This past week has been more book-centred than usual, now I think about it. Catching up with set readings for my classes doesn't really count in my book (excuse the pun, couldn't resist), but in my free time I've been reading Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. The film version with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet is one of my all time favourites, so reading the book again is just like catching up with old friends. I always find that books mean something different to me every time I read them, simply because my life experience is ever-growing and the more you live, the more you understand.
I also had the amazing opportunity to visit the Rare Books section of my University Library. I went with my Print-making class last wednesday and was completely in my element: a lot of books + a lot of history + a lot of beautiful prints and calligraphy = sweet, sweet bliss. The books were stored in huge, moveable shelves deep in the basement, the kind you see in those documentaries about family history archives. Walking down one of those narrow aisles was like walking into homesickness for me - it smelt of age and England and history and so many things I've grown up to treasure.
As if looking at beautiful books wasn't enough, in class my Print-making instructor taught us how to make our own books. We made four different kinds, folding and stitching them ourselves. Maybe I should have a 'Bibliofiles' feature on a step by step set of instructions for book-making. They aren't too difficult to assemble and there is something rather satisfying about leafing through the pages of your own little book.
Then this past Saturday, to complete my week of words, I headed over to the bookshop Chapters and had a good old browse. I spent a long time down the vintage fashion aisle - oh, the dresses! the hair! the shoes! - but I left with a beautiful bright red copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and some of his short stories. I've already read both of the novels, but I've grown up raiding my Dad's library and I've realized I need to build up my own, beginning with the classics.
Both Jane Eyre and The Great Gatsby were so beautifully bound that I was inspired to gather together some of the most lovely books in my collection. These included Austen's Emma, Dickens's David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities, Conan Doyle's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and Alcott's Little Women. If you particularly like a book and want to know who publishes that edition, leave a comment below!
If there's anything I love more than a book, it's a beautiful book.
I hope you all enjoy these lovely objects as much as I do!