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Starting in January 2024, BOOKFORGE Patreon will start reviewing books on bookbinding, book restoration, book collecting, and books in general. This series is geared towards all of our tiers as it will touch upon the history of books and bookbinding, the how-tos, techniques, and fascinating facts and observations of the bookish world. Some books will be about particular publishers, and others will be about the gentle madness of book collecting.

BOOKFORGE [REVIEW!] is scheduled to be published every Tuesday at 10 AM. I'll confess, this seems a bit ambitious and expectations should be bi-weekly on this one. Some of these books are quite thick and will be broken up over multiple sessions.

The first book I will be reading and reviewing for you is Suave Mechanicals; Essays on the History of Bookbinding Volume 1. This is a 534-page hardcover by Legacy Press with an additional DVD with images. The book was originally published in 2013 and is the first in a series of eight books, Number eight is currently at the printer as of this writing.

Each week, I'll go through one of the essays and give you a summary of the work and my thoughts on the topic. I would love to have an open discussion about these topics as they are fascinating!

From the Legacy Press Website

Nine authors writing on nine topics. This collection of essays, published as the first volume of a series of studies on the history of bookbinding, sets a high standard for interesting and groundbreaking scholarship in the history of the book.
Evyn Kropf: Historical Repair, Recycling, and Recovering Phenomena in the Islamic Bindings of the University of Michigan Library: Exploring the Codicological Evidence
Sylvie L. Merian: Protection against the Evil Eye? Votive Offerings on Armenian Manuscript Bindings
Consuela G. Metzger: Colonial Blankbooks in the Winterthur Library
Robert J. Milevski: A Primer on Signed Bindings
Julia Miller: Not Just Another Beautiful Book: A Typology of American Scaleboard Bindings
Jeffrey S. Peachey: Beating, Rolling, and Pressing: The Compression of Signatures in Bookbinding Prior to Sewing
Martha E. Romero: European Influence in the Binding of Mexican Printed Books of the Sixteenth Century
Jennifer W. Rosner: Papier-Mâché Bindings: “Shining in Black and Gorgeous with Pearl and Gold”
John Townsend: The 1715 Mohawk Prayer Book: A Study of Six Copies in Colonial American Scaleboard Bindings

Once we finish Suave Mechanicals Vol 1, we will change gears a bit and move on to The Restoration of Leather Bindings by Bernard Chester Middleton MBE,  a preeminent British restoration bookbinder. He was regarded as one of the foremost book craftsmen and trade historians of modern times, lecturing and teaching in Europe and the Americas.

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