Binding ‘In Memory’ — Part 3

Gold Tooling and the Slipcase Leather is a delicate material, as it’s easily damaged when it’s exposed to heat or pressure. So let’s do exactly that, shall we? 😀 In my last blog post, I showed you how I created the fine leather cover for our book. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can read the post here if you’ve missed it: Binding ‘In Memory’ — Part 2. In this third and final post in this series, I will show you how I decorate the book with gold tooling and how I build a slipcase that will protect it. As in the previous posts, I’m not showing all steps but instead focus on the important ones. Gold Tooling This would probably be the right place to ponder the alluring yet corrupting nature of gold and its unfortunate effect on people, and to quote one of the great philosophers. But…

Betraying the written word

I’ve been listening to a lot of books lately. Because I’m such a skinflint bargain hunter, I almost never pay full price for anything, and pounce on free stuff with the ferocity of a starving lion. In fact, I’m the sort of idiot who will sometimes harvest cut-price goodies and freebies irrespective of whether or not they’re of any use to me. Behold, the Rio DVD I nabbed for free via the Sky Store last year which remains unwatched by my utterly uninterested children! Toward the end of 2015, however, I had a bit of a serendipitous chain reaction. Amazon ran one of their free Prime trials, giving me access to free one-day delivery for various birthday and Christmas presents (as well as their slightly rubbish streaming video service, and less rubbish streaming/download music service). During the same time period, I stumbled across a free three-month Audible membership trial available…

Binding ‘In Memory’ — Part 2

The Leather Cover Let’s be honest: when we think of beautiful, impressive books that will outlast the centuries, we think of tomes: heavy, leather-bound books that look like something Gandalf would peruse. The leather cracked from old age and adorned with gold decorations. Their exterior reflecting the worth of the words and wisdom inside. Now, I’m afraid I can’t bind a book of that size. But I can bind In Memory – A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett in leather and then decorate it with gold hand tooling. In my last blog post, I’ve shown you how I created the ‘book block’ for this bookbinding project. If you have missed it, fear not, you can read it here: Binding ‘In Memory’ — Part 1. This time, I’m showing you how I create a fine leather cover for it. The gold hand tooling will then follow in the next post. Step 1 — Preparing the…

Binding ‘In Memory’ — Part 1

I’m a sucker for beautiful books. It happens regularly that I buy books simply because they have a pretty cover—and I have discovered some really great books that way, books I would never have read otherwise (an example would be ‘The Gargoyle’ by Andrew Davidson). And about five years ago, I started to do traditional bookbinding as a hobby. I needed something to do in the evenings after a long day of staring at a computer screen, and I wanted it to be something where I can actually hold the result in my hands (unlike developing software where it happens quite often that the only indication that your program is working correctly is an entry in a plaintext log file). I had been in a workshop for traditional bookbinding a few years back, and I had absolutely loved it: The smell of paper and leather, the various tools, the skill and…

The unforgiving minute

Richard Smith, a former editor of the British Medical Journal, recently wrote: “The long, slow death from dementia may be the most awful as you are slowly erased, but then again when death comes it may be just a light kiss” [1]. Before it takes your body, dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, steals away your mind and your memories – the part of you that is you – until in the end death can only be a relief. In high-income countries, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are among the top 4 causes of death, accounting for 42 deaths per 100,000 people in 2012 [2]. While these numbers are still far from the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, they are still substantially higher than for breast cancer (16 deaths per 100,000). Yet breast cancer has its own pink awareness ribbon (sharing it only with abdominal cancer), whereas Alzheimer’s disease is…

Book launch in Cambridge

Do you live anywhere near Cambridge (UK)? Come join us for the official book launch on November 28, to chat with the authors and pick up a copy of the book if you don’t have one yet. Even though not all of the seventeen authors will be there (the ones who’d have to travel halfway around the world will not), this might still be your only chance to see such a large number of our authors gathered in one place, so don’t miss this unique opportunity! The event takes place in the centre of Cambridge, in the Central Library. Feel free to drop in at any time between 11.00 am and 2.00 pm and we’ll be happy to answer your questions about the anthology, the authors, or the charity, or just chat about our favourite Pratchett books. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! Our official Facebook event page can…

Songs and Stories and a Million Other Things

Memories are important.   Like stories and music and just about everything else, they’re important because of the emotional attachment we apply to them. Hey, what’s your favourite song? Have you and your husband or your girlfriend ever heard a tune on the radio and said: “Hey! That’s our song!” before being swept up in a torrent of fond memories and musings and best-forgotten dance moves? Does knowing it’s someone else favourite song or that it ‘belongs’ to a million other couples make it any less unique or special to you?   Nope.   Because the memories conjured by the melodies and the lyrics are yours and yours alone, and that’s what separates it from every other song out there.   Terry Pratchett knew that Death was coming for him. He knew that he was in the grip of Alzheimer’s and he tackled it with the strength, nobility and humour…

And now, for a story

My uncle had Alzheimers. (Get back here, I’ll be quick!) Waaaay back then it wasn’t called Alzheimers or dementia. We brushed it off as him just being silly. He would call up his brother-in-law and talk about past events as if it happened yesterday. I remember once he took a night bus to another state, but due to a comedy of errors he ended up back home. At the bus station, he called my aunt and said, “Wow, this town is totally like home! You should see it! Look, it even has the same coffee shop!” It took him a run-in with a friend to realise where he was, and it became a story we’d laugh over during family reunions. Then in 2009-2010, my aunt suddenly passed away in her sleep. My dad headed to Terengganu for the funeral (aunt was my dad’s sister). In the church, my dad saw…

Yesterday’s gone (and so are all the other days)

The phrase “I remember it like it was yesterday” becomes somewhat meaningless when you realise that yesterday, like every other day since the beginning of time, is gone forever – and therefore can’t be easily referred to for a quick fact-check. One of the first things they teach you when you become a copper (or so I am told) is to take eyewitness accounts with a generous helping of salt. This goes double for witnesses to an event that was both entirely unexpected and began and ended within an extremely short space of time. This can be largely explained through the concept of schematic thinking – an idea that fascinated me in sixth form psychology, and which I shall now explain to you in what is probably a mangled and misinterpreted manner so heaving with irony, it just might melt my laptop. A schema is sort of like one of…

How and Where I Write

How and where I write Jane Austen wrote by hand on small sheets of paper hiding them if anyone came into the room. Anthony Trollope paid his manservant to call him at 5.30am so he could get in three hours writing before he left home for his day job. Proust wrote in a cork lined room and J G Ballard in a nondescript suburban house. I have a friend who composes her best work in coffee shops, because she doesn’t like the silence at home. I am lucky in having a study. I type at an old table with a Formica top. On it sits my principal tool, an iMac with a 27” screen. Why so big? Because I can have three A4 equivalent pages displayed at a time, making moving between documents, or parts of the same document easy. I can have my browser open on one side of…

In Memory: A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett