Hello again all!
A housekeeping moment – we’ve been keeping a couple things simmering in the background over the hiatus, and in a week or so we’ll be ready to start work on War Stories again. So, a reader poll: given where we left off last time (that was Chapter 28, feel free to go refresh your memory) would you rather follow Nasriel around for a bit and have the excitement and general hunting-ness of the search and then find Qui-Gon, or would you rather follow Qui-Gon around for a bit, deal with Sith and probable awfulness, and only bring Xan and Nasriel in when they actually show up, with the salient points of said search roughed in as necessary for comprehension? Replies in the comment box, please.
However. The actual topic for this month is: What is the most beautiful book you own and why?
I know what book I was thinking of when I wrote the prompt – about six weeks ago now, I wrote that one ahead of time. It was my vellum-bound collected prose of John Donne, with the no man is an island passage embossed on the cover. Beautiful book, as you can see in the link. And the inside is gorgeous too – Biathanatos, the Paradoxes, and as many of the Sermons as the researchers could find, among other things. It’s printed on Caxton paper that smells like vanilla and clean linen… oh it’s a beautiful book.
But I’m not going to talk about that one, or any of my other Folio Society books. I’m going to talk about a cheap and cheerful modern edition of a very old book, which cost me exactly nothing.
It’s signature-bound, not perfect-bound (ew, gluey falls-to-bits ‘perfect’ binding, yuck).
It’s tiny and fits exactly in the front pocket of both my schoolbag and my everyday satchel.
It’s purple and shimmery and it’s got silver embossery on the cover (love silver. Got a real thing about silver. Not so mad keen on gold).
It’s got perfect perfect perfect whispery pages that talk when you turn them and static back exactly into place so it never flips itself over to the next chapter when you’ve asked it not to. And the pages are so thin you can see through three at once to find out what’s coming next.
I got it in the free book ‘shop’ that had branches all over England and rescued books from landfill and gave them away – got a lot of my favorite books there, and this one is a nice reminder.
This particular book has been part of – well, not my culture, because, let’s face it, that whole setup is osik’shab’la and has been for a while – but the culture I’d consider ‘home’, for a few hundred years now. Funny how ditching a book and the stuff that goes with it can send a country twirling away down the pipes.
It’s the edition where all the words that weren’t there in the original Greek or Hebrew are italicized so you can see exactly what’s going on.
And a couple of you will already have skipped ahead to see what on earth I’m talking about. This little darling. I mean, obviously that’s not my copy, that’s just a copy that happens to be identical.
And now Rosalie goes all weird on you… This particular book is a King James Bible, so, to be really super-exact, it’s the most awesome-words version (because thees and thous are harder to follow but cool) of the book on which my home culture – well, one of them – is almost wholly based.
That, and it’s my Master’s letter to me – and all my brothers and sisters in Christ – telling me how much he loves me, and the lengths he will go to to keep me around, and what I can do to best please him. Because that is actually some pretty useful information, besides being generally warm and fuzzy and more than sort of nice.
And also there’s history. And also poetry. And also some of the most epic prose in the universe, made more epic by the fact that when you look at it twice, you double-take and have to go whoa, that one actually happened. And some of that stuff is pretty trippy even for fiction!
Okay, done being weird now.
For next month, I think we’ll try something a little different. Visual prompt:
Here is a building I expect most people will not recognize – your prompt is Write about a terrible or wonderful thing that probably never happened on these staircases.
This is a fiction prompt. It can be murders, or fallings-in-love, or slidings down the banisters, or something that happens entirely in another part of the building and just ends on the staircase. Flash fiction time, setting provided free of charge. Have fun with this one. Make a crossover or mashup if that’s your style. Have a swordfight. Or a pillow fight. Or a bunfight – that’s a New Zealandism I am not going to explain.
But in the meantime: what’s your most beautiful book? And why is it beautiful – binding, contents, or sentimental value? Or all three?
Thanks for reading.