Thursday, November 4, 2010
Surprise Islands on a Gloomy Day
I was about half way through a gloomy day just now, when the doorbell rang and a dripping UPS man handed me a package. I thought it might have been some hoofs, or some 1940s teenage girl's scrap book I'd bought on eBay, but it was a surprise package. A little while ago I signed up for the Book Club With One Member at Crawford-Doyle. A member of their staff will carefully select a book just for you once a month and send it out. "The books will be paperback or hardcover, fiction or nonfiction, just released or classic. The goal is a book chosen with one recipient in mind that will enlighten, delight and entertain – a gift to a booklover throughout the year." I sent them a list of things I'm interested in, you know, like shadows, and indexes, faded wallpaper, Moby Dick, cabinet cards, microscope slides, turn-of-the-century comic strips and old tattoos... lost, found and mended things. Other people's letters, from famous people or ordinary people. Paris, especially old Paris. William Blake. Volcanoes. Hoofs. I don't know, that kind of thing.
This is what arrived.
Atlas of Remote Islands, Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will, by Judith Schalansky. There are beautiful maps and stories and information about fifty remote islands bearing names like Possession Island and Deception Island and Lonely Island. There are stories of fainting sailors and curses on newborns and skeleton ships and forgotten prisoners.
This book has made me unbelievably happy. It is an uncommon size. The paper feels nice. There is a cloth bound spine. And it was handpicked for me. I feel like I'm back in the 19th century. I will be expecting a bespoke suit next. Show me a kindle that can do that.
Posted by sophie blackall