Bookbinding 2!

I took Bookbinding 2 at the San Francisco Center for the Book over the weekend, and had a great time! I made two new books and learned some new techniques. Check it out:

There were three main differences between these books and the ones from Bookbinding 1 — the rounding of the spines, making cloth corners for one of the books (cloth is more durable than paper, so the corners won’t wear through as quickly), and assembling the cover in a more traditional, stronger fashion. You’ll note the paper joining the spine to the cover boards, that’s been torn along the edges. We sanded that down so it would be smoother under the endpapers and the edge of the paper wouldn’t make a bump. The tearing makes that process easier.

I’ve been doing a little work on a book of my own at home, but stalled out because I need a finishing press… plus space to work and a nipping press and and and. I’m in the process of getting all that, and once my workbench is all set up, I’ll give y’all a tour!

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Mine, All Mine

It would probably surprise anyone who saw my bookshelves, but I don’t consider myself a serious collector — mostly because I don’t shell out tens of thousands of dollars for rare editions of centuries-old texts the way the hardcore ones do. I certainly have the urges, though, and when they hit, they hit hard. A case in point:

At a recent convention, I was perusing the shelves of a vendor carrying books and I found this little treasure. I paid $75 cash to the lovely lady and hustled out of there before anyone could notice and point out the utter insanity of me even finding this book, let alone getting it for such a good price.

I already own the Wolf Annotated Dracula in paperback (with its impressively hideous cover, bleck), but have always longed for the long-out-of-print hardcover edition. This one? This is a first edition. The vendor said she only finds one every few years, if that. I’ve found ones in good shape for sale for well over $100. This one has a Demco dust jacket cover protecting the lovely dust jacket (which is in surprisingly good shape) and aside from a general yellowing of the pages, it’s in excellent condition.

Much to my disappointment, almost none of my friends at the con got why I was so excited to have gotten my paws on this lovely tome. But then, it wasn’t a book convention, and there aren’t many people who understand why I own half a dozen copies of Dracula to begin with, let alone two editions of the same annotated edition (the notes are fantastic, and the text of the novel is a reproduction of the second printing ever).

That’s all right, though. I didn’t buy it to show off, I bought it because it makes me grin and do a little dance to hold it.

Looks like I’m a collector after all.

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Profitable Idealism

I spent a big chunk of time today at the Twitter Party for Profitable Idealism — Very interesting stuff! I even got super lucky and won the grand prize, free admission to the Profitable Idealism course! WOW.

If you missed it, check out the hashtag on Twitter and poke around the site. It looks like a great course! Go forth and sign up before the price goes up next week! There are pre-registration bonuses, too! DO EET. Preferably through my affiliate link there. 🙂

One of the questions that was both easy to answer and got me thinking was: who are your role models for changing the world?

Obviously, my answer was Eddie Riggs — I’ve written about him before — but after I sent in my reply I had a thought: is it weird that one of my inspirations is a video game character? And not just a video game character, but one from a heavy metal hack-and-slash-with-real-time-strategy game? Not to mention he’s played by Jack Black, who isn’t really known for being all about idealism and changing the world.

But, as I put it in my reply: Eddie saves the world and gets the girl, and all while serving others. His whole existence is about making life easier for artists so they can do their thing, and one idea that kept coming up in the conference call part of the party was that changing the world can happen through helping the people around you. Companies like Zappos.com are idealistic and world-changing because they’re so focused on employee and customer happiness.

From that point of view, Eddie is definitely an idealism/world-changing role model. He organizes, directs, builds, and takes major risks in the service of helping out the people he believes in — Lars, Lita, and Ophelia.  He works hard for little or no recognition in the our world before he’s taken to the Age of Metal because he loves music and is dedicated to being the best roadie he can be.

So yeah, it might seem weird, but my inspiration for being a world-changing idealist is Eddie Riggs, roadie, metalhead, and general badass.

Eddie Riggs

A good roadie knows his whole job is to make someone else look good, keep someone else safe, help someone else do what they were put here to do. A good roadie stays out of the spotlight. If he's doing his job right, you don't even know he's there. Once in a while he might step on stage just to fix a problem, to set something right. But then before you even realize he was there or what he did, he's gone. --Eddie Riggs

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Bookbinding 1!

Oh, man, I had the best time up at the SF Center for the Book over the weekend! I took Bookbinding 1, which consisted of building two flat-back hardbound books under the guidance of Rhiannon Alpers, who has both her BA and her MA in book arts. How cool is that?

I took a bunch of photos of the process, so here they are for your viewing pleasure!

I had a lot of fun, and am going to take Bookbinding 2 at the end of the month. Rawk!

It’s a lot of fun learning how to do this — not only does this enable me to build my own books, soon I’ll know enough to start repairing books as well!

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Busy Week for the Roadie!

There are two exciting things coming up this weekend for book-lovers. The first is third biennial CODEX International Book Fair and Symposium taking place February 6-9 at UC Berkeley. There will be lectures (alas, they’re pretty pricey) and a book fair with vendors from all over the world. I am planning on hitting the book fair for sure.

The Codex Foundation is dedicated to preserving the art and craft of the book, and they’re offering a series of workshops on Saturday February 5 at the Kala Art Institute. The Kala Art Institute offers printing and typesitting classes, and is well worth checking out.

I’m particularly excited about a different event happening this weekend: The San Francisco Center for the Book‘s Bookbinding I class! It’s a two-day workshop covering the fundamentals of hardcover bookbinding, and I’m psyched. This is one of the classes that will enable me to repair old, damaged books, and is the first of several I’m planning to take at the SFCB. They offer a ton of workshops related to books, from printing to art to binding.

Looks like February is going to be a good month for book-lovers in the Bay Area!

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Hunter or Gatherer?

John DeNardo posits here that there are two types of book buyers — Hunters, who know exactly what they want and enter a bookstore or library to find it, buy it, and leave; and Gatherers, who browse around to see what catches their interest. Of course, either sort may occasionally go into the opposite mode depending on the circumstances, but a lot of folks seem to fall mostly into one camp.

For me, it’s situational. Physical bookstores, especially those with used books, send me into Gatherer mode. I find myself wandering through my usual sections but occasionally being drawn into the others by an unseen tug that leads me to a strange book I either can’t stop myself from buying or stare at in amused horror and regale friends with the fact that it exists.

I’m enough of a collector now that I don’t use my local libraries (and with as many unread books as I have, it seems counter-productive), but when I was a kid I routinely checked out the maximum number of books allowed because I found so many interesting things while browsing. As a college student, going into the campus library to do research frequently resulted in me leaving with at least a couple books for my own reading (the library at the college I attended had some absolutely gorgeous older editions of novels that drew me like a moth to a flame).

Being a Gatherer has definite risks — I often joke that it’s not safe for me to take a credit card into a bookstore — but it also has great rewards. I can’t count the number of books I got because they were nearby a book I was looking for specifically, or because their cover or title or subject caught my eye.

Online, though, I’m a hunter. Someone will mention a book and it will sound interesting, so I’ll hit Amazon or Powell’s and get it. I don’t really browse websites, they’re too ethereal for me to get a sense of the book.

Which type are you?

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Someone Who Gets It

Last week, a friend came over to my place for lunch. She hadn’t been over before, and in fact, I don’t think visited my last apartment, either. It was a bit of a surprise to her, I think, to see my shelves and shelves of books. They surrounded us as we sat on my couch and chatted, so naturally we wound up talking about them.

She bemoaned the fact that most of her books are currently in storage, and said she’d been thinking about getting an ereader of some sort, but that seeing my collection made her remember the things she liked about physical books. The sensory input of turning a page, of seeing the cover every time you pick it up, of having the books on display as a design element in the room, the smell of an old book, that sort of thing.

It made me smile. This is the sort of person I roadie for. She gets it.

People who hear about my books and say, “so when are you getting a Kindle?” don’t get it. People who say “ooooh, now’s a perfect time to cull your books!” when you mention you’re moving don’t get it. Folks who have never walked into a used bookstore and closed their eyes and breathed deep with a blissful smile don’t get it.

They are not my Right People, to use one of Havi’s words.

And that’s okay! Not everyone has to be a bibliophile.

But for those folks who get it, I am here to say, Awesome, dude. I get it too. Let’s do this.

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Hi. My name is Ealasaid, and I’m a bibliomaniac.

Happy New Year, all!

So, the lovely Kyeli has instituted a Book-Buying Ban for 2011. She owns a number of books she hasn’t read yet, you see, so she’s going to read them this year instead of buying new ones. She posted a pic of some of her unread books, and I couldn’t resist responding here with a photo of mine:

My To-Read shelves

My To-Read shelves

Yeah. I have kind of a lot of books to read. A total of 175, actually, I just ran and counted. Plus the 10 books I’m reading right now (ten, wtf, that’s a little ridiculous, even for me), and a small handful of comics. I own more unread books than some folks’ own books, period. Sheesh.

A while ago I tried instituting a sort of half-ban on buying books. I decided that for every 20 books I read and removed from my to-read shelves, I would allow myself to buy a few books. Not too many. It didn’t work. See, I included a loophole for authors I collect and subjects I collect, and I could make a justification for almost anything. Plus, at that point people tended to give me books or bookstore gift cards for presents. The only reason I have fewer than 200 books on those shelves is I did a purge a couple months back. Any book I wouldn’t be willing to buy if I didn’t already own it went into the get-rid-of pile. It wasn’t easy.

And, well, almost immediately after doing it, I went to Powell’s Books up in Portland and dropped about $300 on another 21 books. I sometimes joke that I’m doing better than I did back in college, when I had a $30/week habit, year in, year out. The college and university bookshops were my Kryptonite, man. So many awesome books!

I briefly considered doing some kind of similar ban to Kyeli’s, but quickly decided not to. I don’t do resolutions for New Years, and that kind of flat out denial doesn’t come easily. I am, however, making a conscious effort to read more. Yes, I probably already read more than the vast majority of Joe Schmoes, but I don’t read as much as I wish I did. I love reading and I have spiffy new reading glasses, so I’m’a get my read on in 2011. No specific goals, just the intention to churn through the unread shelves a little.

How many unread books do you have as we start the new year?

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A Little Library Erotica

I’ve no doubt I’m not the only one who loves looking at photos of beautiful libraries.

Jay Walker's Library

Wired.com gives us a little tour of Jay Walker’s Library, which occupies more space than some houses.

Abbey Library St. Gallen, Switzerland

Librophiliac’s Compendium of Beautiful Libraries has some real lookers, including the above. I’m a sucker for those extra-tall shelves with little walkways on them.

Rijkmuseum Library, Amsterdam

Oddee gives us 20 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries. The spiral staircase in this one makes me drool.

Riggs Library - Georgetown University

Campus Grotto is more specialized, and gives us 25 of the Most Beautiful College Libraries. Georgetown’s has so much natural light, I almost wish I’d gone to school there.

Occidental College's library

However, I went to Occidental College, which has a spiffy library. As a loyal alumnus, I have to give it props. The stacks are actually my favorite part of the library, but I couldn’t find a photo of them. Now I have a mission for next time I’m in LA!

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My Hero

IMAG0360Last year, a game came out. A righteous game. A metal game. A game whose hero… was a roadie.

The game is Brütal Legend, and between its focus on heavy metal and the fact that its main character is voiced by and reminiscent of Jack Black (one of my fav actors), it was a match made in heaven. I adored it — all the more because its hero’s occasional philosophical ramblings about the duties of a roadie really appealed to me.

Last year I attended Ümloud,a charity event focused on Rock Band and similar music games. It happened right after Brütal Legend came out, so there was plenty of related stuff — costumes and so on — including one of a limited edition run of statues of the roadie hero himself, Eddie Riggs, up for bid in the silent auction. I’d been drooling over the things for months, trying and failing to win them in all sorts of weird contests, so I set myself a bid cap and went after it.

I managed to get it, partly by bluffing the crap out of the other guy who was bidding at the last minute.

Him: [outbids me].
Me: [outbids him with my maximum allowable expense]
Him: [reads the paper]
Me: [with a “make my day” expression] You wanna go for it? It’s for charity…
Him: Uh, you can have him.

I was overjoyed, even though when I got home, I discovered the statue had been damaged. The organizers of the auction had been carrying him around all evening and broken off the horns on his buckle and cracked the neck of his guitar.

IMAG0358Lucky me, though: I have an uncle who builds miniatures professionally. As in, has credits in movies for his work on them. He graciously agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to fix the poor guy up for me, and now he’s back in my possession! Look at that gorgeous guy.

Eddie’s determination and abilities really helped put into words what I’m striving to do here at The Book Roadie. He’s actually the reason I realized that what I was looking to be was a roadie… just, for books. It makes me smile every time I see him watching over my book collection.

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