The lost and found Art of Bookbinding, a second anniversary issue

It’s been two years since I started this blog and I just have to make this post fabulous…I’ve been wanting to write about the new Kindle for a while but I have felt guilty towards books!

duby feodalite figurine michele roohani

As many of you know I am a shameless bibliophile but  even though I am a rather “early adapter” of new technologies, buying a Kindle has not been a priority (you can carry a big chunk of your library—1500 books— and the neighborhood’s news stand in one Kindle).

lionheart coeur de lion book michele roohani

I am tactile and love touching books and feeling the pages, the type, smelling the paper, the ink, etc…this little soldier guards my books valiantly!

knight books chevalier michele roohani

This one—Herman Hess’ Narcissus and Goldmund— was one of my favorites and I have read it in three languages during the past 30 years (talking about obsession!) and I can’t imagine getting the same pleasure from reading it on Kindle…

herman hesse Narcissus and Goldmund michele roohani

Could I have appreciated Jean Michel Maulpoix‘s poetry without his signature blue covers? No paper?

jean michel maulpoix michele roohani l’instinct du ciel

Would he have wanted to be read on a gadget? Knowing him, I would say non!

“Blue makes no noise. It is a timid color, without ulterior motives, forewarning or plan; it does not leap out at the eye like yellow or red do, but rather draws it in, taming it little by little, letting it come unhurriedly, so that it sinks in and drowns in it, unaware.”

maulpoix books livre une histoire de bleu michele roohani

I can read Lukacs or Gopnick on a Kindle but not the Shahnameh (even writing about it is sacrilegious). One of my favorite blog posts is the one I wrote about this passion of mine.

napoleon john lukacs borges michele roohani

I audited a bookbinding course on my last trip to europe and was pleasantly surprised to see that this beautiful art is not dead.

bookbinding press leliure michele roohani

people in the atelier were restoring old books—resewing the pages, making new covers, etc—with a lot of love, attention and reverence. These fonts were for leather book jackets:

font bookbinding police reliure michele roohani

Is cannibalizing its own industry? They are the makers of Kindle.

bookbinding jargons michele roohani

I have to admit that  even I would love to have all the newspapers I read daily, on one gadget. The gadget that carries most of my books to choose from on a trip; I guess all I am saying is that it’s very hard to read poetry on a machine—wouldn’t these beautiful poems feel/sound better on paper?

i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

e.e. cummings

fernando pessoa book of disquiet livre de l’intranquillité michele roohani

“Parfois je me fais presque honte
De croire autant ce que je ne crois pas.
C’est une variété de rêve
Avec le réel au milieu.” Fernando Pessoa


Thank you all for the kind comments and support through these past two years.

michele roohani narcissus thank you card

Revisit my post on books here.

A book is a present we keep opening—again and again…

17 thoughts on “The lost and found Art of Bookbinding, a second anniversary issue

  1. So glad you have finally succumbed to the ‘book bug’ in its vain glorious entirety — horse glue and all.

    Chuck, still tangled in the web of words.

  2. One of the very best subjects ever.
    How magical it has always been , and will ever be for me, to touch a book, to feel it as you feel a hand, to caress the paper as one’s skin, to smell the paper as perfume on one’s loved neck, to feel the life, the breathe as on one’s body, to go back to one page, to underline a word, as taking a hand to compare two sentences in different places, as when a lady tries two dresses or pairs of shoes,
    How to feel this love/pleasure on a cold plastic Kindle ?? A book is alive and Kindle looks like Barbie/Plastic doll…

    I could write pages and pages about my love for books, I could hardly write one sentence about kindle.

    On a book I made recently showing my artwork in the field of photography,

    I placed the following sentence :

    “Opening a book, is like switching on, the light of a soul”.

    This sentence is not mine, but my best friend’s, the brother I have never had as blood brother.

    He is right, and whatever is the book I open,
    the relation is different, but the liaison is never dangerous, only addictive, but addiction with written language, the magic always happens.

    Poetry, romance, history, from all over the world and through the ages, books will always enchant me.

    Thank you Michele fo this marvelous post.
    Thank you for the blog you created, thank you for your open mind, for sharing with us your passions and your thoughts whatever they are.

    I wish long life to this blog, and hopefully you will make a book with all your writings.

    Vous savez transmettre toutes les émotions comme seuls ceux qui savent écrire peuvent le faire. Je suis heureuse de vous avoir croisée un jour, il y a deux ans aussi, peu avant la naissance de ce blog, en navigant sur la toile.

    Je vous admire beaucoup Michele.
    Longue vie à ce blog.

  3. Congratulations on the 2 years Michele!

    I know there is a lot of soul searching and hand wringing going on about the kindle (I don’t have one but would be happy to receive one) but I don’t particularly see much of a problem.

    Don’t we all read on screens all the time?? Isn’t it possible to have and love the convenience of the kindle and also still love the tactiliciousness of the real book? Aren’t books just copies anyway? Look, I know there is a lot of emotional investment in the personal book as a product and I, too, love them and covet them. I don’t think they’re going anywhere quickly at least. But publishing and big media are changing. It’s quite likely we will be able to have our own individually unique bound books (machines to do this in 3 mins have already sprung up) rather than the multinational penguin/etc regular product. But it will still be a personal and hardcopy book; it may end up being more special because of it. So I say don’t hate on the march of progress if for no other reason than it is delivering greater choice and flexibility. So sez me..

  4. Dousteh Azizam, congratulations on your blog’s anniversary. How beautiful! great job as usual. You gathered the love of books and reading all your life and today for the anniversary of your blog, you got your gratuation’s certificate. this post about books is fab!!!!
    Run Forest, Run!!!

  5. Dear Michele,
    Congratulations Michele, your baby is 2. Quite a thought provoking post – Although I love touching/feeling/smelling books, I live in a small house and most of my books are in banker boxes in the garage.The possibility of having all my favorite books accessible on a device that weighs a mere couple pounds is unbelievable (maybe even poetry, where I can do a search for the verse and the book pops up). It is not an either/or scenario for me, rather an add-on function (although I don’t have one yet). My question is: Does this mean the first year anniversary gift is no longer paper but a Kindle?

  6. LOVE this blog since I also love books and having them in my hands, LOVE all your blogs!!! thanks for sharing!! I am your huge fan in Santa Cruz (gads, this place is weird!) originally from LA and missing it!!! always looking forward to hearing from you, best of luck always, Barbara

  7. Dear Michele:
    First, I wanted to say that you’ve been a wonderful host for the past couple of years, creating and sharing your art, work, and thoughts with the rest of us. And I think I speak for everyone when I say we’ve been privileged to belong to this cyber community of mindful people, wading along you through its binary world of zeros and ones. Throughout this process, somewhere between the flashing images and the fleeting moments, you’ve shared with us those human ideals that are everlasting: art, thought, and feelings. You’ve raised our consciousness and we thank you for it. 

    Now about the new Kindle! Unfortunately, we must all get used to the fact that world is changing around us faster than we can adapt to at times. Readers such as Kindle are simply unavoidable. The future of books is sealed with the availability of such devices. And who knows, it might be for the better. While we don’t get the same romantic sense of handling the written page, we might sleep easier knowing that a tree was saved! It’s all a matter of perspective. I’ve often wondered if my library isn’t considered a mass grave to trees outside my house! Books are keepsakes of their author’s thoughts. So, as we move into an age where our consciousness may soon be digitized and immortalized, we might as well embrace the early steps of the process by reading the minds of others in their digital format! Who knows, soon we might be able to digitize feelings too… Oh I’ll subscribe to that! The only problem would be deciding which feeling to buy!!! 🙂

    Oh, one more thing, Narcisse and Goldmund is one of my all time favorites! Loved it! 🙂

  8. Merci, Michèle, d’avoir accueilli sur ton blog ma petite suite de livres bleus et d’avoir aussi agréablement célébré l’alliance des mots et des images. Je suis surtout touché du fait que sur tes photographies mes livres ne sont plus de première fraîcheur, ce qui semble indiquer qu’ils ont beaucoup voyagé et qu’ils ont été lus et relus : n’est-ce pas là ce qui fait le bonheur d’un auteur ?

  9. love the new blog, loved the others as well. so fun, so creative. i’m tiring of my kindle as i miss the tactile and the visual of my books. it’s personal and an enormous pleasureful feeling one haves just holding a book you love, being able to shelve it for future rendez-vous, if you know what i mean. the kindle does not engender this at all and it can be lonely even if it’s a good read. also, there is a loss of soulful connection and after many, many reads one can feel as if there is a whole lot missing. oh well, enough of my rants.

    marina, aka the kindle lady

  10. How did bibliophiles feel in the 16th and 17th centuries when books went from being unique works of art to a mass produced copy? Many bibliophiles of the day must have clung to their books, and despised the new vulgar ersatz. Of course at the time the vast majority of the population had never had access to books anyway, so it didn’t make any difference to them.

    The parallel with our situation today is striking.

    We all have grown up with access to our beloved books. And the idea of leaving them behind is repulsive.

    But what about the masses in the developing world who have never enjoyed such luxuries? Digital technology will give them for the first time access to our human cultural heritage.

    And that will have an enormous impact on our world.

    By the way does anybody here think all books are really worth worth the paper they’re printed on? In the future we will only want paper versions of very special books as collectors items. And I predict as a consequence printed books will become more beautiful rather than less.

  11. how timely this poem from my husband surfaced on my email this eve., especially since we use the same office in our house. he would have just told me, but then again this was far more telling. i thought of you and your request for some feedback re: my kindle use. needless to say i am always with it which at times can make Gary a little ‘left out’ or perhaps a bit jealous. well….these are his and i found what he said so telling of living today, not to say how he feels as well.

    “I know I’m jealous and a suspicious man’
    But she’s with others when she can;
    So I pry to find out with whom
    I want to know, not just assume.
    I found out his name is Mac
    Her fingers stroke his font and back;
    They speak in code, that’s how they start
    And for a long time they are not apart
    But she gets bored even with him
    And then starts with Kindle on a whim
    I am left all alone
    As she switches from him to the IPod phone.”

  12. Dear Michele.

    Congratulations & compliments on completing two years of riveting, fascinating & soul enriching blogging .. We all are privileged to be part of your universe ..

    All the best always..Love


    “A book is the only immortality.” — Rufus Choate

  13. You have become an ambassador
    who travels close and far,
    sharing from within and out,
    with many messages of hope
    to realize and enjoy humanity under any circumstances.
    I wish you many flattering, memorable
    and anniversary moments.
    For here and now….
    while the smell of leather,
    hand made paper and ink
    fill my space,
    I simply wish you true bliss.

  14. Dear Michele,
    I just adore your work and pictures that you put in your web for us” your admieres to see” and enjoy.
    Love you with out knowing you and wish you all the best for days to come.
    looking forward for more photos.

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