Reusing books is a trendy thing at the moment, but it makes me freak out a little; they are destroying a book! I know maybe nobody wants that book, it might
be damaged or old, and the new product might be art, or something useful… but aaargh. It just feels wrong.
One of my book suppliers is the lifeline charity sale where they sell titles for one or two dollars each. I take along my wheeled shopping trolley like a proper book granny. The other source is the sale trolley at the library; three books for a dollar. Bargain. And already covered in plastic and labelled with the genre. Bonus.
I think of it as my
own version of the trolley problem; it can be summarised as 'too many books, so few hands' to carry them.
Recently, I have understood that part of who I am is using those hands to make things. Often textile things: sew, knit, crochet, cross stitch,
patchwork, quilt, weave, spin, and embroider ... you ask, I've probably given it a go.
When I lived in
Indonesia it was a little harder to do that kind of work given the tropical weather. And who needs knitted jumpers when it’s 32C every single day?
So I side stepped into doing paperwork and scrapbooking. As a child I used to do calligraphy and water colour. I can remember being given a hardback copy of Edith Holden's Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. $$
And it was life changing. Her scrapbook filled with little sketches in the corner and twee little stories about going for a walk and seeing a robin or whatever. I desperately tried to replicate it, but to no avail. I'm blaming my childhood - what were my diary entries? I read a book, walked to the railway station to catch a train to school, fought with my brother - riveting stuff.
Ooh maybe I just wanted to BE an Edwardian lady of leisure? [looks at current life - huh]
But I digress, so not only do I have a pile of scissors and paper from scrapbooking, but I also have a store of paints, coloured inks and pen nibs, and a vague idea of how to use them. I used to write out book quotes I liked or poems on A3 sheets of art paper purloined from my mother's classroom, and I’d give them to my friends as gifts. [I was such a weird kid.]
I often say the internet is a journey of a thousand clicks and one of those clicks led me to a Pinterest page for re-using hardback books. There seems to be two options: as a
common place book where you write on the original page after modge podging it to white death, or if you cut out all the actual print pages, as a folder to hold books you tie inside, or if you are really natty, you stitch your hand made pages into the empty book case with some simple book stitching methods. [stitching? NO, brain!]
And it just resurrected all that Edith Holden love.
So at my yoga class, instead of lying in my meditation pose and clearing my brain, I am planning how I could make one of these. And sorting through my paper stash, trying to remember what rubber stamps I have. Do I have some old green ink? Maybe... what stickers could go with it? Wait up; I used to order themed sets each month from some lady in Queensland, where did I put those?
I guess it was relaxing. I can hear Andy Puddicombe from Headspace reciting patiently, ‘if the brain wanders off just bring it back again.’
*crash tackles brain, head locks it, drags it back to the yoga mat*
But this also sets my brain up for a WAR.
Books. I adore books. I hold them to my chest with love and adoration. In one of the Pinterest
‘how to articles’, a woman used a copy of a hard back book titled Katherine. I noticed the Catherine wheels on the cover in a coat of arms. The coat of arms John of Gaunt had made for a common woman because he loved her so much. [Have I read it? oh yes... many times]
It's old, the woman in the post says, printed in 1954.
What??? I run off to Goodreads.
The title was released in 1954. Dear God, is she chopping up a first edition of Anya Seton's Katherine???! Eeek!
Hyperventilates - oh no, that poor book, this is a tragedy. It could be worth a fortune.
Calm down, brain. One, it's done. You can't rescue it. Two, is it even worth anything? [No, do NOT go look that up] Seton probably had a huge first print run, she was such a popular author ... breathe...
So, if you can, imagine how I will react to cutting up an actual book with my own two hands? [It
is not going to be pretty.]
The train of thought goes like this: I will get a book that nobody wants, from the charity store, or the library.
ah ha?! I shall raid the sale trolley.
Quick walk to the library. I find a few hardcover options of a certain size, and for my one dollar I end up with a copy of Saladin Ahmed's Crescent Moon [to READ - as if I’d chop that up?], a Christopher Ondaatje novel The Last Colonial [I had a flashback to an English lady in Jakarta insulting me by calling me a colonial - hisses - it also has these creepy weird illustrations so it might be okay to cut up?] and a Time Life tome on Russian history in the time of War and Peace.
The colonial book is rare according to Goodreads... sighs... dammit.
But I feel quite at ease chopping up a
Time Life book. I shall cover the eyes of all the Time Life art books on my shelves so they don't witness the murder.
Maybe I should just ask the library if they are throwing any reference books out. And then I could bury the book harm vibes more easily? I got it out of the trash.
But that would mean another walk to the library... oh no.
I shall try to stay away from the sale trolley.
$$ Edith Holden's country Diary of an Edwardian Lady