Elsewhere on the Internet: Fun with Bound Books

Penn Book Tree

Happy holidays, y’all. I cannot claim responsibility for the creation of my company’s book tree–although when I heard that the marketing assistant was spearheading one, I gleefully pulled down all of the books from our archive that I’ve been meaning to ship back to the warehouse for ages. (Unfortunately, most of them were not green, so this was not the most helpful thing except from a housekeeping perspective.) The garland is made from stickers that the Jewish Book Council sends us every year, and the topper is Benjamin Franklin. (We have a number of Ben Franklins lying around, including a life-size cardboard Ben that wears a baseball cap and hangs out in our student worker cubicle.)

If you, like me, are on the road (or, more precisely, in the air) and looking for some pleasant clicks, please click through to these posts which all include photos of beautiful bookery.

  • A little while ago, The Toast had a post on the Pros and Cons of Organizing Your Bookshelves by Color. I’ve been in the same room of a color-coordinated bookshelf, and I can attest that it really is a thing of beauty and joy, although I would worry about all of organizational issues the other explains in her Cons list.
    My own bookshelf is organized by and alphabetized within genre distinctions, a habit I developed when I moved to Philadelphia for grad school and left behind a tall shelf of books neatly labeled so that my mom could easily find and ship books if I needed them. (Thanks, mom!) I also have the ability to shelve two rows deep on the middle shelves, so those books are suborganized by preference: thus, Lyotard comes after Kant rather than after Lacan, who has been relegated to the back row.
  • My gentleman friend visited a friend in Brooklyn whose husband makes furniture, and he showed me a photo of their armchair which had built-in bookshelves. It looked similar to this example at the top of an old Brainpickings post, but with a homier or less slick finish on the wood.
  • This week Colossal had a post about the astonishing book sculpture of Guy Laramee, who carved and colored a beautifully detailed mountainous landscape out of an Encyclopedia Britannica set. This kind of thing is always a little shocking to me: even though I find it lovely to look at, I still have a great (and archaic) respect for encyclopedic volumes. We had a much-loved, much-used set of World Book Encyclopedias when I was growing up: their heft, gilt-edged pages, and dignified pebbled binding made them feel like precious objectsto me, and I would leaf carefully through the thin uncoated pages looking for readable entries on geography and mythology (childhood favorite subjects). A set of encyclopedias scalped and sculpted feels a little sacriligous even though I know that these bulky volumes have little value these days when the wealth of human knowledge can be found online.
  • If you love book sculpture, then you must know about the anonymous sculptor in Scotland who secretly left mysterious book sculptures at various institutions in Edinburgh. They are minutely detailed and finely crafted, quite beautiful to look at, and of course it’s a quite delicious mystery to think about an artist creeping around Scotland leaving these anonymous gifts just for the pleasure of arts and letters.
  • Via Colossal, who posted about the beautiful book-edge paintings discovered in University of Iowa’s special collections and archive, I’ve been enjoying the rest of the archive’s Tumblr which is full of treasures for book nerds.



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