Bibliophile essay contest – Entrant #3

from Ed Smith Books, ABAA

(else fine).

I stand before you with hatband in hand, slightly shaken, but not clipped, yet in a clean jacket and fore-edge (trust me), topstain with only minor wear, some crimping, else fine. Some call me good only, but I feel my description is on-lineable. I had been acquired via absentee bid, thus. I have rubbed shoulders with Hemingway and Faulkner, and a Joyce that was signed once, and an early Gutenberg (color pics) not to mention a set of those small, tight green bound chiropractic manuals. Don’t get me started on the illustrations I have seen, pastedowns, various bindings, having once retired in a clamshell case (I still dream about this). I cannot count the times I have been collated, and I have a fetish for bone folders (note the plural), and the soft bristle brush. But don’t get close to me with a sharp object or sunlight. My number line indeed has the “1” and I got close to Harry Potter once. I dream of vellum (limp ok as I age), Japan paper, plates, and especially gilt. I want my kind of tattoo, a foredge painting (by Rackham). I seek the company of red morocco, I want something tipped-in. I must have glossary, an index, frontispiece, illustrated endpapers, and hope to grow into folio. I have been purchased, sold, auctioned off, lost, cataloged, bought in, found, and have been worked on by a paper conservationist (I have damp memories). I have been rebound, blind-stamped, annotated, had a single-leaf once, and a library stamp. I yearn for first-issue, marbled boards, 1/50, even lettered. I am most proud of first issue jacket with hand corrected “j”, errata (long), full leather, acetate, and published. I live for booksellers and the like, catalogers, browsers, fondlers, and those who cuddle with me in bed (day or night). What am I? A book, of course, and I will never die. I can see myself several places online all over the world, while I am resting comfortably surrounded by millions just like me. Buy me, hold me, read me, understand and respect me. I am invicible (else fine).

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