Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm building a book.

Dorothy Dale and Her Chums by Margaret Penrose
Copyright, 1909

I found this book at a sale that took place a few years ago at the Joslin Memorial Library in Waitsfield, Vermont. Attached was a note that read This book was just returned to us. It was purchased in 1911. This gem from 1909 was not only fun to read, it is a beautiful object.

I love books. My attraction to the written word began very early in my life. I recall my parents finding a book on cursive writing at a school book sale and bringing it home to me. I diligently sat at our kitchen table and taught myself how to write in cursive the year before the rest of the children in my grade learned the skill. I was pleased as punch. I did it all by myself, with a book as my guide. It might have been the first time I realized the power of books.

I don't know where my life would be without the stacks and stacks of wonderful and even not-so-wonderful books I've read throughout the years. So many memories, so many lessons learned, so many peaceful hours spent reading.

One of my latest projects is building a book. And yes, that includes physically building the book. In the end, I might find that locating a professional printer makes the most sense, but first I'd like to work through the steps of building at least one humble book, from beginning to end, on my own.

I'm currently in the brainstorming and research stage. I have all sorts of ideas whirling around in my head and I'll try and articulate some of them and share them with you as I move through my process.

Like the tortoise, I'll be plodding along, slowly but surely. Please be patient.


  1. that book looks so full of history. love that.

    i had grand dreams of building books too - even bought a great book on different kinds of bindings. never quite got there :)

    thanks for the kind comment on my blog...

  2. Lisa S- Thank you for your note. I reserved 3 book making books at our library, paged through them, and ended up leaving them all there. I want to make a very simple book, but the information out there is a bit overwhelming. Still, I'm not giving up yet. On I go...

  3. Keep plodding tortoise. You'll get there. ;)

  4. ...I used to make my own little books when I was a kid. I forget now how I bound them -- I know I used cardboard covered in the paper we used to cover our school books with (it came in blue or red, and it had the relief of spider webs) for the cover... Oh, and I think I just made the pages like a rectangle and folded them in the middle, made a couple of holes on the spine, and then tied some string for keeping it together... And of course I wrote who knows what in them.... Stories in a second grader's voice.

    Huh. I hadn't thought about this in a really long time...

    Of course I realize you're talking about a more professional book. :) But thanks for allowing me to go down this little memory trip..!

    Keep at it, tortoise; you know you'll make it. Can't wait to see the end result.


  5. Maria- I'm glad you enjoyed your trip down memory lane. I used to make books when I was a little girl too, but I just took a pad of paper and wrote my book on the already bound pad. I remember one story about a cartoon world on the other side of our pool's drain. It was written on a smallish pad of paper, maybe 3x5". I believe I wrote with a green marker.

  6. I watched them make a book on Martha Stewart a few weeks ago and it looked very interesting. Good luck with yours.

  7. Oh, that story you wrote reminds me of a song by an Argentine singer, Sandra Mianovich... It's about a world of people that live "under the asphalt, people who've never seen the sun and don't know sound." Anyway, sounds creepier than it is. The melody is very sweet and the lyrics are a little kid-like...

  8. Maria- I must find the Argentine song to which you are referring. I am definitely intrigued by the idea of a sweet melody paired with these people beneath the asphalt. My story world, beneath the pool drain, wasn't creepy either.

  9. This makes me so happy to read about and learn that you have a passion as well for books. You definitely found such a gem of a book and I can't wait to hear more about the project.

  10. From a lover of book to another... building a book... how intriguing...

    how far will you go? make your own paper - talk about slightly obsessive here... but why not?

    Fold vellum paper in half and saw the pages together?

    write it by hand?


    Please do keep us updated.

  11. Sylvie- My first goal is to just do it! I want to begin with a super-simple prototype and not get so detailed in my thoughts that I never complete the project. I'll make decisions on attempting a second (third?) and the level of detail on further books once I get through my first down and dirty original. Soon...