On Frocks & Books

A few things to tide things over..

  • With a few modifications, this is how I'd like to live. I would not sort my books by colour (in fact, it is a pet-peeve of mine), I would tone down the pattern-upon-pattern thing, and I would go for a different IKEA sofa*, but overall this is my sort of home. It has that Scandinavian-midcentury/vintage-thriftiness/art-junkie aesthetic I like.
  • As I keep saying, I am not getting back into dress-making. Nope. Not a chance. Having said that, I am drooling over this sewing project. There is no way that I'd look anything like the girl in the photos, but that is one fetching dress. I never know what to wear during summer but I like the idea of wearing pretty cotton frocks. But I'm not going to make one for myself.
  • Not getting back into dress-making does not mean I cannot look at gorgeous fabric, though. Spoonflower supplies a design/print-on-demand fabric service. Look! Steampunk-inspired fabric! Fabric inspired by early American feminist writer! UK-based company, Clothkits, sells beautiful Liberty fabric designed by Grayson Perry. Sigh.
  • Meanwhile Danish ladies' magazines keep publishing lovely free knitting patterns (mostly donated by yarn companies). My recent finds include this awesome cardigan, and a very cool top. I might even have yarn for the top.. Hmmm.

* yes, I have opinions on IKEA sofas. I'm a bit scared by this.

And on a completely different topic, take a look at this MeFi post about the quality of paper used in contemporary publishing.

"Eight years ago we started to notice the shift in buying patterns from free-sheet Permanent Paper to groundwood paper for hardcover books. Groundwood is the type of paper used in newspapers and mass market paperbacks, and its production is such that it is much lower-quality and degrades more quickly than traditional book publishing paper." What makes a book permanent?

The discussion quickly descends into a "well, why print books at all now the digital revolution is here" argument. I have nothing against digital publishing nor against digital archiving (in fact, I support digital archiving as it allows for storage on an unprecedented scale whilst not taking up much room), but I do take issue with people saying books are going to vanish within the next thirty years because they are too low-tech to be anything but obsolete. Despite globalisation, that is a very First-World argument.

The Book's low-tech nature is exactly why it is going to survive - and why books needs to be of better quality. Needing the Book is not about cherishing the object itself, but understanding its role in the dissemination of knowledge. Oh, but the internet! Oh, but Kindle! Oh, but what about people who have no access to the internet, or have limited/censored access? What about people living in areas where electricity is a scarce commodity reserved for the elite? Picking up a book "only" requires you to be able to read. Using a Kindle or the internet requires compatible technology, electricity, the ability to navigate and process information online, stable access, knowledge of how to download content/patch your software .. and then how to use your reading device.

(I miss working with print culture - can you tell?)