as well as the thoughts they provoke on the past. You will never get that with digital, LOL.
    I’ve bought a LOT of books at library and yard sales simply because they are beautiful, not because of the subject matter. Don’t regret a one of them. 🙂

    Reply
  64. Glad you enjoyed the post, Anne. There really is something iiresistible about the tactile pleasures of a real book, as well as the thoughts they provoke on the past. You will never get that with digital, LOL.
    I’ve bought a LOT of books at library and yard sales simply because they are beautiful, not because of the subject matter. Don’t regret a one of them. 🙂

    Reply
  65. Glad you enjoyed the post, Anne. There really is something iiresistible about the tactile pleasures of a real book, as well as the thoughts they provoke on the past. You will never get that with digital, LOL.
    I’ve bought a LOT of books at library and yard sales simply because they are beautiful, not because of the subject matter. Don’t regret a one of them. 🙂

    Reply
  66. Hope you enjoyed Maui, Kim. Sounds wonderful!
    Hay-on-Wye is a place I just have to visit next time I am in Britain. Didn’t get a chance this summer, but am hoping to go to the festival one of these years. I can’t imagine a more fun few days than prowling a town brimming with books!

    Reply
  67. Hope you enjoyed Maui, Kim. Sounds wonderful!
    Hay-on-Wye is a place I just have to visit next time I am in Britain. Didn’t get a chance this summer, but am hoping to go to the festival one of these years. I can’t imagine a more fun few days than prowling a town brimming with books!

    Reply
  68. Hope you enjoyed Maui, Kim. Sounds wonderful!
    Hay-on-Wye is a place I just have to visit next time I am in Britain. Didn’t get a chance this summer, but am hoping to go to the festival one of these years. I can’t imagine a more fun few days than prowling a town brimming with books!

    Reply
  69. Hope you enjoyed Maui, Kim. Sounds wonderful!
    Hay-on-Wye is a place I just have to visit next time I am in Britain. Didn’t get a chance this summer, but am hoping to go to the festival one of these years. I can’t imagine a more fun few days than prowling a town brimming with books!

    Reply
  70. Hope you enjoyed Maui, Kim. Sounds wonderful!
    Hay-on-Wye is a place I just have to visit next time I am in Britain. Didn’t get a chance this summer, but am hoping to go to the festival one of these years. I can’t imagine a more fun few days than prowling a town brimming with books!

    Reply
  71. Ahhh… As a typesetter/designer turned writer, this post made me yearn for days past. Not salaries past, mind you, just days. 🙂
    Thanks!
    Mattski

    Reply
  72. Ahhh… As a typesetter/designer turned writer, this post made me yearn for days past. Not salaries past, mind you, just days. 🙂
    Thanks!
    Mattski

    Reply
  73. Ahhh… As a typesetter/designer turned writer, this post made me yearn for days past. Not salaries past, mind you, just days. 🙂
    Thanks!
    Mattski

    Reply
  74. Ahhh… As a typesetter/designer turned writer, this post made me yearn for days past. Not salaries past, mind you, just days. 🙂
    Thanks!
    Mattski

    Reply
  75. Ahhh… As a typesetter/designer turned writer, this post made me yearn for days past. Not salaries past, mind you, just days. 🙂
    Thanks!
    Mattski

    Reply
  76. So glad this brought back good memories Mattski. We come from similar backgrounds!
    I spent a lot of time playing with a Vandercook 211 proofing press and loved the whole process of creating a printed page. Even the tedious tasks of cleaning up ink and distributing type, which has its own soothing rhythm. So I also have very fond memories of typsetting.

    Reply
  77. So glad this brought back good memories Mattski. We come from similar backgrounds!
    I spent a lot of time playing with a Vandercook 211 proofing press and loved the whole process of creating a printed page. Even the tedious tasks of cleaning up ink and distributing type, which has its own soothing rhythm. So I also have very fond memories of typsetting.

    Reply
  78. So glad this brought back good memories Mattski. We come from similar backgrounds!
    I spent a lot of time playing with a Vandercook 211 proofing press and loved the whole process of creating a printed page. Even the tedious tasks of cleaning up ink and distributing type, which has its own soothing rhythm. So I also have very fond memories of typsetting.

    Reply
  79. So glad this brought back good memories Mattski. We come from similar backgrounds!
    I spent a lot of time playing with a Vandercook 211 proofing press and loved the whole process of creating a printed page. Even the tedious tasks of cleaning up ink and distributing type, which has its own soothing rhythm. So I also have very fond memories of typsetting.

    Reply
  80. So glad this brought back good memories Mattski. We come from similar backgrounds!
    I spent a lot of time playing with a Vandercook 211 proofing press and loved the whole process of creating a printed page. Even the tedious tasks of cleaning up ink and distributing type, which has its own soothing rhythm. So I also have very fond memories of typsetting.

    Reply
  81. The oldest book in my library is a Calvin’s Institutes dating back to 1769. I’ve told my husband that he is not allowed to yellow highlight that one. I took up antique book repair because we were getting so many very old books that needed some work done to them and taking them to a book binder meant they would rip out the old cover and whack on a new one, and you lose all the romance and history of the book. I didn’t want that.

    Reply
  82. The oldest book in my library is a Calvin’s Institutes dating back to 1769. I’ve told my husband that he is not allowed to yellow highlight that one. I took up antique book repair because we were getting so many very old books that needed some work done to them and taking them to a book binder meant they would rip out the old cover and whack on a new one, and you lose all the romance and history of the book. I didn’t want that.

    Reply
  83. The oldest book in my library is a Calvin’s Institutes dating back to 1769. I’ve told my husband that he is not allowed to yellow highlight that one. I took up antique book repair because we were getting so many very old books that needed some work done to them and taking them to a book binder meant they would rip out the old cover and whack on a new one, and you lose all the romance and history of the book. I didn’t want that.

    Reply
  84. The oldest book in my library is a Calvin’s Institutes dating back to 1769. I’ve told my husband that he is not allowed to yellow highlight that one. I took up antique book repair because we were getting so many very old books that needed some work done to them and taking them to a book binder meant they would rip out the old cover and whack on a new one, and you lose all the romance and history of the book. I didn’t want that.

    Reply
  85. The oldest book in my library is a Calvin’s Institutes dating back to 1769. I’ve told my husband that he is not allowed to yellow highlight that one. I took up antique book repair because we were getting so many very old books that needed some work done to them and taking them to a book binder meant they would rip out the old cover and whack on a new one, and you lose all the romance and history of the book. I didn’t want that.

    Reply
  86. My current wip features a London newspaper, and I can’t believe I wrote a scene the other day with the heroine describing “out of sorts” to the hero. I swear I didn’t read your post first!The research has been fascinating. I’ve watched a couple of letterpress clips on YouTube and now have to find the real thing.
    I happen to have a piece of a Connecticut newspaper from the 1780s that is pressed between glass. It hangs in our family room, but I need to take it down to study it again.

    Reply
  87. My current wip features a London newspaper, and I can’t believe I wrote a scene the other day with the heroine describing “out of sorts” to the hero. I swear I didn’t read your post first!The research has been fascinating. I’ve watched a couple of letterpress clips on YouTube and now have to find the real thing.
    I happen to have a piece of a Connecticut newspaper from the 1780s that is pressed between glass. It hangs in our family room, but I need to take it down to study it again.

    Reply
  88. My current wip features a London newspaper, and I can’t believe I wrote a scene the other day with the heroine describing “out of sorts” to the hero. I swear I didn’t read your post first!The research has been fascinating. I’ve watched a couple of letterpress clips on YouTube and now have to find the real thing.
    I happen to have a piece of a Connecticut newspaper from the 1780s that is pressed between glass. It hangs in our family room, but I need to take it down to study it again.

    Reply
  89. My current wip features a London newspaper, and I can’t believe I wrote a scene the other day with the heroine describing “out of sorts” to the hero. I swear I didn’t read your post first!The research has been fascinating. I’ve watched a couple of letterpress clips on YouTube and now have to find the real thing.
    I happen to have a piece of a Connecticut newspaper from the 1780s that is pressed between glass. It hangs in our family room, but I need to take it down to study it again.

    Reply
  90. My current wip features a London newspaper, and I can’t believe I wrote a scene the other day with the heroine describing “out of sorts” to the hero. I swear I didn’t read your post first!The research has been fascinating. I’ve watched a couple of letterpress clips on YouTube and now have to find the real thing.
    I happen to have a piece of a Connecticut newspaper from the 1780s that is pressed between glass. It hangs in our family room, but I need to take it down to study it again.

    Reply
  91. I love digital for its portability, but I have a major *thing* for handset type and the art books that are made this way. When I got my MFA, my minor concentration was in Book Arts (handset type, printing, and book binding). I seriously wish I had time to do this still, but I’m afraid if I got myself a little Vandercook press, I’d never get any writing done, LOL!

    Reply
  92. I love digital for its portability, but I have a major *thing* for handset type and the art books that are made this way. When I got my MFA, my minor concentration was in Book Arts (handset type, printing, and book binding). I seriously wish I had time to do this still, but I’m afraid if I got myself a little Vandercook press, I’d never get any writing done, LOL!

    Reply
  93. I love digital for its portability, but I have a major *thing* for handset type and the art books that are made this way. When I got my MFA, my minor concentration was in Book Arts (handset type, printing, and book binding). I seriously wish I had time to do this still, but I’m afraid if I got myself a little Vandercook press, I’d never get any writing done, LOL!

    Reply
  94. I love digital for its portability, but I have a major *thing* for handset type and the art books that are made this way. When I got my MFA, my minor concentration was in Book Arts (handset type, printing, and book binding). I seriously wish I had time to do this still, but I’m afraid if I got myself a little Vandercook press, I’d never get any writing done, LOL!

    Reply
  95. I love digital for its portability, but I have a major *thing* for handset type and the art books that are made this way. When I got my MFA, my minor concentration was in Book Arts (handset type, printing, and book binding). I seriously wish I had time to do this still, but I’m afraid if I got myself a little Vandercook press, I’d never get any writing done, LOL!

    Reply
  96. So true, Isolbel! making handset books is so wonderful and rewarding, but time-consuming. If I had another life to live, I might set up as an artisanal bookmaker, for I really love creating printed pages. Alas, so little time, so much to know!

    Reply
  97. So true, Isolbel! making handset books is so wonderful and rewarding, but time-consuming. If I had another life to live, I might set up as an artisanal bookmaker, for I really love creating printed pages. Alas, so little time, so much to know!

    Reply
  98. So true, Isolbel! making handset books is so wonderful and rewarding, but time-consuming. If I had another life to live, I might set up as an artisanal bookmaker, for I really love creating printed pages. Alas, so little time, so much to know!

    Reply
  99. So true, Isolbel! making handset books is so wonderful and rewarding, but time-consuming. If I had another life to live, I might set up as an artisanal bookmaker, for I really love creating printed pages. Alas, so little time, so much to know!

    Reply
  100. So true, Isolbel! making handset books is so wonderful and rewarding, but time-consuming. If I had another life to live, I might set up as an artisanal bookmaker, for I really love creating printed pages. Alas, so little time, so much to know!

    Reply

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