Friday, November 26, 2010

In the Mail

It is not often that I am blown away by the idea of a book before I have had the opportunity to page through it to see if it is really as has been described to me.  But an email I got last week from Da Capo Press got me very excited about a book of theirs titled Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book - and after receiving it in this afternoon's mail, I am more excited about it than ever.

Why did I react the way I did?  Just read this blurb from the book's back cover and you will, I am certain, understand:
In Bound to Last, an amazing array of authors comes to the passionate defense of the printed book with spirited, never-before-published essays celebrating the hardcover or paperback they hold most dear - not necessarily because of its contents, but because of its significance as a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable object.  Whether focusing on the circumstances behind how a particular book was acquired, or how it has become forever "bound up" with a specific person, time, or place, each piece collected here confirms - poignantly, delightfully, irrefutably - that every book tells a story far beyond the one found within its pages.
Does anyone really believe that an e-book will ever have this kind of an impact on its owner?  Yeah, sure.

The book is edited by Sean Manning, who has written a brilliant two-page Introduction, and it includes a Forward from Ray Bradbury.  Manning's introduction, in fact, puts something about the attraction of a physical book into words that I have been struggling to express for some time.  It is a simple statement, so well put that I admire its clarity as much as the picture it paints in my mind:
It's just that, to me, one of the best parts of reading, one of the things that hooked the tactile sensation of turning a page, the sight of my bookmark inching along night after night, getting closer to the finish, then finally closing the book, hearing that whomp, turning it over in my hands, feeling the weight of it, the sense of accomplishment that brings.

 That's exactly what I've been trying to say.  This one, without a doubt, is jumping to the very top of my TBR stack.


  1. I love that last quote. Even though most of the books I review are in audio form, I do love the ones that I actually get to read to my kids and with my wife. I do exactly as that quote says, watch my bookmark creep along, close the back cover with emphasis when the end is reached, and then turn it back over and admire the feeling of accomplishment!

    I think that Ray Bradbury was a perfect choice for the forward to this type of book! Fahrenheit 451 was an amazing book and emphasized the value of physical books in a very powerful way!

    This one sounds very interesting!

  2. I sometimes slam a book shut when I finish it just to hear that sound.

    It can be very satisfying.

  3. I can't wait to hear more about this one and which books the authors chose to highlight. You are right that acquiring an ebook is nothing like getting a "real" book!

  4. Kathleen, I've posted the review now and the book is everything I hoped it would be...see above.