Books and the Sense of Sight
Sight is probably the strongest and most invoked sense when it comes to books. Starting with bookcases. We have 19 bookcases in our house split between our personal library and Raven & Gryphon Fine Books. Each bookcase has its own theme(s) and character. I look at an open bookcase and see books that I have read and those that will bring future enjoyment. It is always tough to decide what book to read next. Many of our books have not found a place in a bookcase yet and they occupy flat spaces throughout the house.
Books come in all shapes and sizes. And except for leather bound books, most books from the early twentieth century have dust jackets that are designed to appeal to customers and entice purchase. Some people collect books for the dust jacket. Books come as paperbacks or hard cover books. In the latter case, there is an endless array of cloths, boards, leathers and other materials. The wealthy noble, royalty and religious, in the middle ages sometimes had jeweled bindings created for their tomes.
The pages of books vary enormously both in size and in the materials used to create the paper. Prior to 1800 most papers were made from linen and other substrates other than wood pulp and these papers can be as soft and supple today as when they were first printed upon. Paper with high acidic wood fibres can become dry and brittle and unattractive. Coated paper, often with clay compounds, are heavy and glossy and are primarily used for art and other illustrated books. Each has their own unique look for both the paper and ink imprint.
There are hundreds and hundreds of fonts in use and more are designed all the time. Some are very hard to read such as some of the gothic fonts. Book designers often try to match front styles with the nature of the book.
Illustrated books have been popular since scribes created their manuscripts and in the early days of printed texts from the fifteenth century through to the eighteenth century illustrations were primarily woodcuts. In the nineteenth century, we has the evolution of copper and steel engraving, lithography and photographs.
Every night when I go to bed I look at the books and decide which one I want to read first.
Next Saturday: Books and the Sense of Touch.