handcrafted books


As I lay on my bed thinking, gazing at the large notebooks on the cabinet across the room, I suddenly realized that I don’t remember…

During my freshman year, even though I had so much studying to do, papers and essays to write, books to read, (and I read more than was expected to) I managed to transcribe the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Aeneid and four volumes of On the Nature of Things (because I couldn’t afford to buy them), and yet I don’t remember doing it… I have no recollection of the process whatsoever.


The following summer I started transcribing Pride and Prejudice. This I do remember because my wish was not to simply own the book but to have it in my handwriting, to decorate margins and make floral covers. In short, I wanted to personalize an (at that time) favorite novel.

Come to think about it, this most certainly came as a consequence of the nine months of listening and learning about medieval monastery scriptoriums. I was absolutely fascinated by the (imagined) atmosphere of the wide rooms (I can’t help seeing Eco’s scriptorium in The Name of the Rose whenever the word scriptorium is mentioned), the dedication of those men, the patience with which they worked from sunrise to sunset, and, especially – fascinated with their magnificent calligraphy and breathtaking illuminations. Those books had such richness to them…

Anyway, my project ended with the transcription of the thirty-second chapter, and I never came back to it as I had better things to do.

I still feel the urge to craft a book, though. It comes every once in a while… I will have to do it eventually… I would most certainly have done it already had it not been for this constant guilt of wasting precious time.

Wonder how many people would care to have a handcrafted book…