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Day: April 29, 2010

The Extraordinary Book Binding of Philip Smith

Speaking of books, I recently stumbled upon (without the help of StumbleUpon) the work of a British artist named Philip Smith who works exclusively in the bindings of books. As you know, a book is really just a stack of loosely connected papers until someone or some machine comes along and binds them all together. Usually a books binding is utilitarian at best, and shoddy at worst. Hard bound books are nice, if expensive, and then you have your mass market paperbacks which fall apart after 5 years because of cheap paper and cheaper glue.

Then you have artists like Mr. Smith here who not only return the craft of bookbinding to the highly-skilled artisanal place it held for centuries but add a surprising new dimension to it.

Here are a few favorites of mine from his site. See if you can guess which book each of these is. I promise there’s nothing esoteric here; these books can be found anywhere. Except maybe on Mars. For now.

Cool, right? I would LOVE to have one of these in my house on display. Talk about amazing art that would fit right in with my weirdo collection of things I like.

Head on over to the site to see if your guesses were correct. They’re all in the galleries.

Looking for something to read?

If you’re anything like me, and chances are you aren’t, then you have a huge stack of books on your shelves waiting for you to stay home more often and actually read them. I feel a little like a bad parent, but what are you going to do? However, having a back log of books doesn’t prevent me from wanting to acquire more books that I might eventually at some point in the future get around to reading. I mean, books are beautiful objects in their own right, and what’s the harm? It’s better to spend the 12.95 or whatever on a book than to spend it on cocaine. It wouldn’t be very MUCH cocaine, but the point still holds.

Once you’ve finished reading my pile of free, wildly captivating fiction, you might find yourself in need of something else to read while patiently waiting for me to update this site. Where might you find suggestions?

How about a surprisingly poorly written list of famous author’s favorite books?

Did you know that JCO’s favorite book is Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky? Or that David Foster Wallace picked C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters? Or that Michael Chabon, who I adore, picked Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges? Lots of surprises! Lots of new, fun books to read. The list even features Peter Cary of not-letting-me-into-Hunter fame. What was his favorite book? Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.

My only disappointment in this list—besides its ham-fisted writing style—is that my favorite author of all time, Cormac McCarthy, was not represented. I wonder what his favorite book is? Mr. McCarthy, if you read this, leave us a comment. Thanks!