He passed his hands over some of the fine embossed bindings as he thought, I am a book also, words and thoughts and stories held together by flesh. We open and close ourselves to the world. We are read by others or put away by them. We wait to be seen, sitting quietly on shelves for someone to bother having a look inside us.
Melancholy had crept inside me. Small children made me cry, I got depressed eating meat, old book bindings awakened tenderness in me. Everything was disintegrating. Nothing stood the test of time, including me. Somewhere on the other shore were madness and God, sometimes both wearing a beard. Neither instilled much confidence.
If I were rich I would have many books, and I would pamper myself with bindings bright to the eye and soft to the touch, paper generously opaque, and type such as men designed when printing was very young. I would dress my gods in leather and gold, and burn candles of worship before them at night, and string their names like beads on a string.
A series of books, dilapidated and faded, sit bundled together. Most of the bindings are separating from the yellowed pages, but each is at home in its battered state. Their wrinkled pages and discolored skin tell not of old age, but of a good life. These books, unlike so many others, were not just read, but revisited, loved, and experienced.
When you're driving, you don't focus on everything at once, but you have peripheral awareness of it, right? You focus on what you need to at any given moment, whether it's the car in front of you, the jackass in the lifted truck passing you, or the sirens behind you, whatever. Everything exists, everything is there, but you don't have to see it all at once. Does that help? You don't have to see all the bindings you're seeing right now. Just focus on the outlines of the physical stuff you saw before.
I'm leaning against the bookshelves when it occurs to me that one thing here is real-the books. I reach behind me and let my fingers trail over the rough leather of their antique spines, then pull one free. Nobody here reads them; the books are for decoration. Chosen for the richness of their leather bindings not for the contents of their pages. Nobody will miss one, and I need a dose of reality.
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
When I knew I couldn't suffer another moment of pain, and tears fell on my bloody bindings, my mother spoke softly into my ear, encouraging me to go one more hour, one more day, one more week, reminding me of the rewards I would have if I carried on a little longer. In this way, she taught me how to endure "" not just the physical trials of footbinding and childbearing but the more torturous pain of the heart, mind, and soul.
The library was a little old shaby place. Francie thought it was beautiful. The feeling she had about it was as good as the feeling she had about church. She pushed open the door and went in. She liked the cmbined smell of worn leather bindings, library past and freshly inked stamping pads better than she liked the smell of burning incense at high mass.
The library was a little old shabby place. Francie thought it was beautiful. The feeling she had about it was as good as the feeling she had about church. She pushed open the door and went in. She liked the combined smell of worn leather bindings, library past and freshly inked stamping pads better than she liked the smell of burning incense at high mass.
From the time I began to read, as a child, I loved to feel their heft in my hand and the warm spot caused by their intimate weight in my lap; I loved the crisp whisper of a page turning, the musky odor of old paper and the sharp inky whiff of new pages. Leather bindings sent me into ecstasy. I even loved to gaze at a closed book and daydream about the possibilities inside.
It is, incidentally, a favour that e-books have done for the Good Bookshop: they have made books beautiful again. A few years ago, book covers could be rather drab affairs: the title and the author's name printed over a stock photograph of something Vaguely Relevant. If you wanted to read it, you had to take it as it was. Whereas now, in these new and glorious days when the margins on physical are that little bit higher than on the electrical alternative, publishers produce exquisite bindings. Bookshops haven't been this pretty for at least a century.
Swathed in silk, I feel like a caterpillar in a cocoon awaiting metamorphosis. I always supposed that to be a peaceful condition. At first it is. But as I journey into the night, I feel more and more trapped, suffocated by the slippery bindings, unable to emerge until I have transformed into something of beauty. I squirm, trying to shed my ruined body and unlock the secret to growing flawless wings. Despite enormous effort, I remain a hideous creature, fired into my current form by the blast from the bombs.
Whether I like it or not, most of my images of what various historical periods feel, smell, or sound like were acquired well before I set foot in any history class. They came from Margaret Mitchell, from Anya Seton, from M.M. Kaye, and a host of other authors, in their crackly plastic library bindings. Whether historians acknowledge it or not, scholarly history's illegitimate cousin, the historical novel, plays a profound role in shaping widely held conceptions of historical realities.
I ate them like salad, books were my sandwich for lunch, my tiffin and dinner and midnight munch. I tore out the pages, ate them with salt, doused them with relish, gnawed on the bindings, turned the chapters with my tongue! Books by the dozen, the score and the billion. I carried so many home I was hunchbacked for years. Philosophy, art history, politics, social science, the poem, the essay, the grandiose play, you name 'em, I ate 'em.
I love bookshelves, and stacks of books, spines, typography, and the feel of pages between my fingertips. I love bookmarks, and old bindings, and stars in margins next to beautiful passages. I love exuberant underlinings that recall to me a swoon of language-love from a long-ago reading, something I hoped to remember. I love book plates, and inscriptions in gifts from loved ones, I love author signatures, and I love books sitting around reminding me of them, being present in my life, being. I love books.
Almost I feel the pulsebeat of the ages, Now swift, now slow, beneath my fingertips. The heartthrobs of the prophets and the sages Beat through these bindings; and my quick hand slips Old books from dusty shelves, in eager seeking For truths the flaming tongues of the ancients tell; For the words of wisdom that they still are speaking As clearly as an echoing silver bell. Here is the melody that lies forever At the deep heart of living; here we keep The accurate recorded discs that never Can be quite silenced, though their makers sleep The still deep sleep, so long as a seeker finds The indelible imprint of their moving minds.
Grace Noll Crowell
It was her first book, an indigo cover with a silver moonflower, an art nouveau flower, I traced my finger along the silver line like smoke, whiplash curves. ... I touched the pages her hands touched, I pressed them to my lips, the soft thick old paper, yellow now, fragile as skin. I stuck my nose between the bindings and smelled all the readings she had given, the smell of unfiltered cigarettes and the espresso machine, beaches and incense and whispered words in the night. I could hear her voice rising from the pages. The cover curled outward like sails.
I don't have many friends, not the living, breathing sort at any rate. And I don't mean that in a sad and lonely way; I'm just not the type of person who accumulates friends or enjoys crowds. I'm good with words, but not spoken kind; I've often thought what a marvelous thing it would be if I could only conduct relationships on paper. And I suppose, in a sense, that's what I do, for I've hundreds of the other sort, the friends contained within bindings, pages after glorious pages of ink, stories that unfold the same way every time but never lose their joy, that take me by the hand and lead me through doorways into worlds of great terror and rapturous delight. Exciting, worthy, reliable companions - full of wise counsel, some of them - but sadly ill-equipped to offer the use of a spare bedroom for a month or two.
Morfyd's care. As she walked out of the cave she passed Annwyl walking in. The girl had her swords in one hand. The other hand held her ripped shirt and bindings over her ample breasts. Her brows angled down into a dark frown and she wouldn't even look at Morfyd as she passed. 'How did that talk go then?' Morfyd called over her shoulder. 'Shut. Up.' Morfyd laughed as she advanced into the glen toward the clearing where she could take off. She rounded a corner and came upon her brother, his chainmail shirt and sword in his big hand, heading toward the hidden entrance of his cave. She watched him as he passed and she noticed the long scratches across his back. 'How did that talk go then?' Morfyd called over her shoulder. 'Shut. Up.' Morfyd shook her head. If love always made you this pathetic, she wanted nothing to do with it.
I love bookshelves, and stacks of books, spines, typography, and the feel of pages between my fingertips. I love bookmarks, and old bindings, and stars in margins next to beautiful passages. I love exuberant underlinings that recall to me a swoon of language-love from a long-ago reading, something I hoped to remember. I love book plates, and inscriptions in gifts from loved ones, I love author signatures, and I love books sitting around reminding me of them, being present in my life, being. I love books. Not just for what they contain. I love them as objects too, as ever-present reminders of what they contain, and because they are beautiful. They are one of my favorite things in life, really at the tiptop of the list, easily my favorite inanimate things in existence, and... I am just not cottoning on to this idea of making them... not exist anymore. Making them cease to take up space in the world, in my life? No, please do not take away the physical reality of my books.
The smooth, flat rocks were exactly the same, the sea pounded down on them in the same way, and also the landscape under the water, with its small valleys and bays and steep chasms and slopes, strewn with starfish and sea urchins, crabs and fish, was the same. You could still buy Slazenger tennis rackets, Tretorn balls, and Rossignol skis, Tyrolia bindings and Koflach boots. The houses where we lived were still standing, all of them. The sole difference, which is the difference between a child's reality and an adult's, was that they were no longer laden with meaning. A pair of Le Coq soccer boots was just a pair of soccer boots. If I felt anything when I held a pair in my hands now it was only a hangover from my childhood, nothing else, nothing in itself. The same with the sea, the same with the rocks, the same with the taste of salt that could fill your summer days to saturation, now it was just salt, end of story. The world was the same, yet it wasn't, for its meaning had been displaced, and was still being displaced, approaching closer and closer to meaninglessness.
Karl Ove Knausge¥rd
When you start searching for 'pure elements' in literature you will find that literature has been created by the following classes of persons: Inventors. Men who found a new process, or whose extant work gives us the first known example of a process. The masters. Men who combined a number of such processes, and who used them as well as or better than the inventors. The diluters. Men who came after the first two kinds of writer, and couldn't do the job quite as well. Good writers without salient qualities. Men who are fortunate enough to be born when the literature of a given country is in good working order, or when some particular branch of writing is 'healthy'. For example, men who wrote sonnets in Dante's time, men who wrote short lyrics in Shakespeare's time or for several decades thereafter, or who wrote French novels and stories after Flaubert had shown them how. Writers of belles-lettres. That is, men who didn't really invent anything, but who specialized in some particular part of writing, who couldn't be considered as 'great men' or as authors who were trying to give a complete presentation of life, or of their epoch. The starters of crazes. Until the reader knows the first two categories he will never be able 'to see the wood for the trees'. He may know what he 'likes'. He may be a 'compleat book-lover', with a large library of beautifully printed books, bound in the most luxurious bindings, but he will never be able to sort out what he knows to estimate the value of one book in relation to others, and he will be more confused and even less able to make up his mind about a book where a new author is 'breaking with convention' than to form an opinion about a book eighty or a hundred years old. He will never understand why a specialist is annoyed with him for trotting out a second- or third-hand opinion about the merits of his favourite bad writer.