Bookplates and the Art of Procrastination

No Telling

Bookplates should be personal. Which is why the first one I made (with a little assistance from Gustave Dore) features tomatoes. I’m fairly certain Dore wasn’t from the South, but I am. We take tomato-growing seriously down here. If you’re laughing, you’re probably from Minnesota or someplace.

Don’t fret, these are all altered images frittering their artistic lives away in the public domain. I didn’t steal them and no one’s stealing my books with something like this on the inside cover. It’s not an Evil Eye, it’s an Exasperated Eye.

Sadly, the bat story clings to me. Can’t quite shake it, so I might as well make a bookmark. That’s not a rationalization, it’s a personal philosophy. Glass half full and all that.

I give books as presents all the time. Why, I’ve even been known to give them out at Halloween when the trick-or-treater is a little too tall for my liking. I gave out fifty-cent copies of Dracula, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Frankenstein a few years back and may never live that down. The too-big-for-trick-or-treating crowd has my number now. I’d never put one of these lovely presentation plates in those, though. They don’t deserve it.

This bookplate is strictly for scholarly books on rhetorical theory. Note the poor woman’s general demeanor. Enough said.

Making these was so much fun that now I’ll be grading all day tomorrow to make up for today’s artful procrastination. If you need to lose a few hours, I suggest Wikimedia Commons and Flickr Commons for a wealth of images in the public domain.

Lost and Found or Where Do I Put the Bookplate on this Kindle?

No Telling

I’ve spent a few weeks trying to justify buying a Kindle. So far there are only two entries in the plus column: storage and techno-fascination. Neither are strong arguments for dropping $300 (or thereabouts) on a new gadget.

The minus column is long and includes many tactile reasons I love books in the first place – the feel of the pages, writing all over the margins, the ability to sling a bad book at a wall and still have an intact, readable book to give away. Now I have the best reason not to own a Kindle: bookplates.

No, I’m not one of those who meticulously labels ownership in each new purchase. I appreciate those who do, though, and love finding an old book with a gorgeous bookplate glued inside the front cover. Oh, the history! Try recreating that, sleek and pricey Kindle.

I’ve found a bevy of gorgeous bookplates, obsessive collectors, and Etsy recreations. Waste a little time sifting through these sites and luxuriating in the art of the bookplate.

For the serious collector there’s always The American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers. Here, you can actually commission a personal bookplate and the art is stunning. I’m sure the price is, too. It’s all about the math, really. How many books and commissioned bookplates can you buy for $300 (or thereabouts)?

Go crazy at Flickr. The Exlibris pool is an ooo-la-la collection of vintage bookplates, and Heraldic is another. My favorite, though, is the Pratt Libraries Ex Libris Collection. These are To. Die. For.

So it looks like my spare change will go elsewhere now. Sorry, Amazon. Until the Kindle is made of magic paper I’ll stick with the real pages. It looks like I’ve got some shopping ahead of me.