What the Birthday Squirrel bought for me in 2013
July 17, 2013 § 1 Comment
Another year has passed and as a whole new set of young squirrels ready themselves to leave their mothers’ dreys to venture into the wider world, I become yet a bit older. Today is my 39th and it finds me dealing with several issues that I think will be resolved favorably in the weeks and months to come. But I have only 12 months to meet a couple of goals that I’ve had for years, so it’ll be an interesting year. But here are two books bought/ordered for this occasion that have already arrived:
Bought the Easton Press edition of Longfellow’s poetry on Sunday with money my family sets aside for me to choose gifts (they rarely try to figure out what I want, leaving it up instead to myself) and on Tuesday, the English translation of 19th century Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi’s Zibaldone (the name translates roughly as “Hodge-Podge” and it contains the poet/philosopher’s thoughts on a wide range of issues) arrived in the mail. Even despite a heavy discount (38%) on Amazon, it was still nearly $50.
The Leopardi is the largest single-volume print book in terms of page count that I’ve ever owned. It is printed, however, on what I like to think of as “bible paper,” or tissue-thin pages. Below are pictures of it in comparison to the thickest book I own, Adolfo Bioy Casares’ diary entries related to Borges, entitled Borges:
I don’t have small hands (I wear XL gloves and those are almost too tight around the midpoint of the hands), but notice how big this book is in comparison. It’s around 3.5-4 inches in thickness. By comparison, the Leopardi (which I did not take a picture holding) is around 2-2.5 inches in thickness.
The Borges book has pages of typical hardcover thickness. Pictured above is the last page, 1663. It is a very big book, but it appears even more so because special paper was not used to make it less thick.
But here is the last page of Zibaldone. 2502 pages (not counting roughly 80 pages of intro that bear roman numerals). The thinner paper makes it easier to hold, yet so far there is no sense of the pages being less difficult to read (a similar paper quality can be found inside the Library of America editions of American writings).
Should take me a few weeks of leisurely reading to complete these two books that the squirrels have seen fit for me to now possess. Now to get ready to deal with the less enjoyable aspects of turning a year older…including working later due to having already exhausted vacation days last week.