Book Art: Malena Valcarcel

It’s been far too long since I’ve done a post on Book Art (almost exactly a year, oh my!), but I realized that although I have admired the gorgeous creations of this artist for some time, I somehow failed to do a post about them.

Malena Valcarcel is a book artist from Spain, and has a wonderful shop on Etsy. For the exceptional quality of work, her items are very reasonably priced. She even makes jewelry! Click on the pictures to go to the items on Malena’s website.

This is one of my favorites:
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And look at this one. Amazing!
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Malena’s work is incredible and ships anywhere in the world. I hope you have enjoyed looking at these treasures, and I also hope you head over to Etsy and treat yourself to some bookish art! 😉

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Interview with Words and Peace blog

Hello, Readers! A fellow blogger and I wanted to get to know each other a bit better, and also wanted to do a little advertising, so we’ve decided to co-publish an interview we did with each other on our blogs.

Emma from Words and Peace is posting my answers to these questions on her blog, and I hope you will enjoy her responses below, and also stop by her blog and get to know her!

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  1. What made you want to start a blog?

First of all, I would like to thank you Jess for interviewing me. The idea was born during BBAW, I’m glad we finally took the time to do this. Your followers who are interested in your answers can come and read them on my own book blog.

I launched Words And Peace in September 2010.
I have always loved reading and talking about books, to anyone ready to listen.
One day, I discovered evolution had produced a rare species, book bloggens. I was overjoyed to discover other members were not far from me, just a few computer keys away, and that I could communicate with them in a common language. So we started talking, and one day, I decided to join their lively community. I have not regretted it once.
So when I can’t talk books with people around me, I can always go and find other book bloggens members. Through them, I have discovered zillions of books I would never have heard about otherwise.

  1. What is it about books that is special to you?

I devour about 110 books every year, and I practice book polygamy, that is, I always read several books at the same time. I usually have one or more going on in print, one or more in a digital form, and always one in audio form. I am always in the process of reading a religious book, Lent or not, and I try to have another one pertaining to nonfiction as well.

So far, nothing that exceptional for a book blogger. Maybe more special is the fact that as soon as I have a minute when my hands are going to be busy and my brain free, I do not listen to music or podcasts, but to an audiobook: preparing dinner, doing the dishes, dusting, ironing, exercising or painting (I’m also an artist). Also during long road trips.

And I have decided not to have TV at home, so I basically have around 5 hours of leisure time every night to read. I usually do not read before 6pm, too busy with work (tutoring and translating novels), but after that, I can relax with a good book.

  1. What are some of the unexpected rewards that have come to you as a result of your blog?

When I started book blogging, as said above, I was just looking for a place to talk about books with others. In the process, I got familiar with all kinds of events related to book blogging, such as, among many other things, virtual book tours.
Visiting many other book bloggers and participating in blogging events made me become more aware of new releases and discover more closely the world of publishers. Little by little, I realized how many books published every month were set in France. So the idea gradually grew in me that there was a niche for me if I combined these two things.
That’s how book blogging led me to start my own virtual book tour company, in 2013, focused exclusively on books related to France.

For years, I’ve been aware of a heated debate among book bloggers, whether getting a book for free to review is pay enough, or whether you should get remunerated for talking time to read a book and write a review. There seems to be a brand new trend opening right now for book reviewers, where some companies are willing to pay to get some good quality honest reviews –we are not talking about “bribes” by sales platforms here. I have been recently accepted by one of these companies and another invitation is pending, so I have the feeling book blogging is going to morph for me and open onto other things down the line.

  1. Is blogging everything you thought it would be?

Book blogging has opened up wide horizons for me, much wider than I ever imagined, as far as connections with bloggers, authors, and publishers are concerned.

I had never thought either that it would push me to write public pieces on a regular basis in English, which is not my native language. It is quite exhilarating, even though I am aware of the persistent presence of syntax mistakes.
It has also offered to me the unexpected opportunity for more visibility regarding my translation jobs – I translate English novels into French, and I have the feeling this is also going to grow.
Besides, for whenever I have time, I also have a book project of my own. It will be the fruit of both my book blog and my virtual book tour site. I published an anthology a few years ago, so it would be really thrilling to put together a second book.
So book blogging has ended up being so much more than I thought it would be!

Thanks Jess, for your wonderful questions.

Emma at Words And Peace and France Book Tours

Words And Peace is also on FacebookTwitter, Google+Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube

And you can see here the novels I have translated so far

*** Thank you for this fun opportunity to spread the word about a fellow book-lover’s blog. All the best to you, Emma, and to those who stopped by to read our interview. ***

Biblio Body Art

I like books, obviously. I would even say without reserve that I love them. And there are a lot of people out there who share my enthusiasm, based on the number of Instagram profiles I’ve seen where people unabashedly proclaim their love for the codex. However, I think I can safely say that I will never love a book so much that I feel the need to put it in my skin. It turns out that I might be in the minority on that one, because there are a lot of pictures of book-related tattoos out there.

Let me say that even though I’m not a tattoo person, I do enjoy looking at interesting body art, and what could be more interesting than art about books?

44 Adorable Tattoo Designs for Book Lovers by Sortra.com :
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36 Stunning Book Tattoos That Are Surprisingly Badass at Buzzed.com:
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Literary Tattoos at POPSUGAR.com:
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I hope you enjoy these creative nods to literature as much as I did!

Are Your Books in Good Hands?

As we all know, books have been around for centuries, and many have survived to prove that fact. Tragically, most books printed today (mass market, trade publications) are predicted to last a mere 60 years. Why? Because of the mush they’re made of that breaks down quickly and is very acidic – unlike the rag paper that was used in the 15th century that still survives today.
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*second image retrieved from http://www.collaborations.com/Ebay/abtre.htm

So while caring for your books may seem pointless if your collection is largely composed of recently published popular books, every little effort helps in making sure they last as long as possible. If you’re a regular follower of this blog (thank you!!) you will have seen various posts in the Healthy Books category here, but today I thought I would point the way to others who have also published quick tips on what to do (and what NOT to do!) to keep your books healthy.

  1. Care For Your Collectible Books: 18 Essential Tips by emptymirrorbooks.com
  2. How To Care For Your Books: 5 Tips by apartmenttherapy.com
  3. Dos and Don’ts for Taking Care of Your Personal Books at Home by the New York Public Library
  4. How To Care For Your Books by the Washington Post

Books about Bookstores!

As a bibliophile, I enjoy reading books where a bookstore features prominently in the story. I love bookstores; I dream of spending my days in one. So when I find a book with characters whose lives are intimately connected with a bookstore, naturally I enjoy reading it a little more than the others.

Here is a short list of some books that might appeal to those other bibliophiles out there, and I do apologize for some repeats from my earlier posts.

1. The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley (1919)
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By now in the public domain and available through Print On Demand, this book is absolutely delightful. It features an atmospheric bookstore with a lovably eccentric owner; suspense and intrigue with just a touch of terrorism; romance, and a great many books.

2. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (2012)
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This novel was immediately absorbing, and I enjoyed every page of it. The protagonist ends up working in a very unusual bookstore quite by chance, and it ends up changing his life. Plus, we get an interesting glimpse into the world of Google. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending, but the journey to get there was wonderfully imaginative.

3. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (2014)
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Published just last year, and having received many commendations, you’ve no doubt at least heard of this book, if not already read it yourself. It is indeed heart-warming, touching, poignant, as well as funny, uplifting and an endearing tale of love and new life. And of course, it’s set around (and in) a bookstore!

4. Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries by Mark Leslie (2014)
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If you are at all intrigued by the supernatural, and also love books, then THIS is a book you will enjoy. And who knows, your local bookstore may be in it! Full of eye-witness account of real hauntings in Canada, the United States and abroad, it is an interesting, educational and spooky read.

Healthy Books: The Basics

We have looked at some important aspects of keeping your books healthy earlier in this blog (see the Healthy Books link on the right side of this page – you’ll have to scroll down to find it). But be sure to always keep these basics in mind:

1. Keep food and drinks away from your books. For obvious reasons.
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*image retrieved from barnesandnoble.com

2. Always wash your hands before handling your books, and also avoid using lotions or hand sanitizers. In the past, it was common for rare book collections to require the use of gloves when patrons handled their books, but that practice is falling out of use now. With the reduced sensitivity that comes from having your fingers covered, brittle and fragile pages were suffering the effects. According to the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC), “[m]ost of the dirt on book covers and pages is accumulated grime from oily fingerprints. While invisible initially, finger grease becomes all too visible as it oxidizes and collects dirt.” (http://www.conservation-us.org/about-conservation/caring-for-your-treasures/books#.VOj9dEIh428 Handling & Use, para. 2)
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*image retrieved from http://www.instructables.com/id/Intro_1/step5/Finisheddirty-hands/

3. Support the covers of your books. Opening a book the full 180* (or even worse – more than 180*!) is very hard on the spine. This rule is especially important for old and fragile books. There are many different types, sizes and angles of supports, and they can be very easily constructed or purchased.
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*image retrieved from bindingobsession.com                    * image retrieved from www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk

Here are some useful links to professional advice on caring for your collection:

Library of Congress – Care, Handling and Storage of Books

AIC – Caring For Your Treasures: Books

National Library of Scotland – Caring for rare books