August 2014 | Rebecca Rego Barry

The Private Life of Books

privatelife-cover.jpgI received a review copy of a startling book that pairs the poetry of Henry Wessells and the photography of Paul Schütze. The Private Life of Books, printed in an edition of 226 copies by Temporary Culture, is beautiful in every way: the words, the images, and the production.

Wessells is a true bookman--a writer, a reader, a publisher, and a bookseller, known to many in the trade as a rare book dealer for James Cummins Bookseller in New York City. The six poems printed here on the topics of reading, memory, and books will inspirit any bookish soul. Take for example, these lines: "All perfect books the acid gaze of time devours,/And only spoken words of love renewed endure."

The eight tipped-in, duotone photos by Schütze show books on shelves, a bookshop at night, and close-ups of book edges. The images are otherworldly--and the viewer (at least, this viewer) comes away feeling that something odd and magical may be going on in that dark bookshop at night.

The text is printed on Mohawk Via Vellum Jute. It was set in original foundry Centaur types and digitized by the Nonpareil Typefoundry. Jerry Kelly designed the 24-page volume and the pages are hand-sewn in heavy card covers. A pictorial dust jacket with duotone photos (seen above) completes the package.

Prior to August 15, subscribers can snag a copy for $125. The price will then increase to $150. Tuck one of these away for the holidays--a bibliophile in your life will thank you.

Image via Endless Bookshelf.