I have to declare that since Jessica Ruston's Heroines published by you-know-who, arrived it really has become the book at
my right hand on my desk.I don't think a day has gone by when I haven't
opened it just to check when I've come across a name, to see whether
they have been included.They usually have.The book has got me thinking and I suddenly have to dip into
it for a browse and I can report that the book itself is standing up to this
daily use admirably and there are good reasons for that.
I don't often mention book quality but it's important.
Heroines is appealing not only for its very delicious Matthew Rice cover but also its petite size.Matthew Rice was a great scoop for this design, his artwork is distinctive and he resides in the psyche of all lovers of unusual ceramics as Mr Emma Bridgewater.I aspire to a complete collection but alas have but one mug and sadly the handle broke.
I expect all book dimensions have technical names, like demi-quarto or something, but this one is 8" x 5.5" in old money and that makes it very nice to handle.The dust jacket is in a smooth,almost waxed finish paper; tactile and satisfying to hold. Paper quality is white, smooth doesn't look capable of yellowing and best of all the book is stitch bound.
I love a stitch bound book and that probably has a proper printing trade name too, but blobs of glue annoy me as does that resounding crack when you open a book at a certain point and a huge chasm appears in the binding.Books never sit quite right again after that crack and I'm a recalcitrant bender back of book spines, all my books look very well read, so if there's a chance of a crack it'll happen.I can see I'll be reported to the NSPCB and the Book Police will be round but tell me,how can you possibly write in a book if the pages won't lie flat?
It could be argued that none of this really matters but it does to me. I spend a great deal on books but always think carefully before shelling out for a hardback.It's a choice usually based on just a few criteria; I can't possibly wait for the paperback and library loan won't do, I'll want to annotate it, and it's a book I will want to keep and read again.
When you pay £17/£18 for a hardback with paper quality akin to an Izal toilet roll and a San Andreas fault in the binding after 20 pages you feel a bit cheated.
Heroines by the way is a mere £9.99 More on another book called Heroines tomorrow, this one from 1905 and it only cost a £1.