Books You Probably Won't Ever Be Able to Own
Plus a #bookgiveaway for books that you CAN read and own!
If you are reading this right now, you are likely a book lover. And if you are like most book lovers I know, you may also love reading about books, exploring bookstores and libraries, and learning more about books that have wild stories of their own. Today I’m writing about some books that most people will only dream of owning, and no, I’m not talking about volumes in museums or even expensive vintage books.
Books of Gold
Let’s start with an Italian publisher of books that I can only dream of owning: The D’Oro Collection. First off, if you know anything about the Italian language, you may have guessed that D’Oro means “of gold.”
The D'oro Collection is a limited edition assortment of opulent, hand-crafted, and exorbitantly expensive gilded books. Each volume is bound in sumptuous leather and adorned with delicate gold tooling, transforming them into true works of art. Within, you'll find exquisite illustrations, gilt-edged pages, and the finest paper quality.
According to D’oro:
“Each book is specially made for its collector: the copy number is notified to the collector at the time of the order and the book starts to be created. Book creation is completed in 40 days, then the book is submitted to stringent quality checks [which take another 10 days] before being finally shipped.”
Check out this video to get a sense of how they make their books.
Of course, such beauty doesn't come cheap. The D'oro Collection's books are masterpieces with price tags that soar into the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. The book shown above, a history of Rome, is one of their less expensive, clocking in at 8.890,00 €.
The company got its start making a book for Pope Paul II. Since then, they’ve expanded to sell books in over 35 countries, mostly for private collectors.
I am reminded of how, before the printing press, the ultra-rich commissioned beautiful illuminated books to be created for their libraries. Last summer, I had the chance to interview one of my favorite non-fiction authors, Ross King, about The Bookseller of Florence, all about the world of these luxurious books and their collectors and how the printing press changed everything. If you want to check that conversation out, you can head here.
The Future Library Project
Now, let’s talk about books that most of you—or more likely, all of you—reading this post won’t be alive when they are published. The Future Library Project is a unique, visionary art project that spans a century, connecting the literary world of today with the readers of tomorrow. Conceived by Scottish artist Katie Paterson in 2014, the project invites a distinguished writer each year to contribute a never-before-seen manuscript that will remain unread until 2114. These texts will be stored in a specially designed room within the New Deichman Library in Oslo, Norway, safeguarding the secrets they hold for future generations.
The project has a strong focus on environmental sustainability. A forest of 1,000 Norwegian spruce trees was planted in Nordmarka, near Oslo, to provide the paper for the manuscripts' eventual printing in 2114. This long-term approach not only creates a living, breathing aspect to the project, but also encourages a sense of continuity and responsibility towards the environment.
Over the course of the project, 100 authors will contribute their works, creating a literary time capsule. The Future Library's growing list of renowned authors includes celebrated writers from various genres, backgrounds, and styles. To date, the contributors include Margaret Atwood (2015), David Mitchell (2016), Sjón (2017), Elif Shafak (2018), Han Kang (2019), Karl Ove Knausgård (2020), Ocean Vuong (2021), Tsitsi Dangarembga (2022) and Judith Shalansky (2023). Each of these authors has entrusted their manuscript to the Future Library, understanding that they will never witness the reception of their work.
The Future Library Project is a celebration of the written word and its enduring impact on society. By preserving these manuscripts for a century, it allows future readers to connect with our present-day literary landscape, fostering a sense of continuity and shared human experience. The project encourages us to ponder the legacy we leave behind and the infinite possibilities that await in the realm of storytelling. It really is the ultimate time capsule. I find myself envious of the generations ahead of me that will be able to read all these wonderful books!
This BBC article explains more about The Future Library.
For the main image on this post, I played around a bit with MidJourney, an AI image tool. I have been doing a lot with AI, particularly for my non-author gig as a professor for HubSpot Academy (tons of free marketing and sales courses!). At some point, I plan to write about it here, so stay tuned for that in the coming weeks. But I had such a good time creating images for the prompt “a book you can’t own” that I wanted to share some of the others. For some reason, it was obsessed with including water and sand in most of the images, which I find interesting.
What’s Bringing Me Joy This Week
You may know Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526-1597) for his paintings of men made out of vegetables, but my favorite is this one, titled, The Librarian, for obvious reasons.
If you or someone you know are a fan of Stardew Valley, you’ll love this fun game, Sun Haven. Plus multiplayer is available!
Live in the Boston area? Like dumplings? Want to learn how to make your own? I highly recommend you go to one of the classes offered by Mei Mei Dumpling Factory. We went last weekend and had a blast! My favorite is the one that looks like a little elephant. Plus, we came home with lots of dumplings!
And Now, It’s Time For A…
It’s time to head back to the glamour of old Hollywood for this month’s book giveaway! Read on to learn about the books and how you can get a chance to win a copy!
Strangers in the Night by Heather Webb
I’ve talked about how much I’ve loved this book in past posts. I admittedly knew very little about Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner's passionate, turbulent relationship before I picked up this book. And this was only a little slice of both their lives! I was so drawn into this wild tale of two star-crossed lovers that I finished it in just two days. Heather Webb gives readers an absolutely phenomenal recreation of Frank and Ava's head-over-heels, fight-and-reconcile, decades-long love affair. If you are a fan of great love stories, glitz and glamour, the thrill of the stage, and the drama of old movies, this novel needs to go right to the top of your to-read pile.
The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly by Katherine A. Sherbrooke
I am so excited to get my hands on Katherine’s latest novel. I loved her novels Leaving Coy’s Hill and Fill the Sky, and I know I’m going to love this grand tale of a 1940s runway model caught up in the intrigue and drama of Hollywood and how the decisions she makes end up impacting her daughter years later. “The Hidden Life of Aster Kelly is a story about the bonds of chosen family, the cost of fame, and the enduring strength of love that will keep you guessing until the last page.” Sounds like fun to me!
Do you want to win one of these books?
To sign up for the giveaway, you can fill out this form. Your name will be thrown into the hat for a shot at a paperback copy. This giveaway closes at midnight on 4/09/23. Winners will be notified within 48 hours of the giveaway close. Winners will be announced in my next newsletter!
Your name will be thrown into the hat for a shot at a paperback copy. This giveaway closes at midnight on 4/11/23. Winners will be notified within 48 hours of the giveaway close.
A couple of things: you must be 18+ and a United States resident (pesky international laws make it tricky to do giveaways across the world). If you are someone who loves rules, you can find the obligatory rules info here.
Thanks for joining me this week!
If you love food and love Italy, and haven’t read THE CHEF’S SECRET or FEAST OF SORROW, click the links to learn where to buy your copy! 🍒🍗🍷
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