bookish pursuits

I love books. It took many years to break a habit of compulsive collectivitis – I could never walk into a bookshop and walk out without purchasing a book. Even though I read far fewer books than I used to, for several years I continued to buy at the same rate. When I was living at my mother’s house, I had a bookcase devoted solely to books waiting to be read. So too, I like completing sets and generally seeking out all books by authors that appeal; I also like hardcovers and nicely bound editions. I’m fond of leather, rice paper, and slipcases. Quality binding is a thing to be admired. There is an argument that can be made for buying less books but of a higher quality, though it’s one I’d prefer not to make given my addiction.

It is with such thoughts in mind that I have chanced upon mentions of an esoteric tome, published nearly 30 years ago, the Codex Seraphinianus. This strikes me as a fascinating thing, full of mystery and beauty. Indecipherable yet intriguing. Various editions have been published ranging in value from 100 or so euros through to US$4,000 for one of the original editions. Much has been written on it, and it appears that many, if not all its pages have been scanned and loaded into flickr. [update: it seems to have been removed from public viewing] Once one starts such explorations there seems to be no end, further study revealed a much older book, also impenetrable, the Voynich manuscript.

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