This past Saturday Stamps-With-Foot and I met downtown at the Seattle Center for the 14th annual Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair. It has been marked on my calendar for a couple of months because I am a giant bookworm. Handling old books makes me feel all funny in a certain place in my lower abdominal region… so not attending wasn’t in the cards. The first booth we visited was one that sold sheets of illuminated volumes on vellum. There were thousands of sheets ranging in size from 3″X4″ to full folio size (~15″X17″). The hand drawn figures, uncial script, and the shinning gold accents from the 14th century made me a little dizzy and it was REALLY hard for me to not grab two armfulls and run screaming “I am John Galt!!” from the hall. Really, it crossed my mind, and only the realization of what it would mean for me when my cellmates in jail asked “What you in here for?” kept me from acting on that totally logical bibliophile impulse.
I looked over at my little wife and she had a huge smile on her face and was carefully holding a sheet from a French Book of Days bound in 1480-ish, looking at it like it held the answer to world peace. She glanced over and mouthed, “I want to have sex with it.” And THAT, ladies and gents, is why we are married.
After the first booth, the rest of the show was a little bit of a let down, but there were some truly rare and beautiful volumes – I think that I have turned Stamps-With-Foot into a collector of miniature books. We bought a couple of moderns, and looked longingly at the vellum as we left the show after a couple hours of browsing, talking to vendors, and groping hand bound book spines.