I've always loved books. I can't remember when I learned to read ~ certainly it was before I went to school ~ probably at age four or so. I know this because I have vivid memories of being bored out of my mind tracing 8" high fuzzy ABC's with my index finger in Grade One, and being seriously annoyed when I realized we weren't going to be given any *real* books until after lunch, or maybe even later.
I claim no particular genius in reading so early, it was most likely due to the fact that in my early years I lived in what we called "the bush", i.e. smallish dwellings in deep forests far from town, and without the benefit of television or (that I can recall), even radio. There were only limited options for self-amusement: go outside and play (which at some times in the year might result in freezing to death), make art (still doing that ~ plus ca change!), help with housework (um ... ick), and reading. Reading seemed the most reasonable of these, since constant art-making was not on the cards due to the shocking absence of craft stores in the deep forest. Reading had the added advantage that I could learn about the Great World Beyond, where I would (and eventually did) go. Even in the smallest of our dwellings, there was always a corner designated: The Library. It might only be a bookcase, but to us it was a Library. I didn't actually get my own public library card till I was 13 or 14 I think. But that's another story and completely unrelated to my reading habits.
Anyone who's been to my house can attest to my ongoing love of books. I *do* have a library card now, but I seldom borrow books. But only because I can't bear to give them back. It's like I form a bond with them ... a contract ... that having read them once, I will read them again, and again, and how can I do that if someone else has them? No ... better to buy them outright. Well, at least until you run into the problem we currently have - no more wall space for more bookcases. Sigh.
Meanwhile, back to the book that inspired this ramble ... or, why have I put a picture of Jonathan Safran Foer's book Tree of Codes here for you to see? I can't claim to have read it. I'm not sure if it's good. But it's definitely interesting. A book after my own heart. In order to find out why, I offer the following videos: public reactions, how it was made and Jonathan says.
In "how it was made" I was particularly touched by a scene midway (2:42) showing pages being hand-collated, a process I've been intimately involved with since I was 18 and continuing up to the present day. Oh, and the cutter shown at 2:33? I know my way around that, too. Granted, I spend much more time nowadays at a desk interacting with a computer (who doesn't?), but if push comes to shove (which it sometimes does), I can cut, collate and bind if needed. Maybe not on as grand a scale as the video, but hey - we can't all be big publishing houses, can we?
The video portrays my very familiar world in an almost romantic way ... the snow of little diecuts falling from the sky ... the tenderness of little suction cups feeding sheets into the press ... the lush musical score. And for all the times that I really really really do not want to go to work (constant art-making is much more fun), there is an ordered beauty to the printing process that makes me really happy too. And I wanted to share it with you.