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Mea Culpa

· Fine Book Collecting,Restoration,Accidents,Mea Culpa,Sun Damage

Just over two weeks ago, on a Tuesday, I selected my topic for the next musing – Mea Culpa. It would be about the books I have harmed while under my care. My bads! And the next day, Wednesday, I spilt a fruit drink next to my laptop. Disaster! The diagnosis and ordering, receipt and setting up of my new machine took two weeks, hence no musings recently.

Mea Culpa

And now on with my original musing.

Just before the laptop debacle, I took Glenda for an eye examination, in town. I expected some waiting time, so I brought along a couple of books and a thermos of coffee. Glenda came out of her appointment so I reached back and put my latest Donna Leon, signed first edition, on the back seat of the car. It promptly slipped from the seat onto the floor next to the thermos that had fallen over and leaked out its contents.

Mea Culpa – now when I order my next in the series book, I will have to order a replacement for my destroyed copy. By the way, not only was the sense of sight impacted but also the sense of touch since the bottoms of the pages were swollen. (See my musings on books and the five senses)

Yes, liquids are a violent enemy of books. Less violent, but impactful, is strong light. Exposure to sunlight fades the spines of dust jackets in a most despicable manner, such that I will not buy books that have sunned spines.

I have most of Terry Southern’s books, most in beautiful condition, and when I acquired this book the spine was bright and shiny.

Mea Culpa

I have always been intrigued by The Seven Years War, a war that I think was truly the first world war. In North America, the war is often labeled The French and Indian War. I had acquired a contemporary 5 volume set history of the war, that I read over several years. At the time, I was travelling about quite a bit and so I took the fifth volume with me on one of the trips. The books were fragile, still are, and the cover of this volume became detached – guilty! I had used the services of a renowned book restorer in Wisconsin on several projects and I gave him the book to restore. To my horror, the restoration looked nothing like the other four volumes in the set.

Mea Culpa

In the late 1970’s I had acquired the first book of English language poetry written by a Canadian born author and printed in Canada. It was The Rising Village by Oliver Goldsmith, a take off of The Deserted Village by his much more famous namesake uncle, back in Great Britain. This book was in beautiful condition, with a lovely silky binding. This has been abused under my stewardship and the spine is now a disgusting mess.

Major Mea Culpa

I have always been quick to criticize how people treat their books, and now I realize that I should not quite be so critical. Sometimes it helps to take a long look into the mirror.

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