I’ve been at it again. Buying Dante books, that is. Even though I have gathered enough books for my catalogue, I keep adding books to it when I find titles that meet the parameters of illustrated and/or unusual editions of Dante. Long ago, I wrote a post about buying books online. I wrote that sometimes books aren’t exactly as described, especially when buying from a dealer one doesn’t know personally. Occasionally, it is a good thing that the book is not as described. In that post, I wrote about a book with a 19th century dustjacket. The seller had described and pictured the book in great detail but neglected to mention or picture the most valuable part, the early dustjacket. I jumped for joy and experienced a taste of bibliophile heaven when I opened the package to discover the dustjacket.
I had a similar experience today, opening a 1903 scholarly book on the life and work of Dante. I bought the book without knowing what was inside from a seller I haven’t met before. Risky? Sure. Sometimes. More than once I’ve been disappointed that the book wasn’t completely described.
Not today, though.
Look what I found inside the book:
It’s a beautiful, handpainted bookmark, the type that fits over the corner of the page.
It made my day! In November and December I was too busy to do much book work, and I was unhappy about that. Today’s unexpected find reminded that every day I get to spend doing this job is a gift. Sometimes it’s the little things, like a hand-painted bookmark, that matter the most and that remind us not to take life for granted.
I won’t show you the book or its cover right now; you’ll see it in the catalogue.
I know. I know. You’re thinking, “You mean that catalogue that’s never finished, Chris?”
Well, you might be happy (actually, “amused” might be a more fitting word choice) to know that I am meeting with a person who is going help me with the graphics and layout of my catalogue this Thursday. Finally, finally going to get some good advice (I hope). I’ll let you know how it goes.
See you in the stacks!