Sunday, July 30, 2006


The Amazing Disintegrating Book

Scott Brown of Fine Books & Collections has been keeping a splendid antiquarian Fine Books Blog; one of my favorite posts is a classic good news/bad news combination.

Good news!... He's discovered an unrecorded first edition by R.K. Narayan.

Bad news!... It's covered in black mold....

As Scott describes it:

The pages weren't "cut," they were disintegrating from mildew. The paper literally fell apart in my hands as I turned the pages. Black mold crept in from the edges and some pages were almost consumed by the stuff. I quickly photographed it (My wife downloaded the pictures from the camera and put them in a folder called "Scott's Funky Old Book"), put it in a Zip-Lock bag, and stuck it in the tool closet, as far from the rest of my books as possible.
Someone should sponsor a contest for the most shot-to-hell-and-back copy of an old book. I've got a few that would be fine contenders.

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