Beware the Bouquiniste!

Beware the Bouquiniste!

Don Vincente wanted just one thing: to own the sole surviving copy of Furs e ordinations, printed in 1482 by Lamberto Palmart, Spain’s first printer. Vincente ran a Barcelona bookshop stocked with books he’d plundered from ancient monasteries, including the one near Tarragona where he once lived as a monk. When the Furs finally came up for auction, he bid everything he had, but it wasn’t enough. The book went to his rival Paxtot, whose house mysteriously burst into flames a few nights later. The bookseller burned to death, but the precious Furs was discovered unharmed in Vincente’s shop. At the trial, Don Vincente’s lawyer produced a second copy of the rare book. “You see,” he argued convincingly, “the one in Vincente’s shop was not necessarily Paxtot’s.”

“Execute me now!” moaned Don Vincente. “My copy is not the only one!”

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Mark Our Words

Mark Our Words

Colmán of Elo was tired. Tired of reading and tired of the fly that buzzed across his vellum page.

     “Sit!” he commanded the fly. The fly turned its mosaic eyes upon the blessed saint who wrote Airgitir Crábaid, now the earliest example of Old Irish Prose.

     “Sit there!” commanded Colmán, pointing to the last word he’d read. And so the fly sat, patiently waiting until the saint returned to his reading in the Abbey of Muckamore.

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The Word Made Flesh

The Word Made Flesh

In the photograph, the woman is naked except for manly black brogues and argyle socks held up by leather sock suspenders. She sits splay-legged on a stool. An antiquarian book the size of a ledger is propped open between her legs. With one hand, she turns a page. In the other she holds a long feathered quill. Her eyes are closed in ecstasy and her head tips back as she dips the pen deep into her wide open mouth.

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Sometimes a Book is not just a Book

Sometimes a Book is not just a Book

People often say that writing a book must be like having a baby, to which I respond, “I wish it only took nine months!” Writing may not be like childbirth, but producing a book is. The minute the physical object is in your hands, the hard parts are forgotten.

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December Give-Away

Dear Books Unpacked Readers,

Cover, Gutenberg's FingerprintGutenberg’s Fingerprint: A Book Lover Bridges the Digital Divide will be released in April 2017. In anticipation, ECW Press is giving away 5 Advance reading Copies (ARCs) through a Goodreads Draw. If you’d like to enter the draw, click here:

http://bit.ly/2gMApIR

And please—let me know your thoughts on some future BUB (oh dear, the unfortunate acronym for Books Unpacked Blog!)

Merry December,

Merilyn

 

 

 

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Why a blog?

Because sometimes the world moves too fast for books.

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As I wrote Gutenberg’s Fingerprint, I thought a lot about books, what they are, what they mean, why I love them, how they are changing and how they are becoming what they started out to be. The brain doesn’t turn off when an editor says “Stop!” so in Books UnPacked, these thoughts spool on, exploring the past and future of books, and the actual books I’m unwrapping to read.

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