Quirky Videos to Brighten the Book-Lover’s Day

As the title of this post suggests, I wanted to give my readers some smiles and create a fun post. The videos below are endearing and quirky and I enjoyed them, so I hope you do too.

1.  Uptown Funk parody, Unread Books

2.  What happens in a bookstore at night? The Joy of Books

3. The Fabulous Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

4. All About That Bass parody, All About Them Books

Graphic Novels?

In my December 18, 2014 posting, Intriguing!, I got to thinking about graphic novels a bit. I realized that I don’t own any, and if I want to build a well-rounded collection, I should have some in it. The problem for me is, most graphic novels are dark, both literally and figuratively. The subject matter is often less than uplifting, and the images are frequently very graphic. Go figure. So I decided that I would make it my mission to find at least one graphic novel that I like: one with pleasing illustrations, and an uplifting or at least interesting story line. And guess what? I found some.

Shaun Tan’s book, The Arrival (2007) is stunning. The illustrations reminded me right away of Chris Van Allsburg’s style, and the creativity displayed as Tan marries the age-old tale of a newcomer in a foreign land with futuristic cityscapes and animals provided a new delight on every page. At 128 pages, it’s really more of an illustrated story (there are no words), than a graphic novel, but it’s still a worthy addition to anyone’s collection and will be enjoyed by adults and children alike. For more information, check it out on Amazon.com.
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Here, by Richard McGuire (2014), is also a really neat book. As I mentioned in December, it is the story of one little piece of land  told over many centuries, with glimpses into different years together on the same page. This is definitely a novel, at 304 pages, and also worth adding to your collection. For more information, check it out on Amazon.com.
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Healthy Book tips: How to safely handle and store your books

How to Handle Your Books

If you reach for your books by placing your fingers on the top of the spine and pulling them toward you off the shelf, you are not alone. Most people pull books off a bookshelf by tilting or sliding the volume towards them using the most obvious place to get a grip – the headcap, or row of stitching at the top of the spine. Pulling on the headcap, however, will eventually cause damage to the book.

photo 1   *This is the incorrect way to pull a book off a shelf.

Instead, press down on the top of the page block and gently tilt the book out until you can safely grasp it on either side with your thumb and fingers. Another option is to push back the books on either side of the desired volume so as to leave a space for you to grasp the book on either side with your thumb and fingers.

photo 2   *This is the correct way to pull a book off a shelf.

Storing Your Books

If you have a large book that can’t fit upright on your shelf, the best way to store it is lying flat. If space just doesn’t allow for that, store the book spine down. If you store your book spine up, the text block (all the pages) call fall out of the binding.

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*image retrieved from Northeast Document Conservation Center https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/4.-storage-and-handling/4.1-storage-methods-and-handling-practices

If you have a book that is fragile and needs support, the best thing to do is create a box made of archival-grade material that fits the book exactly and gives it the support it needs. The Northeast Document Conservation Center has a pamphlet on how to construct a protective book boxes, but if you don’t feel up to the task, contact a book binder or conservation centre near you to enlist expert help.

All I Want for Christmas…

Is there one book that really stands out as a gift that made a lasting impression? There is one book that immediately comes to my mind that I received when I was 8 years old. It’s called, My Big Christmas Book by Hayden McAllister and my dad gave it to me for Christmas. I poured over it that year and continued to read and re-read it for years after. It has many short stories, as well as songs and recipes, all interspersed between 24 installments of “Muffit, the little angel,” and it’s a whopping 327 pages!

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The illustrations are charming, and the stories are heart-warming. It was a wonderful gift, and I’ve treasured it all these years.

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Is there a special book (it doesn’t have to be about Christmas) in your collection that someone gave you? What makes it special?

Book Art for Christmas

To some of us, books are sacred objects, and should be left in their natural state. To others, however, re-inventing or up-cycling a book can bring new life to one that would otherwise have sat unused and unread, gathering dust and providing no new joys or insights to its owner. With that in mind, I found some delightful tutorials on how to make festive holiday decorations using old books. May your books be merry and bright!

1. How to Make a Holiday Tree Using a Paperback Book by Jeannie Nadja

2. Recycled Book Wreath Tutorial by MadeByMarzipan

3. Christmas Crafts: Hand Made Christmas Tree Ornaments by Heather Minnow (2 out of the 3 ornaments use books)

More Book Art!

Hello! It’s been a while since my last post, and I do apologize for keeping all of my loyal fans perched on the edge of their seats in eager anticipation for so long. Seriously, though. It’s been a busy few weeks, but I thought I would get back into the swing of things by doing a post on everyone’s favorite genre of visual art: Book Art. If you love the art of the folded page, here is a very handy guide from Instructables.com on how to produce such masterpieces.

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(image retrieved from http://twentytwowords.com/turning-old-books-into-art-by-folding-the-pages-into-words-5-pictures/)

Inspiration Green also has some neat ideas and pictures of book art on their Art From Old Books page. Here’s an example:

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Jonathan Callan of London – “The Defrauder” joseebienvenugallery.com (image retrieved from http://www.inspirationgreen.com/art-from-old-books.html)

And last, but not least, is FlavorWire‘s post, “10 Visual Artists Who Use Books as Their Medium.” It’s got some really neat photos of work by Thomas Allen, Su Blackwell, Jeremy May, Mike Stilkey, and others. Check it out! Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.59.30 PM

“The Message” by Robert The  (image retrieved from http://flavorwire.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/the_message.jpg)

A Book’s Worst Enemy #4

Number Four – Adhesives and metals

How many of us have picked up a book that was mended with Scotch tape, only to have the tape come off in our hands as a rigid, brittle strip, leaving a corresponding stain on the still-broken page it was meant to fix? And how many of us have seen the rust that leaves a permanent stain on the page under a paper clip? I know you’re all nodding knowingly. Well, here’s a post to help you ensure your own library is free of casualties that can be easily avoided.

Adhesives
Adhesives like tape will break down over time, losing their stickiness, and likely staining the paper under them in the process. Images and text under the tape can also be rendered illegible by this deterioration. If you want to repair a torn page, use very fine Japanese paper and a starch paste, such as wheat or rice. Such pastes are water-soluble and can be easily removed if necessary.

If the spine of your book is coming apart, don’t use tape or Japanese paper. Go to a book binder who can re-bind it and preserve as much of the old binding as possible. (More on that in a post coming next month.)

Metals
Whether it is a paper clip, staple, straight pin, brad tack or any other type of metal fastener, it’s bad for paper, and therefore bad for books. Aside from the rust that can form, the metals emit contaminants that can break down the paper under and around the fastener, leading to brittle paper. Metal is also rough and can cut paper that is in constant contact with it. The moral of this story is, of course, to keep all metal and adhesive fasteners out of your books! If you do come across some metal tucked into a book that you want to remove, you can do so by hand, but be cautious of the paper underneath it. If you find a grommet that is embedded in the paper, or another type of fastener that is so tightly secured that removal will cause more damage, those are best left in place.

For more information on adhesives, metals and other book enemies, as well as how to combat any ill effects, see Cornell’s library website:
https://www.library.cornell.edu/preservation/librarypreservation/mee/
preservation/basicremedial.html

A Book’s Worst Enemy #2

Number Two – Light

This post is going to be brief, because the message I hope to convey is really simple: Damage from light is cumulative and irreversible

With that important tidbit in mind, be sure to keep books you care about away from a lot of light. Archives, museums and libraries that have rare and/or culturally significant books keep them in cool, dark places unless they have to be on display, in which case they make sure the light in the display area is low, and they put ultraviolet filters over windows if they can. Books that have to be open are not kept open at the same page for the duration of the display because of the damage that would occur to the open page.

While all light isn’t great for books and paper, it’s the ultraviolet radiation in light that is the most active and therefore the most potentially damaging. Light bleaches paper and will cause inks and dyes to fade. Conversely, light can also make poor-quality paper darken. In addition to the aesthetic damage that occurs when paper is exposed to ultraviolet radiation, light speeds up paper’s oxidation, making it weak and brittle. Did you know that along with natural sunlight, fluorescent light contains ultraviolet radiation as well?

Just to review:

  • Light (especially ultraviolet radiation) is damaging to paper and books
  • Keep your books away from light as much as you can – apply UV filters to windows if you really want to protect those books
  • Light will weaken, bleach and/or darken your books

Romance for book-lovers

Here’s another great idea for giving a dusty, old book a new lease on life.

Step One: Find someone you want to marry.

Step Two: Find a hard-cover book that is rarely used and largely considered “boring” or uninteresting (a soft-cover book might work, but it’s not really recommended).

Step Three: Carve a big square out of the centre of each page of most of the book.

Step Four: Buy a beautiful engagement ring that will cause your favorite person in the whole world to swoon and wear a perma-smile for days.

Step Five: Cut a slit in the pages above the square you cut in Step Three.

Step Six: Thread a lovely satin ribbon through the slit from Step Five, put the ring from Step Four on the ribbon, and tie it so that the ring hangs in the square cut in Step Three.

Step Seven: Write the words, “Will you marry me?” under the ring.

Step Eight: Step back, enjoy your handiwork and pat yourself on the back. You are a book-lover’s Casanova. In other words, Irresistible! A “yes” is guaranteed.

The Ring