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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bookmarks: Classics

If you visit Trinity College Dublin you can pay €9 (about $13.50 U.S.) to see the original Book of Kells. It's said to be one of the oldest illuminated manuscripts in existence, and perhaps the most beautiful. I mean to visit Trinity College Dublin ASAP.

The First Folio of Shakespeare, printed in 1623 not long after Shakespeare's death, is less rare. Scholars believe that about 750 originals were printed. After nearly 400 years, 228 still exist. That's a pretty good ratio. One of them lives at the Huntington Library and Gardens, right here in San Marino. Often, you can see the Huntington's First Folio displayed under glass, in the same room as their Gutenberg Bible.

There are those who say "under glass" view will soon be the norm with the most common of hard-bound books. Maybe. In fact, sure, why not? I've always loved hard-bound books for their beauty, even when I used to buy them new. I even have a Pinterest board called "Books As Beauty." But hardbacks are getting so expensive, if you actually read a lot you can't afford them, unless you buy them used.

There's a huff-puff lately about whether or not digital books will replace print. I don't think they will, though as digital readers become easier to use (and not so ugly, please), more people will use them for their convenience, not to mention the price. Since the beginning of time, humans have been all about convenience. Since money was invented, we've been all about getting it cheap. I don't know when money was invented, or when time began.

Just like movies didn't kill radio, and TV didn't kill movies, and video didn't kill TV, digital books are not going to kill print books. Print books may die, but that'll be suicide, not murder.


I hope you'll check out my guest post on Blurb Is A Verb, the blog of Sarah Pinneo, author of Julia's Child. I love the tag line for her book: "A delectable comedy for every woman who has ever wondered if buying that $6 box of organic crackers makes her a hero or a sucker." My post is called Everything Takes Longer Than You Think It Will. Feel free to leave a comment!

25 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Just read your other post and wow! Good lesson indeed... Then again, aren't most things that take a long time worthwhile? BTW I have a hard bound copy of my husband's favorite Arabian Nights... his personal childhood scribbling of " the best book ever"... Have u read Raintree County? Now that's an epic!.

Katie said...

Pretty books! (And I like the modern one you've snuck in there.) Thanks for the link to Trinity College so those of us not headed to Dublin soon can check out the digital version of the Book of Kells. Wow! I enjoyed your guest post on Blurb. Everyone planning to self-publish should definitely read it. I'll keep buying printed books as I don't want to see them die!

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks for reading at Blurb is a Verb. I had fun writing that one!

KBF, I haven't opened my "Arabian Nights" in a very long time, but I wouldn't part with it. I's a 1924 edition with illustrations ("colored plates") by Adeline H. Bolton.
http://bit.ly/ZPXZVe

Katie, I wanted to put a lurid romance novel in the picture, but I didn't have one. so I inserted a "modern classic," in paperback.

llandudnopictures said...

Great photo, I do prefer a 'real' book to a digital one.

Sid Gally said...

My wife and I saw the Book of Kells in the Trinity College Library but I think it was free there. Also saw where Gutenberg worked in Mainz, I think. It's hard to beat our own Huntington.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

@Petrea: unfortunately the pages that would tell me the edition are missing and the color plate of the Sultan of Cashmere was torn in half!. Your cover is better than my hubby's... his is a plain orange one and the pages are so aged... I do know his parents frequented Acres of Books in Long Beach which had a lot of first editions.. Too bad my husband didn't take care of his books.

Petrea Burchard said...

I do, too, Geoff. And I need more bookshelves!

Sid, the Huntington is, for me, a little taste of Europe in Southern California. You're right, it's hard to beat.

KBF, that link is a photo I found online. Unfortunately, mine isn't in great shape either.

Dina said...

Interesting.
And I love what you tell about your Camelot & Vine: "All devices and formats except vellum"

Desiree said...

Another beautiful book library is the Morgan. Amazing what robber baron money will get ya. My daughter and I went one free Friday and browsed while listening to the chamber music in the foyer.

Petrea Burchard said...

Just wait, Dina, someone will ask for a parchment copy on palimpsest.

Sounds like my kind of place, Des.

dive said...

Petrea, if you're interested, Norton (in Noo Yoik) have a beautiful copy of the First Folio and have made an affordable facsimile (yes, I've got one, as if you couldn't have guessed).

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Dive. The Norton is the one I have. I haven't read Shakespeare without it since about 1985. It's a huge, honkin, heavy book I'll never part with. Anyone who performs Shakespeare should have it, and anyone who wants to know how Shakespeare was performed in the 16th/17th centuries can't be without it.

dive said...

Huge, honkin' and heavy is right! I'm glad you have one and I should have known.
By the way, I finished C&V midweek and have almost done with my re-read. Damn, you're good! Like I said, I'd been a little worried I'd have to be kind to a friend but I was genuinely surprised and delighted. You write beautifully. I was with Casey from the first page and hung on every word. I'll write a review on Amazon once I can be sure to avoid sounding gushing.
So … er … when's novel number two coming out?

Laura Monteros said...

Capt. Jean-Luc Picard usually used his e-reader, undoubtedly due to limited storage on a starship, but he did have a few hardbounds in his quarters. Shakespeare and Dickens, I think.

Liked your blog post, Petrea. Self-publishing seems to be the way publishers want new authors to go, and if the books sell, then they might be interested. I think it's taking advantage, but it is what it is.

I'm in a writing group at Monte Vista Grove and we self-published two books, anthologies of our short pieces. This was mostly so we could give them to friends and family (and the Presbytery), because there are so many wonderful memories recorded. People at the Grove and local churches also bought copies, and even though we were not looking to make a profit, we sold enough to purchase a sound system for our classroom area.

We did not have an editor and it shows, so I definitely recommend that someone who truly wants a professional product have an editor/proofreader go over the copy.

Petrea Burchard said...

Dive, thank you! I'm thrilled you're reading it a second time. (It's a quick read, thank goodness.) Feel free to gush in your review, but don't feel like you have to give me five stars. Too many of those and shoppers know your friends are reviewing you.

Laura, your Jean-Luc Picard line made me laugh! I think you're right about some publishers. Some authors, however, aren't looking for publishers anymore.

TheChieftess said...

I'm on the "Friends of the Library" board up here and at our last board meeting there was a discussion about ebooks vs. regular books...the County Librarian said that actual books still outnumber ebooks according to his sources (I believe it was in regard to sales...)
I thought of you all and concurred that those of us who like to hold a book in our hands will hang on for awhile yet!!!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I did - visit that is

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm sure that's accurate, Chieftess. Many books published electronically have a paper counterpart as well. We're in a transition where some people want one or the other, and publishers are trying to please everyone. Does your library lend ebooks?

TheChieftess said...

Hmmmm...that's a good question...I'm not sure!!!

James L said...

I'm surprised those books haven't withered to dust. If only we had access to the books from the library Alexander the Great burned.

Petrea Burchard said...

The mind boggles, James. Over the centuries, a lot of books have been burned. Something about conquering people, you want to destroy their records, or at least change things. Savonarola in Florence comes to mind because I was reading about him recently. Books, art, etc. Imagine burning a Boticelli.

Nancy Scott said...

have been to Trinity--worth it!
Dublin's history museum is very cool too--lots of stuff about vikings....

Petrea Burchard said...

I'd love to visit those places, Nancy!

Ms M said...

Fascinating post and photo! We have a Norton Shakespeare also. I'd love to see the Book of Kells!

I'm halfway through C&V and lovin' it :-)

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Ms. M!
I have a Norton, as well as a Riverside. When you're in a play you use the version the director asks you to use. Then, if you're like me, you can't part with it.
I'll meet you in Dublin and we'll visit the Book of Kells together.