Category Archives: Paratext

The Imaginary Library of Charles Dickens

It’s corny but true: Book people are always fussing with their shelves. Forget about the cliché of art books artfully arranged on the coffee table; forget about shoving that copy of Vogue underneath the London Review of Books when company’s coming. The tendency to be voyeuristic with one’s own home library and rearrange it now […]

Share

Baskerville Jones: Errol Morris in the New York Times

I’ve long been a fan of documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, director of Gates of Heaven, Mr. Death, and The Fog of War. He always struck me as someone with a blogger’s sensibility before I could have imagined calling it that—a penchant for certain incidental and yet, on second glance, fiercely crucial associations that accreted in […]

Share

Bookplates, and the Lack Thereof

I like these bookplates (and bookplatters) very much. If I ever got around to having the kind of parties where nuts and olives were set out on tables in civilized fashion—as opposed to the kind where a bunch of people cram in around my kitchen table and eat and drink a lot and talk over […]

Share

The Sense of an Ending

The Tumblr that goes by the name of The final sentence has a simple goal: “to compile the last sentence of every literary work that has ever existed on this planet.” The proprietors are, wisely, crowdsourcing this, and anyone who wishes to is welcome to submit the last line or a poem or novel (and […]

Share

For Véra

Even when I was 11, I remember finding Joy in the Morning, Betty Smith’s follow-up novel to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a little treacly for my taste. It was about a young couple, newly married and in love, and there was a fair amount of implied sex, so you’d think I’d have liked it. […]

Share

Ink Link

Because here at Like Fire we deeply care for printed matter, because we love paper stock and boards and dustjackets and bindings and hot type, we also believe that it’s a matter of due attentiveness to respect the ink. From The Printing Ink Company in Vaughan, Ontario, here’s a weirdly delicious video about how ink […]

Share

Love and Freindship

All sorts of things will stop me in my tracks when I’m out trolling for used books. Something I’ve been wanting or meaning to read, of course, but also any number of cover elements: A great image, well-done type, a title I’ve never heard of by an author I like, a book somebody once mentioned […]

Share

Wednesday Moment of Zen: Bookshelf Voyeurism

Some folks count sheep when they wake into a dark night of the soul and can’t settle down. Some picture flowing water. I can usually quiet the hamster brain by envisioning myself browsing through boxes of second-hand books—something about that action turns on my endorphins. I could very well be proactive and spend a little […]

Share

Bare Naked Books

According to a very informal poll, people I know are fairly evenly divided between dust jacket removers and dust jacket tolerators. The removers cite wear and tear mostly, along with a general dislike of having to wrangle extra paper when reading in transit. Tolerators, of which I’m one, are more laissez-faire about beating their books […]

Share

Serendipities

According to my daily dispatch from The Writer’s Almanac, today marks the 256th anniversary of the origin of the word serendipity. In a letter to a friend dated January 28, 1754, Horace Walpole explains that he came up with the word after a fairy tale he once read, called The Three Princes of Serendip, explaining, […]

Share
Subscribe