Jul 14, 2010

The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New

A Simple Repair Manual for Book Lovers
by Margot Rosenberg and Bern Markowitz

This small but very useful book is one I long to own. I found it once at a library, read it avidly straight through, and have never forgotten it. It's mostly about how to take care of your books- both by treating them tenderly, storing them properly and avoiding the enemies of books- dust, moisture, paper-eating insects, etc. Before reading this book I never realized how important it was to give my books a little breathing room on the shelves (instead of cramming in as many as I could, so tightly it was hard to wedge one out again). There are instructions on how to make simple repairs, often using ordinary household items. It's from this book that I learned how to carefully glue tears, iron out dogeared or wrinkled pages and make a stinky book box! However, the methods described in this book are probably not good enough to use on antique or leather-bound books (they don't seem to be archival, for example); but there is a resource list of more extensive book-repair manuals and organizations that offer classes in the book arts. What I really enjoyed about the book was its lighthearted tone and many amusing asides on book collecting and borrowing, as well as dogs. Yes, dogs! The authors owned a bookshop devoted almost entirely to literature about dogs, and kept their dogs in the shop so of course they wrote quite a bit about their dogs in here, as well as comparing book care to dog care. This might be annoying for some readers who want it to stick closer to the subject, but I thought it was delightful.

Rating: 4/5 ........ 190 pages, 2002

10 comments:

Chandra said...

Wow, sounds interesting and useful! I'm not the best book owner sometimes. But not the worst either!

Janet said...

Uh oh... Cramming is bad? My poor books.

This sounds great and reminds me of the post you did on your homemade book covers as a way to "care for" older books. I actually tried to make one after that post, but I definitely don't have your flair for it.

Jeane said...

Chandra- I try to take care of mine, but they do get worn out because I read them over and over after all!

Janet- Cool that I inspired someone else to make book covers! I'm afraid I didn't go into detailed instructions on how-to. Maybe I should make another post about that? (I do it more to make them look nicer than as protection).

Serena said...

sounds like a cool book, though I'm not so sure I could repair books

Zibilee said...

Oh, I just love books about books and think that this book would really be helpful to me. I am one who crams as many books into the shelf as I can, and it would be interesting to hear what they have to say about that. Thanks for spotlighting this book!

Alyce said...

That sounds like a neat and helpful book for bibliophiles. I'm sure some of my books are crying for help right now from being crammed together.

Stefanie said...

My husband gave me this book form y birthday several years ago but I have been bad and have not read it yet. Since it is both useful and enjoyable I will have to pull it off the shelf one of these days!

Jenny said...

I don't cram my books on my shelves, but that's only because I've been lucky about having enough shelves when I need them. Good to know that I've been doing the right thing all along without knowing it! I am obsessive about caring for my books (contact paper on the paperbacks, mylar dust cover protectors on the hardbacks), so I am definitely going to seek this out.

bermudaonion said...

Oh my gosh, that sounds like a must own book! I have to admit that some of my books are crammed in.

Trish said...

I don't think I do anything right when it comes to books. "They" say stacking them on top of one another is bad but sometimes it just can't be helped! :)

I like little diversions in books like this and it sounds like the interspersal of dogs is perfect.