Saturday, July 24, 2010

"I'll Make Me a World": One book in for the last two out

Earlier in these pages, I reported on two books that I gently set free in my "2 out for every in" project. At the time, I did not say what I actually did with the books, and whether I immediately brought a new one in. In this round, I donated them to a library in my area. Because I went back a day later, I can verify that Push was already snapped up, while The Haunting of Hip Hop was still available.

Also because of that return visit, I can claim one of those small, early successes touted by business books as being important when dealing with change. There was a slim, dark-spined volume that I almost overlooked, and I am exceedingly glad I pulled it off the shelf to examine it. It's one of those books that simply can't be reproduced with justice as an e-book, at least not until they can duplicate the tactile (and maybe the smell). 3D visual will help, but it still won't be good enough.

"The Creation" is a well-known poem by James Weldon Johnson. In 1972, an attractive Hallmark Crown Edition was published under the title "I'll Make Me a World": James Weldon Johnson's Story of the Creation. Here's the descriptive copy from the final page:

"Photographic composition and styling by Jim Cozad. Special photographic techniques were created by back-lighting transparent dies (sic), oils and crystals. To achieve the images, the photographer combined macro-photography and special darkroom techniques. The type is set in American Uncial, a calligraphic typeface by Victor Hammer and in Optima, a sans serif typeface created by Hermann Zapf. The paper is Hallclear, White Imitation Parchment and Ivory Fiesta Parchment. The cover is bound with natural weave book cloth and Torino paper. Book design by Jay Johnson."

Holding this little gem is a sensory treat due to the cloth and paper. The page edges are sort of scalloped but there's probably a technical term for it I don't know. Anyway, it adds to the experience and such a fetish may partially explain why I don't part with more books faster. I'll post a photo or scanned sample of a page, but meanwhile here's an Amazon link with cover image and one additional page:

And the full text of Johnson's poem can be found at Project Gutenberg (search the page for "The Creation") or at (on its own page but with annoying ads).

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