This week brought the privilege of touring Penguin Random House Canada’s gorgeous new facilities in downtown Toronto, sponsored by the Ontario Library Association’s 2017 Super Conference (#OLASC). As soon as we walked through the front doors, the wonderful smell of new books greeted us, and set the tone for the tour.
Reception area at Penguin Random House Canada
When Penguin merged with Random House in 2013, it just so happened that the leases on their separate business offices were coming due shortly thereafter. Because of this fortuitous coincidence, a brand new location was renovated to house the new, combined company. We had a lovely tour guide from the architectural firm that built the new office, and she was wonderfully informative, showing us all the innovative designs that were used to build the open-concept space that truly fosters creativity and collaboration.
We were invited to view individual work stations, as well as meeting rooms and casual spaces designed to promote spontaneous interactions and conversations. The end of the tour brought us to the brand new retail store that opened over the summer (@PenguinShopTO). Even though it is only 158 square feet, this little shop holds a great many treasures for book lovers including paperback and hardcover books, mugs, bags, water bottles, and more!
Full disclosure though, the tour would have been even better if we had learned about what Penguin Random House actually does as a publisher. The tour was focused on the space where all the magic happens, but not on the magic itself. All in all, however, it was still a great way to spend an hour, and I think everyone on the tour would agree that it was interesting, informative and a lot of fun!
Does anyone out there have a book (or books) that looks like this?
As you can probably guess, I do! Well, I did. The two books pictured above were my mother’s, and they were published in 1908. Clearly, they suffered a lot over the years, and I decided to take them to my local bookbinder, Don Taylor, so they could get a new lease on life.
Restoration specialist Kate Murdoch worked on my book, and we discussed what should be done. I wanted the two books bound into one, since the one volume was missing both covers, and we hoped that the remaining covers could be salvaged. Kate resewed the pages, making the binding tight again (shown below). The beautiful endpapers were lifted from the original covers, but alas, the covers themselves were too weak and could not be restored.
The end result (shown below) is a beautifully tight, crisp new volume that will be around for the next hundred years.
Thank you Kate Murdoch and Don Taylor Bookbinder! If you’re in the area and have a book or two that could benefit from a skillful restoration, here’s where to go:
Don Taylor – Bookbinder
176 John Street, Unit 511
If you are near Toronto next weekend, don’t miss INSPIRE! at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building. (255 Front St., West) from November 13-16, 2014.
Thursday, November 13: 7pm-11pm
Friday, November 14: 10am-8pm
Saturday, November 15: 10am-8pm
Sunday, November 16: 10am-6pm
Click here for hours and ticket prices. Click here for the list of exhibitors!
See you there! Follow the book fair on Twitter @InspireTIBF
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
- Okay, yes. There is a little fiction thrown in here to make the story really come alive, but it’s a true crime read that will not disappoint. I originally read this for a book club and was reluctant to read it. Wow, was I in for a shock. This is a gripping page turner that educates at the same time. Highly recommended! Check out more reviews at Amazon.com.
The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country by Charlotte Gray
- Toronto, 1915. A bit dry at times, but a very interesting look at how Toronto (and Canada) were a century ago. Check out more reviews on Amazon.com.
Midnight in Peking by Paul French
- A fascinatingly educational, gripping page-turner. Written about an event that took place in 1937, this book provides a glimpse into a bygone Peking as well as a satisfying solution to a grisly unsolved murder. Check out more reviews on Amazon.com.
Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper – Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell
- A very convincing case, I really believe Cornwell solved this one. Thoroughly researched with lots of photos, this is highly recommended! Check out more reviews on Amazon.com.
Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine’s Nuclear Strike Attempt on the US by Kenneth Sewell
- This book was amazing. Very well written and thoroughly researched, you won’t believe it’s true – but it is! Check out more reviews on Amazon.com.
Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist’s Wife by Irene Spencer
- Absolutely fascinating! The title pretty much says the rest. Check out more reviews on Amazon.com.