Time in a bookstore is a selection process. You touch the spines, one by one, until your finger lands on the desired work. [Filip] Marinovich calls this accidental research, because, at times, your finger slips and you land on the wrong book. That wrong book can ultimately be the most important book in your life — as if, for once, it was the book that chose you.
This quote is from The Book Bind, by Saskia de Rothschild. If the sentiment speaks to you, I recommend you read this book about the people behind Ugly Duckling Presse (that’s not a typo), a cooperative of writers and artisans who hand-typeset and hand-bind books in New York. Yes, the irony that The Book Bind is a Kindle ebook is not lost on me.
Some memorable moments for me while reading this book include:
The author relating the story of when she was 19 years old she wrote a novel. Completely on her laptop. You guessed it. Her laptop failed. Unfixable. The novel gone forever. She asks the writers at Ugly Duckling how they write. They all say on paper. This is memorable to me because I too do all my writing on paper first before transfering it to bits and bytes.
At one point the author is learning to bind a book, with needle and thread. That brought back memories of when I was younger. I had an old book, in pretty bad shape. I don’t remember the title, but I do remember the thread binding. While that book was more than likely bound by machine, it fascinated me. Hand-binding of books is that much more fascinating.
The author describing the poetry readings at St. Mark’s Bookshop in East Village brought back memories of the time I was at the Festival of the Arts in Detroit, Michigan. On the lawn of the main branch of the Detroit Public Library one year there were poets reciting their poetry. I was mezmorized. I loved to hear the words come alive. From my perspective this quote by Matvei Yankelevich, one of the people in Ugly Duckling Presse’s editorial collective, rings true: “when you hear a poet read, you get acquainted with his vibration, it is intimate.”
Now that I live near a college town, I wonder if the University offers open-to-the-public poetry readings… Hmmm…