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"...the words they labor to perfect..."

Jeff Sypeck passes along the story of a curious used bookstore find: a poetry collection by the Bulgarian poet Blaga Dimitrova, inscribed by the author to noted historian Daniel Boorstin. Jeff adds the following:
I don’t suppose we’ll ever know if Boorstin and Dimitrova genuinely liked each other, or if Dimitrova’s inscription represents anything but professional courtesy, but discovering it amid half a million moldering books makes clear how writers — and the words they labor to perfect — slip so readily into oblivion.
Books and writers do slip into oblivion, all too often. (That's one reason I actively seek out old books as much as I do.) But even more ephemeral, in the industry-fueled rush from print books to e-books, are intriguing snippets of connection between author and reader, such as Dimitrova's note to Boorstin. Or just between book-giver and recipient. Fifty years from now, will we still give gifts as books? And even if we do, will such personal messages be possible? These messages - just a few words jotted on a page near the front - connect readers across generations, a wonderful bridge to the past that I fear is slipping away.

December 2, 2012 in Books | Permalink


Although I'm a relentless buyer of cheap, used paperbacks, I rely on the occasional e-book, too, so when I decided to go the gargoyle book, I had to decide how much effort to put into producing an e-book. I may yet find the right digital format for it, but for now I'm happy with it as a good, old-fashioned physical object. I flatter myself into believing, with awful vanity, that someone will someday find a tattered, inscribed copy and wonder just who this obscure writer was...

Posted by: Jeff at Dec 7, 2012 11:43:37 PM