The Art of the Book

SendakAndrea here, thinking about books today. Okay, that’s nothing new. I think about books a LOT! But I’m thinking specifically about the art of books today. These days, more and more of us are reading digitally, and while that’s a wonderful convenience—having loads of books on a tablet or phone is a godsend for travel or being stuck in a waiting room or grocery line—we do lose some of the elemental essence of what makes reading such a visceral pleasure.

What got me to thinking about this was an article I came across the other on modern-day artists in Tuscany who are keeping the age-old crafts of fine bookmaking alive and well. (You can read the the story and feast on the pictures here.


FroissardI was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in college and grad school learning about the arts of the book—including choosing handmade paper for the pages, printing with handset lead type, creating illustrations, sewing signatures, making marbling paper, and binding the pages into a decorative cover. So for me, an integral part of the interaction with the written word is the physical connection—holding a book and turning the pages.

Book bindingNow, that’s a nice experience even with a mass-market paperback printed on cheap pulp paper. But it becomes a sublime one when I’m reading a book that has been crafted to be a work of creative art in and of itself. (A favorite example, one that I’ve had forever in my personal library, is Maurice Sendak’s “Nutshell Library, a very cool and inventive little ensemble of children’s books.)

I once went to a book exhibit on the pre-Raphaelites as book illustrators and it was entitled Pocket Cathedrals. I love that term, for a beautiful book really is a "tiny heaven.” So, let’s explore some of the elements that I experienced in learning about the craft of bookmaking. (All photos are from my personal library)

PWuthering Heightsaper is important on a number of different levels. Color, weight, feel, deckled or straight edge—there are more choices than you might imagine! Whites ranges from cool to warm. (Cool has a blue-ish tinge, while warm veers toward yellow.) And cream colors can have a variety as well. I tend to think cream is softer on the eyes, but that’s a personal preference. Weight is very important. The rule of thumb is a page should turn with a “flutter”. Too thick (ie. stiff) and it won’t lay down well and makes the book harder to read. Too thin and the type will show through, again affecting the reading experience. Size of the book often determines just how heavy a weight paper to use.

A paper can also be very smooth or have a “tooth”—which in book parlance mean a slight texture. Handmade laid paper has the mold of the paper imprinted on it. Kid finish is a common commercial paper type, and is used in fine bookmaking.

PPTypefaces affect readability, and also are chosen to create beauty. Their designs are often works of art on their own. Popular faces for special edition books these days are Goudy, Bembo, Garamond and Baskerville, which are all classic serif types with an elegance that is timeless. (Studies have shown that serifs, those little swashes on the ends of individual letters, make a type more readable in book pages. That’s why you very rarely see books set in sans serif typefaces.)

BoxIllustrations add a wonderful element to a book. Novels used to be illustrated, as shown in my vintage editions of Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice. Sadly, mass publishers rarely do that anymore. But . . . read on for more on illustration.

And then there are bindings and endpapers, as well as the actual cover. Slip cases often add an extra touch of protection for a special book. (I made the slipcase lined with decorative paper to hold Art of the Printed Book.)

Rose

Book 1I only dabbled in book arts, however my interest in bookmaking got my artist mother really intrigued . . .and she became a fabulous creator of handmade, illustrated books. She set the type, did the illustrations, printed the limited editions on a hand press, and learned book binding so that she she could create her own covers and slipcases. Needless to say, these wonderful books are treasures of my personal library.

So what about you. Do yo have a soft spot in your heart for the look and feel of a physical book?  Do you have favorite editions or books you’ve saved just for the sheer beauty of them? Please share!

140 thoughts on “The Art of the Book”

  1. Andrea, what a wonderful reflection on books as art! I knew that your mother made beautiful books, but hadn’t realized that she was inspired by your own bookmaking. Just reading what you wrote takes me back to my own art school days, though I never studied book creation as you did. Lovely to think about, though!

    Reply
  2. Andrea, what a wonderful reflection on books as art! I knew that your mother made beautiful books, but hadn’t realized that she was inspired by your own bookmaking. Just reading what you wrote takes me back to my own art school days, though I never studied book creation as you did. Lovely to think about, though!

    Reply
  3. Andrea, what a wonderful reflection on books as art! I knew that your mother made beautiful books, but hadn’t realized that she was inspired by your own bookmaking. Just reading what you wrote takes me back to my own art school days, though I never studied book creation as you did. Lovely to think about, though!

    Reply
  4. Andrea, what a wonderful reflection on books as art! I knew that your mother made beautiful books, but hadn’t realized that she was inspired by your own bookmaking. Just reading what you wrote takes me back to my own art school days, though I never studied book creation as you did. Lovely to think about, though!

    Reply
  5. Andrea, what a wonderful reflection on books as art! I knew that your mother made beautiful books, but hadn’t realized that she was inspired by your own bookmaking. Just reading what you wrote takes me back to my own art school days, though I never studied book creation as you did. Lovely to think about, though!

    Reply
  6. So glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure that with your art experience/expertise, you feel exactly the same as I do about a well-designed book.
    Yes, my mother got the book-bug from me. I t really started when I bought a letterpress at an auction for a song—but of course a one-ton machine wasn’t going to fit very well in a NYC studio apartment, so I convinced her that she REALLY needed a press in her art studio. And off she went . . . She got such artistic pleasure from bookmaking, and that makes me very happy.

    Reply
  7. So glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure that with your art experience/expertise, you feel exactly the same as I do about a well-designed book.
    Yes, my mother got the book-bug from me. I t really started when I bought a letterpress at an auction for a song—but of course a one-ton machine wasn’t going to fit very well in a NYC studio apartment, so I convinced her that she REALLY needed a press in her art studio. And off she went . . . She got such artistic pleasure from bookmaking, and that makes me very happy.

    Reply
  8. So glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure that with your art experience/expertise, you feel exactly the same as I do about a well-designed book.
    Yes, my mother got the book-bug from me. I t really started when I bought a letterpress at an auction for a song—but of course a one-ton machine wasn’t going to fit very well in a NYC studio apartment, so I convinced her that she REALLY needed a press in her art studio. And off she went . . . She got such artistic pleasure from bookmaking, and that makes me very happy.

    Reply
  9. So glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure that with your art experience/expertise, you feel exactly the same as I do about a well-designed book.
    Yes, my mother got the book-bug from me. I t really started when I bought a letterpress at an auction for a song—but of course a one-ton machine wasn’t going to fit very well in a NYC studio apartment, so I convinced her that she REALLY needed a press in her art studio. And off she went . . . She got such artistic pleasure from bookmaking, and that makes me very happy.

    Reply
  10. So glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure that with your art experience/expertise, you feel exactly the same as I do about a well-designed book.
    Yes, my mother got the book-bug from me. I t really started when I bought a letterpress at an auction for a song—but of course a one-ton machine wasn’t going to fit very well in a NYC studio apartment, so I convinced her that she REALLY needed a press in her art studio. And off she went . . . She got such artistic pleasure from bookmaking, and that makes me very happy.

    Reply
  11. How interesting & even more interesting about your Mother. Wow! Definitely when I was young I just loved those great books with the art look & feel. My Aunt (who was also my Godmother) had quite a few of these and I just loved to go to her house and pore over them. I have her boxed set of the Alice (Wonderland & Looking Glass) books. For myself I don’t buy them. Not sure why I don’t. A feature I always love though is the ribbon bookmarks worked into the design.

    Reply
  12. How interesting & even more interesting about your Mother. Wow! Definitely when I was young I just loved those great books with the art look & feel. My Aunt (who was also my Godmother) had quite a few of these and I just loved to go to her house and pore over them. I have her boxed set of the Alice (Wonderland & Looking Glass) books. For myself I don’t buy them. Not sure why I don’t. A feature I always love though is the ribbon bookmarks worked into the design.

    Reply
  13. How interesting & even more interesting about your Mother. Wow! Definitely when I was young I just loved those great books with the art look & feel. My Aunt (who was also my Godmother) had quite a few of these and I just loved to go to her house and pore over them. I have her boxed set of the Alice (Wonderland & Looking Glass) books. For myself I don’t buy them. Not sure why I don’t. A feature I always love though is the ribbon bookmarks worked into the design.

    Reply
  14. How interesting & even more interesting about your Mother. Wow! Definitely when I was young I just loved those great books with the art look & feel. My Aunt (who was also my Godmother) had quite a few of these and I just loved to go to her house and pore over them. I have her boxed set of the Alice (Wonderland & Looking Glass) books. For myself I don’t buy them. Not sure why I don’t. A feature I always love though is the ribbon bookmarks worked into the design.

    Reply
  15. How interesting & even more interesting about your Mother. Wow! Definitely when I was young I just loved those great books with the art look & feel. My Aunt (who was also my Godmother) had quite a few of these and I just loved to go to her house and pore over them. I have her boxed set of the Alice (Wonderland & Looking Glass) books. For myself I don’t buy them. Not sure why I don’t. A feature I always love though is the ribbon bookmarks worked into the design.

    Reply
  16. I love the feel of a book in my hands—it’s so much more comfortable than an e-reader. And so much more permanent. I have a number of Mermaid editions of 17th and 18th century plays that I searched out in used book stores years—decades—ago that are still a pleasure to read. And in much better condition than many paperbacks that seem ready to expire after a few years.
    One of my favorite set of books wasn’t mine. It was in the library when we first moved here. It was a set of Scott’s Waverly novels bound in red leather. Each book was fairly small, with that thin paper that was still perfectly opaque. But we were away for a couple of years and when we came back, they had disappeared. I guess I was the only one who ever checked them out. I can understand the library’s need for space, but I still miss those books.

    Reply
  17. I love the feel of a book in my hands—it’s so much more comfortable than an e-reader. And so much more permanent. I have a number of Mermaid editions of 17th and 18th century plays that I searched out in used book stores years—decades—ago that are still a pleasure to read. And in much better condition than many paperbacks that seem ready to expire after a few years.
    One of my favorite set of books wasn’t mine. It was in the library when we first moved here. It was a set of Scott’s Waverly novels bound in red leather. Each book was fairly small, with that thin paper that was still perfectly opaque. But we were away for a couple of years and when we came back, they had disappeared. I guess I was the only one who ever checked them out. I can understand the library’s need for space, but I still miss those books.

    Reply
  18. I love the feel of a book in my hands—it’s so much more comfortable than an e-reader. And so much more permanent. I have a number of Mermaid editions of 17th and 18th century plays that I searched out in used book stores years—decades—ago that are still a pleasure to read. And in much better condition than many paperbacks that seem ready to expire after a few years.
    One of my favorite set of books wasn’t mine. It was in the library when we first moved here. It was a set of Scott’s Waverly novels bound in red leather. Each book was fairly small, with that thin paper that was still perfectly opaque. But we were away for a couple of years and when we came back, they had disappeared. I guess I was the only one who ever checked them out. I can understand the library’s need for space, but I still miss those books.

    Reply
  19. I love the feel of a book in my hands—it’s so much more comfortable than an e-reader. And so much more permanent. I have a number of Mermaid editions of 17th and 18th century plays that I searched out in used book stores years—decades—ago that are still a pleasure to read. And in much better condition than many paperbacks that seem ready to expire after a few years.
    One of my favorite set of books wasn’t mine. It was in the library when we first moved here. It was a set of Scott’s Waverly novels bound in red leather. Each book was fairly small, with that thin paper that was still perfectly opaque. But we were away for a couple of years and when we came back, they had disappeared. I guess I was the only one who ever checked them out. I can understand the library’s need for space, but I still miss those books.

    Reply
  20. I love the feel of a book in my hands—it’s so much more comfortable than an e-reader. And so much more permanent. I have a number of Mermaid editions of 17th and 18th century plays that I searched out in used book stores years—decades—ago that are still a pleasure to read. And in much better condition than many paperbacks that seem ready to expire after a few years.
    One of my favorite set of books wasn’t mine. It was in the library when we first moved here. It was a set of Scott’s Waverly novels bound in red leather. Each book was fairly small, with that thin paper that was still perfectly opaque. But we were away for a couple of years and when we came back, they had disappeared. I guess I was the only one who ever checked them out. I can understand the library’s need for space, but I still miss those books.

    Reply
  21. What a lovely post, Andrea! Like others, I was fascinated to learn of your role in your mother’s book arts.
    I recognize those Nutshell Library books by Maurice Sendak from my daughter’s childhood.
    The closest I’ve come to book binding was to visit the book binder at the university where I completed my doctorate; I was able to select the cover and interior marbled paper for bound copies of my thesis.

    Reply
  22. What a lovely post, Andrea! Like others, I was fascinated to learn of your role in your mother’s book arts.
    I recognize those Nutshell Library books by Maurice Sendak from my daughter’s childhood.
    The closest I’ve come to book binding was to visit the book binder at the university where I completed my doctorate; I was able to select the cover and interior marbled paper for bound copies of my thesis.

    Reply
  23. What a lovely post, Andrea! Like others, I was fascinated to learn of your role in your mother’s book arts.
    I recognize those Nutshell Library books by Maurice Sendak from my daughter’s childhood.
    The closest I’ve come to book binding was to visit the book binder at the university where I completed my doctorate; I was able to select the cover and interior marbled paper for bound copies of my thesis.

    Reply
  24. What a lovely post, Andrea! Like others, I was fascinated to learn of your role in your mother’s book arts.
    I recognize those Nutshell Library books by Maurice Sendak from my daughter’s childhood.
    The closest I’ve come to book binding was to visit the book binder at the university where I completed my doctorate; I was able to select the cover and interior marbled paper for bound copies of my thesis.

    Reply
  25. What a lovely post, Andrea! Like others, I was fascinated to learn of your role in your mother’s book arts.
    I recognize those Nutshell Library books by Maurice Sendak from my daughter’s childhood.
    The closest I’ve come to book binding was to visit the book binder at the university where I completed my doctorate; I was able to select the cover and interior marbled paper for bound copies of my thesis.

    Reply
  26. Lovely post, Andrea. I love reading physical books. I also love books that are themselves works of art. I often think of my editions of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, with their wonderfully evocative Fritz Eichenberg illustrations. I should add that I belong to a group of book collectors and have learned to admire, not to mention crave fine bindings, exquisitely printed, bound and beautifully crafted books. For those of you in the area, and would like to see some beautiful books, this weekend Oakland, California is the site of the (in person!) California International Antiquarian Book Fair.

    Reply
  27. Lovely post, Andrea. I love reading physical books. I also love books that are themselves works of art. I often think of my editions of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, with their wonderfully evocative Fritz Eichenberg illustrations. I should add that I belong to a group of book collectors and have learned to admire, not to mention crave fine bindings, exquisitely printed, bound and beautifully crafted books. For those of you in the area, and would like to see some beautiful books, this weekend Oakland, California is the site of the (in person!) California International Antiquarian Book Fair.

    Reply
  28. Lovely post, Andrea. I love reading physical books. I also love books that are themselves works of art. I often think of my editions of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, with their wonderfully evocative Fritz Eichenberg illustrations. I should add that I belong to a group of book collectors and have learned to admire, not to mention crave fine bindings, exquisitely printed, bound and beautifully crafted books. For those of you in the area, and would like to see some beautiful books, this weekend Oakland, California is the site of the (in person!) California International Antiquarian Book Fair.

    Reply
  29. Lovely post, Andrea. I love reading physical books. I also love books that are themselves works of art. I often think of my editions of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, with their wonderfully evocative Fritz Eichenberg illustrations. I should add that I belong to a group of book collectors and have learned to admire, not to mention crave fine bindings, exquisitely printed, bound and beautifully crafted books. For those of you in the area, and would like to see some beautiful books, this weekend Oakland, California is the site of the (in person!) California International Antiquarian Book Fair.

    Reply
  30. Lovely post, Andrea. I love reading physical books. I also love books that are themselves works of art. I often think of my editions of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, with their wonderfully evocative Fritz Eichenberg illustrations. I should add that I belong to a group of book collectors and have learned to admire, not to mention crave fine bindings, exquisitely printed, bound and beautifully crafted books. For those of you in the area, and would like to see some beautiful books, this weekend Oakland, California is the site of the (in person!) California International Antiquarian Book Fair.

    Reply
  31. Another physical book devotee here! Always wanted to learn more about book binding arts, but there isn’t enough time in life!
    If you haven’t heard of University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, it’s worth a look: rarebookschool.org

    Reply
  32. Another physical book devotee here! Always wanted to learn more about book binding arts, but there isn’t enough time in life!
    If you haven’t heard of University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, it’s worth a look: rarebookschool.org

    Reply
  33. Another physical book devotee here! Always wanted to learn more about book binding arts, but there isn’t enough time in life!
    If you haven’t heard of University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, it’s worth a look: rarebookschool.org

    Reply
  34. Another physical book devotee here! Always wanted to learn more about book binding arts, but there isn’t enough time in life!
    If you haven’t heard of University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, it’s worth a look: rarebookschool.org

    Reply
  35. Another physical book devotee here! Always wanted to learn more about book binding arts, but there isn’t enough time in life!
    If you haven’t heard of University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, it’s worth a look: rarebookschool.org

    Reply
  36. Binnie, those are wonderful editions! How wonderful that you have copies. If I had an open checkbook, I would track down a “Moxon” Tennyson (named for the publisher of the edition), which was illustrated by some of the great Pre-Raphaelites. It was the book that was featured in the art exhibit, Pocket Cathedrals.
    It’s fun to learn all about the elements that go into a fine book, like, paper, bindings, endpapers, etc. NYC has an annual antiquarian fair, too, and it’s amazing!

    Reply
  37. Binnie, those are wonderful editions! How wonderful that you have copies. If I had an open checkbook, I would track down a “Moxon” Tennyson (named for the publisher of the edition), which was illustrated by some of the great Pre-Raphaelites. It was the book that was featured in the art exhibit, Pocket Cathedrals.
    It’s fun to learn all about the elements that go into a fine book, like, paper, bindings, endpapers, etc. NYC has an annual antiquarian fair, too, and it’s amazing!

    Reply
  38. Binnie, those are wonderful editions! How wonderful that you have copies. If I had an open checkbook, I would track down a “Moxon” Tennyson (named for the publisher of the edition), which was illustrated by some of the great Pre-Raphaelites. It was the book that was featured in the art exhibit, Pocket Cathedrals.
    It’s fun to learn all about the elements that go into a fine book, like, paper, bindings, endpapers, etc. NYC has an annual antiquarian fair, too, and it’s amazing!

    Reply
  39. Binnie, those are wonderful editions! How wonderful that you have copies. If I had an open checkbook, I would track down a “Moxon” Tennyson (named for the publisher of the edition), which was illustrated by some of the great Pre-Raphaelites. It was the book that was featured in the art exhibit, Pocket Cathedrals.
    It’s fun to learn all about the elements that go into a fine book, like, paper, bindings, endpapers, etc. NYC has an annual antiquarian fair, too, and it’s amazing!

    Reply
  40. Binnie, those are wonderful editions! How wonderful that you have copies. If I had an open checkbook, I would track down a “Moxon” Tennyson (named for the publisher of the edition), which was illustrated by some of the great Pre-Raphaelites. It was the book that was featured in the art exhibit, Pocket Cathedrals.
    It’s fun to learn all about the elements that go into a fine book, like, paper, bindings, endpapers, etc. NYC has an annual antiquarian fair, too, and it’s amazing!

    Reply
  41. I love books. I have a Kindle but is soulless and hard to hold at night.But other than that I just like books. I have some that are more than 200 years old, one that has pop-up pages, one that is literally the size of a coffee table. I am surrounded by books. yes, They could probably be replaced by 4 external hard drives, but I like having books.
    Some of my older books can now be found on Google books and other such sources, but I prefer reading from a page and not a screen. I have loved books ever since I discovered that there were books for fun and pleasure and not just for school. I have many books on my Kindle but often wish I had them on paper even though I have no idea where I would put them. I just like physical books.

    Reply
  42. I love books. I have a Kindle but is soulless and hard to hold at night.But other than that I just like books. I have some that are more than 200 years old, one that has pop-up pages, one that is literally the size of a coffee table. I am surrounded by books. yes, They could probably be replaced by 4 external hard drives, but I like having books.
    Some of my older books can now be found on Google books and other such sources, but I prefer reading from a page and not a screen. I have loved books ever since I discovered that there were books for fun and pleasure and not just for school. I have many books on my Kindle but often wish I had them on paper even though I have no idea where I would put them. I just like physical books.

    Reply
  43. I love books. I have a Kindle but is soulless and hard to hold at night.But other than that I just like books. I have some that are more than 200 years old, one that has pop-up pages, one that is literally the size of a coffee table. I am surrounded by books. yes, They could probably be replaced by 4 external hard drives, but I like having books.
    Some of my older books can now be found on Google books and other such sources, but I prefer reading from a page and not a screen. I have loved books ever since I discovered that there were books for fun and pleasure and not just for school. I have many books on my Kindle but often wish I had them on paper even though I have no idea where I would put them. I just like physical books.

    Reply
  44. I love books. I have a Kindle but is soulless and hard to hold at night.But other than that I just like books. I have some that are more than 200 years old, one that has pop-up pages, one that is literally the size of a coffee table. I am surrounded by books. yes, They could probably be replaced by 4 external hard drives, but I like having books.
    Some of my older books can now be found on Google books and other such sources, but I prefer reading from a page and not a screen. I have loved books ever since I discovered that there were books for fun and pleasure and not just for school. I have many books on my Kindle but often wish I had them on paper even though I have no idea where I would put them. I just like physical books.

    Reply
  45. I love books. I have a Kindle but is soulless and hard to hold at night.But other than that I just like books. I have some that are more than 200 years old, one that has pop-up pages, one that is literally the size of a coffee table. I am surrounded by books. yes, They could probably be replaced by 4 external hard drives, but I like having books.
    Some of my older books can now be found on Google books and other such sources, but I prefer reading from a page and not a screen. I have loved books ever since I discovered that there were books for fun and pleasure and not just for school. I have many books on my Kindle but often wish I had them on paper even though I have no idea where I would put them. I just like physical books.

    Reply
  46. I have a box on a top shelf in an alcove that is supposed to teach me how to repair 200-year-old books. Alas, it is just one more thing I have failed to do. It is called the Booklovers Repair Kit. Many of the old books lose their covers though the contents stay together. Alas, one 206-year-old book lost covers and the stitching holding it together.

    Reply
  47. I have a box on a top shelf in an alcove that is supposed to teach me how to repair 200-year-old books. Alas, it is just one more thing I have failed to do. It is called the Booklovers Repair Kit. Many of the old books lose their covers though the contents stay together. Alas, one 206-year-old book lost covers and the stitching holding it together.

    Reply
  48. I have a box on a top shelf in an alcove that is supposed to teach me how to repair 200-year-old books. Alas, it is just one more thing I have failed to do. It is called the Booklovers Repair Kit. Many of the old books lose their covers though the contents stay together. Alas, one 206-year-old book lost covers and the stitching holding it together.

    Reply
  49. I have a box on a top shelf in an alcove that is supposed to teach me how to repair 200-year-old books. Alas, it is just one more thing I have failed to do. It is called the Booklovers Repair Kit. Many of the old books lose their covers though the contents stay together. Alas, one 206-year-old book lost covers and the stitching holding it together.

    Reply
  50. I have a box on a top shelf in an alcove that is supposed to teach me how to repair 200-year-old books. Alas, it is just one more thing I have failed to do. It is called the Booklovers Repair Kit. Many of the old books lose their covers though the contents stay together. Alas, one 206-year-old book lost covers and the stitching holding it together.

    Reply
  51. Andrea, this brought back such good memories. I was in J-school (journalism) in the late ’50s and later worked for an old weekly press in the days when type was still hand-set. Being an inveterate fan now of e-reading, I’d forgotten how much I loved the smell of the printing plant and the fascination of setting and locking in the miniscule letters. (Pi-ing the type–aka dropping the type case on the floor–not so much. I never did that, but an instructor did and spent a semester sorting 10-point type.)

    Reply
  52. Andrea, this brought back such good memories. I was in J-school (journalism) in the late ’50s and later worked for an old weekly press in the days when type was still hand-set. Being an inveterate fan now of e-reading, I’d forgotten how much I loved the smell of the printing plant and the fascination of setting and locking in the miniscule letters. (Pi-ing the type–aka dropping the type case on the floor–not so much. I never did that, but an instructor did and spent a semester sorting 10-point type.)

    Reply
  53. Andrea, this brought back such good memories. I was in J-school (journalism) in the late ’50s and later worked for an old weekly press in the days when type was still hand-set. Being an inveterate fan now of e-reading, I’d forgotten how much I loved the smell of the printing plant and the fascination of setting and locking in the miniscule letters. (Pi-ing the type–aka dropping the type case on the floor–not so much. I never did that, but an instructor did and spent a semester sorting 10-point type.)

    Reply
  54. Andrea, this brought back such good memories. I was in J-school (journalism) in the late ’50s and later worked for an old weekly press in the days when type was still hand-set. Being an inveterate fan now of e-reading, I’d forgotten how much I loved the smell of the printing plant and the fascination of setting and locking in the miniscule letters. (Pi-ing the type–aka dropping the type case on the floor–not so much. I never did that, but an instructor did and spent a semester sorting 10-point type.)

    Reply
  55. Andrea, this brought back such good memories. I was in J-school (journalism) in the late ’50s and later worked for an old weekly press in the days when type was still hand-set. Being an inveterate fan now of e-reading, I’d forgotten how much I loved the smell of the printing plant and the fascination of setting and locking in the miniscule letters. (Pi-ing the type–aka dropping the type case on the floor–not so much. I never did that, but an instructor did and spent a semester sorting 10-point type.)

    Reply
  56. I thank you for this lovely post. I am a fan of actual and real books. I had the good fortune to have some really early books…..not what you have shown…..but early. Unfortunately, due to life happening, I no longer have them.
    I am so amazed at the projects of the Italians you shared with us. I think I would feel absolutely light headed to see all they have done. The artistic temperament is alive and well in those wonderful people.
    I hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  57. I thank you for this lovely post. I am a fan of actual and real books. I had the good fortune to have some really early books…..not what you have shown…..but early. Unfortunately, due to life happening, I no longer have them.
    I am so amazed at the projects of the Italians you shared with us. I think I would feel absolutely light headed to see all they have done. The artistic temperament is alive and well in those wonderful people.
    I hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  58. I thank you for this lovely post. I am a fan of actual and real books. I had the good fortune to have some really early books…..not what you have shown…..but early. Unfortunately, due to life happening, I no longer have them.
    I am so amazed at the projects of the Italians you shared with us. I think I would feel absolutely light headed to see all they have done. The artistic temperament is alive and well in those wonderful people.
    I hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  59. I thank you for this lovely post. I am a fan of actual and real books. I had the good fortune to have some really early books…..not what you have shown…..but early. Unfortunately, due to life happening, I no longer have them.
    I am so amazed at the projects of the Italians you shared with us. I think I would feel absolutely light headed to see all they have done. The artistic temperament is alive and well in those wonderful people.
    I hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  60. I thank you for this lovely post. I am a fan of actual and real books. I had the good fortune to have some really early books…..not what you have shown…..but early. Unfortunately, due to life happening, I no longer have them.
    I am so amazed at the projects of the Italians you shared with us. I think I would feel absolutely light headed to see all they have done. The artistic temperament is alive and well in those wonderful people.
    I hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  61. I read a lot on kindle these days but if asked for preference it would be a physical book all the way. I don’t have any extremely old books. I have a Enid Blyton books since I was a child as I adored this author. Some of them area a bit tatty, some in quite good condition and I love them all still.
    I have a beautiful hardback folio edition of Venitia by Georgette Heyer with matching slipcase that my brother bought me for my birthday in December last. It’s really gorgeous.
    Great post Andrea and informative.

    Reply
  62. I read a lot on kindle these days but if asked for preference it would be a physical book all the way. I don’t have any extremely old books. I have a Enid Blyton books since I was a child as I adored this author. Some of them area a bit tatty, some in quite good condition and I love them all still.
    I have a beautiful hardback folio edition of Venitia by Georgette Heyer with matching slipcase that my brother bought me for my birthday in December last. It’s really gorgeous.
    Great post Andrea and informative.

    Reply
  63. I read a lot on kindle these days but if asked for preference it would be a physical book all the way. I don’t have any extremely old books. I have a Enid Blyton books since I was a child as I adored this author. Some of them area a bit tatty, some in quite good condition and I love them all still.
    I have a beautiful hardback folio edition of Venitia by Georgette Heyer with matching slipcase that my brother bought me for my birthday in December last. It’s really gorgeous.
    Great post Andrea and informative.

    Reply
  64. I read a lot on kindle these days but if asked for preference it would be a physical book all the way. I don’t have any extremely old books. I have a Enid Blyton books since I was a child as I adored this author. Some of them area a bit tatty, some in quite good condition and I love them all still.
    I have a beautiful hardback folio edition of Venitia by Georgette Heyer with matching slipcase that my brother bought me for my birthday in December last. It’s really gorgeous.
    Great post Andrea and informative.

    Reply
  65. I read a lot on kindle these days but if asked for preference it would be a physical book all the way. I don’t have any extremely old books. I have a Enid Blyton books since I was a child as I adored this author. Some of them area a bit tatty, some in quite good condition and I love them all still.
    I have a beautiful hardback folio edition of Venitia by Georgette Heyer with matching slipcase that my brother bought me for my birthday in December last. It’s really gorgeous.
    Great post Andrea and informative.

    Reply
  66. I, too, love the feel of a well-made book, and definitely prefer “real” books, but also do take advantage of the easy access to digital books. I even recognize the Nutshell Library, since my sister had that set.
    Have you read The Bibliophile Mystery series by Kate Carlisle? Her main character, Brooklyn Wainwright,is a bookbinder, and the books include wonderful descriptions of the work she does bring old books back to life, as well as creating new ones.

    Reply
  67. I, too, love the feel of a well-made book, and definitely prefer “real” books, but also do take advantage of the easy access to digital books. I even recognize the Nutshell Library, since my sister had that set.
    Have you read The Bibliophile Mystery series by Kate Carlisle? Her main character, Brooklyn Wainwright,is a bookbinder, and the books include wonderful descriptions of the work she does bring old books back to life, as well as creating new ones.

    Reply
  68. I, too, love the feel of a well-made book, and definitely prefer “real” books, but also do take advantage of the easy access to digital books. I even recognize the Nutshell Library, since my sister had that set.
    Have you read The Bibliophile Mystery series by Kate Carlisle? Her main character, Brooklyn Wainwright,is a bookbinder, and the books include wonderful descriptions of the work she does bring old books back to life, as well as creating new ones.

    Reply
  69. I, too, love the feel of a well-made book, and definitely prefer “real” books, but also do take advantage of the easy access to digital books. I even recognize the Nutshell Library, since my sister had that set.
    Have you read The Bibliophile Mystery series by Kate Carlisle? Her main character, Brooklyn Wainwright,is a bookbinder, and the books include wonderful descriptions of the work she does bring old books back to life, as well as creating new ones.

    Reply
  70. I, too, love the feel of a well-made book, and definitely prefer “real” books, but also do take advantage of the easy access to digital books. I even recognize the Nutshell Library, since my sister had that set.
    Have you read The Bibliophile Mystery series by Kate Carlisle? Her main character, Brooklyn Wainwright,is a bookbinder, and the books include wonderful descriptions of the work she does bring old books back to life, as well as creating new ones.

    Reply
  71. Wow—-it sounds like you have a wonderful collection of books. I feel the same way you do. I love holding a book. But as you say, the one trouble with being a booklover is space! I really need more shelves.

    Reply
  72. Wow—-it sounds like you have a wonderful collection of books. I feel the same way you do. I love holding a book. But as you say, the one trouble with being a booklover is space! I really need more shelves.

    Reply
  73. Wow—-it sounds like you have a wonderful collection of books. I feel the same way you do. I love holding a book. But as you say, the one trouble with being a booklover is space! I really need more shelves.

    Reply
  74. Wow—-it sounds like you have a wonderful collection of books. I feel the same way you do. I love holding a book. But as you say, the one trouble with being a booklover is space! I really need more shelves.

    Reply
  75. Wow—-it sounds like you have a wonderful collection of books. I feel the same way you do. I love holding a book. But as you say, the one trouble with being a booklover is space! I really need more shelves.

    Reply
  76. Oh, how fun that you worked on a letter press. And how cool that you know the term “pi-ing a case of type! One definitely doesn’t want to do that, especially with 10 pt. type!
    I miss the smell of printing ink.

    Reply
  77. Oh, how fun that you worked on a letter press. And how cool that you know the term “pi-ing a case of type! One definitely doesn’t want to do that, especially with 10 pt. type!
    I miss the smell of printing ink.

    Reply
  78. Oh, how fun that you worked on a letter press. And how cool that you know the term “pi-ing a case of type! One definitely doesn’t want to do that, especially with 10 pt. type!
    I miss the smell of printing ink.

    Reply
  79. Oh, how fun that you worked on a letter press. And how cool that you know the term “pi-ing a case of type! One definitely doesn’t want to do that, especially with 10 pt. type!
    I miss the smell of printing ink.

    Reply
  80. Oh, how fun that you worked on a letter press. And how cool that you know the term “pi-ing a case of type! One definitely doesn’t want to do that, especially with 10 pt. type!
    I miss the smell of printing ink.

    Reply
  81. Annette, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Aren’t the Italian craftspeople wonderful. I’d love to go apprentice there for a summer. Sigh.
    So sorry you don’t have your very old books anymore, but I hope you have fond memories of enjoying their beauty.

    Reply
  82. Annette, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Aren’t the Italian craftspeople wonderful. I’d love to go apprentice there for a summer. Sigh.
    So sorry you don’t have your very old books anymore, but I hope you have fond memories of enjoying their beauty.

    Reply
  83. Annette, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Aren’t the Italian craftspeople wonderful. I’d love to go apprentice there for a summer. Sigh.
    So sorry you don’t have your very old books anymore, but I hope you have fond memories of enjoying their beauty.

    Reply
  84. Annette, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Aren’t the Italian craftspeople wonderful. I’d love to go apprentice there for a summer. Sigh.
    So sorry you don’t have your very old books anymore, but I hope you have fond memories of enjoying their beauty.

    Reply
  85. Annette, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Aren’t the Italian craftspeople wonderful. I’d love to go apprentice there for a summer. Sigh.
    So sorry you don’t have your very old books anymore, but I hope you have fond memories of enjoying their beauty.

    Reply
  86. Oh, Teresa, the Enid Blyton collection sounds wonderful! What a treasure to have them. And the Georgette Heyer volume also sounds very special. I love that books also remind us of time and place, as well as giving us reading pleasure.

    Reply
  87. Oh, Teresa, the Enid Blyton collection sounds wonderful! What a treasure to have them. And the Georgette Heyer volume also sounds very special. I love that books also remind us of time and place, as well as giving us reading pleasure.

    Reply
  88. Oh, Teresa, the Enid Blyton collection sounds wonderful! What a treasure to have them. And the Georgette Heyer volume also sounds very special. I love that books also remind us of time and place, as well as giving us reading pleasure.

    Reply
  89. Oh, Teresa, the Enid Blyton collection sounds wonderful! What a treasure to have them. And the Georgette Heyer volume also sounds very special. I love that books also remind us of time and place, as well as giving us reading pleasure.

    Reply
  90. Oh, Teresa, the Enid Blyton collection sounds wonderful! What a treasure to have them. And the Georgette Heyer volume also sounds very special. I love that books also remind us of time and place, as well as giving us reading pleasure.

    Reply
  91. I’ve always wanted to learn papermaking. It’s wonderful that you inspired your mother to make books! I do have a couple of beautiful editions of books with slipcases. One is Robert Burns’ poems, it was a high school graduation gift from a neighbor, and the other is the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

    Reply
  92. I’ve always wanted to learn papermaking. It’s wonderful that you inspired your mother to make books! I do have a couple of beautiful editions of books with slipcases. One is Robert Burns’ poems, it was a high school graduation gift from a neighbor, and the other is the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

    Reply
  93. I’ve always wanted to learn papermaking. It’s wonderful that you inspired your mother to make books! I do have a couple of beautiful editions of books with slipcases. One is Robert Burns’ poems, it was a high school graduation gift from a neighbor, and the other is the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

    Reply
  94. I’ve always wanted to learn papermaking. It’s wonderful that you inspired your mother to make books! I do have a couple of beautiful editions of books with slipcases. One is Robert Burns’ poems, it was a high school graduation gift from a neighbor, and the other is the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

    Reply
  95. I’ve always wanted to learn papermaking. It’s wonderful that you inspired your mother to make books! I do have a couple of beautiful editions of books with slipcases. One is Robert Burns’ poems, it was a high school graduation gift from a neighbor, and the other is the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

    Reply
  96. Andrea, I’m so late here but I wanted to tell you how much I loved this post. Wonderful. The links to the Italian artisans just made my heart race.
    I don’t collect paper books of fiction anymore after a down sizing about 5yrs ago left me wanting to never do that again. I save about two shelves worth that I couldn’t part with yet. But I’m actually thrilled with being able to read on an e-reader so I can adjust the font. I still buy a reference book every so often, out of print and not available in digital. I do that sparingly.
    I have longed to learn marbling paper, and making my own paper for such a long time. I’m still not giving up on those two skills. And I’m learning to make a crafter’s form of book binding by making some homemade journals.
    But I’ve admired those individual artisans who have purchased their own old presses and started making little high quality books. Those presses are getting harder and harder to find, not to mention repairing or getting parts.
    Lastly, I must tell you what a joy it was to read you gave your Mom the spark to learn bookbinding for herself. And that Florentine paper you used to line the box for your The Art of the Printed Book has always been a favorite. I’ve been obsessed with paper all my life.

    Reply
  97. Andrea, I’m so late here but I wanted to tell you how much I loved this post. Wonderful. The links to the Italian artisans just made my heart race.
    I don’t collect paper books of fiction anymore after a down sizing about 5yrs ago left me wanting to never do that again. I save about two shelves worth that I couldn’t part with yet. But I’m actually thrilled with being able to read on an e-reader so I can adjust the font. I still buy a reference book every so often, out of print and not available in digital. I do that sparingly.
    I have longed to learn marbling paper, and making my own paper for such a long time. I’m still not giving up on those two skills. And I’m learning to make a crafter’s form of book binding by making some homemade journals.
    But I’ve admired those individual artisans who have purchased their own old presses and started making little high quality books. Those presses are getting harder and harder to find, not to mention repairing or getting parts.
    Lastly, I must tell you what a joy it was to read you gave your Mom the spark to learn bookbinding for herself. And that Florentine paper you used to line the box for your The Art of the Printed Book has always been a favorite. I’ve been obsessed with paper all my life.

    Reply
  98. Andrea, I’m so late here but I wanted to tell you how much I loved this post. Wonderful. The links to the Italian artisans just made my heart race.
    I don’t collect paper books of fiction anymore after a down sizing about 5yrs ago left me wanting to never do that again. I save about two shelves worth that I couldn’t part with yet. But I’m actually thrilled with being able to read on an e-reader so I can adjust the font. I still buy a reference book every so often, out of print and not available in digital. I do that sparingly.
    I have longed to learn marbling paper, and making my own paper for such a long time. I’m still not giving up on those two skills. And I’m learning to make a crafter’s form of book binding by making some homemade journals.
    But I’ve admired those individual artisans who have purchased their own old presses and started making little high quality books. Those presses are getting harder and harder to find, not to mention repairing or getting parts.
    Lastly, I must tell you what a joy it was to read you gave your Mom the spark to learn bookbinding for herself. And that Florentine paper you used to line the box for your The Art of the Printed Book has always been a favorite. I’ve been obsessed with paper all my life.

    Reply
  99. Andrea, I’m so late here but I wanted to tell you how much I loved this post. Wonderful. The links to the Italian artisans just made my heart race.
    I don’t collect paper books of fiction anymore after a down sizing about 5yrs ago left me wanting to never do that again. I save about two shelves worth that I couldn’t part with yet. But I’m actually thrilled with being able to read on an e-reader so I can adjust the font. I still buy a reference book every so often, out of print and not available in digital. I do that sparingly.
    I have longed to learn marbling paper, and making my own paper for such a long time. I’m still not giving up on those two skills. And I’m learning to make a crafter’s form of book binding by making some homemade journals.
    But I’ve admired those individual artisans who have purchased their own old presses and started making little high quality books. Those presses are getting harder and harder to find, not to mention repairing or getting parts.
    Lastly, I must tell you what a joy it was to read you gave your Mom the spark to learn bookbinding for herself. And that Florentine paper you used to line the box for your The Art of the Printed Book has always been a favorite. I’ve been obsessed with paper all my life.

    Reply
  100. Andrea, I’m so late here but I wanted to tell you how much I loved this post. Wonderful. The links to the Italian artisans just made my heart race.
    I don’t collect paper books of fiction anymore after a down sizing about 5yrs ago left me wanting to never do that again. I save about two shelves worth that I couldn’t part with yet. But I’m actually thrilled with being able to read on an e-reader so I can adjust the font. I still buy a reference book every so often, out of print and not available in digital. I do that sparingly.
    I have longed to learn marbling paper, and making my own paper for such a long time. I’m still not giving up on those two skills. And I’m learning to make a crafter’s form of book binding by making some homemade journals.
    But I’ve admired those individual artisans who have purchased their own old presses and started making little high quality books. Those presses are getting harder and harder to find, not to mention repairing or getting parts.
    Lastly, I must tell you what a joy it was to read you gave your Mom the spark to learn bookbinding for herself. And that Florentine paper you used to line the box for your The Art of the Printed Book has always been a favorite. I’ve been obsessed with paper all my life.

    Reply

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