The Art of Book Design: A Houseboat on the Styx

John Kendrick Bangs. A Houseboat on the Styx. U.S., Harper & Brothers, 1895.

Today’s book is extra-special because it belongs to our very own Anne, Cranky Cat Lady. It’s also my very first reader submission for this column and I thank Anne for that very much. She tells me this book belonged to her parents and I can see that it’s landed in a good next home with someone who recognizes that the value of a book is more than just as a repository for stories.

Often when I post a lovely, old book I wonder what it feels like in your hand. What are its textures, its weight and its point of balance? What of the thickness of its papers and the feel of its edging as you turn a page? I wonder how the binding sounds as you open the book and what is the faint fragrance of its paper and glue and incense of ink. Modern e-readers are fine, functional things and I use one myself sometimes, but a book, a real book, is a treat for the senses and not just the mind.

If you have a real book that you’d like to share, I’d like to see it. Just e-mail me at the link on the sidebar. Thanks again, Anne, for sharing your A Houseboat on the Styx.

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