This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.
The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on “green” books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.
I have to confess, I am something of a luddite when it comes to reading books. I do not (yet) have an e-reader. I like reading books as books.
I realise this has an environmental cost, though the intricacies of the long-term environmental consequences of ‘real’ books versus the e-sort are still being played out (in the pages of the Guardian anyway).
I try to look after the books I have. I don’t throw books out (which makes the main challenge of any house move the transportation of the books…) Any books I’m not going to read again and don’t want to keep for sentimental reasons I pass on to charity shops to resell.
I don’t know about you but it’s hard to imagine a world without ‘real’ books coming out onto the shelves. It’s not really a world I’d like to imagine. In which case, we need to keep finding ways to make the production of books as environmentally sustainable as possible.
(Which no doubt also includes big changes to ways the publishing industry operates, with books currently commissioned, marketed, printed, and pulped in unsustainable ways. But I don’t have room for more than a raising of awareness of the paper issue here!)
The book is made from paper that has come from environmentally and socially responsible sources, as certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. (You can read more about what Penguin are doing regarding paper sources here.)
I cannot pretend this is a proper review of The Sonnets. I have not had time to do more than dip into one or two of the poems.
I cannot wax lyrical about what you can expect, or what treasures you will find here: I haven’t studied, learned or loved many of these sonnets in years gone by (except for one which has lodged itself in my heart – sonnet 29).
Instead I will tell you simply that this is a book that looks gorgeous, and feels lovely to hold. It is a book I am glad to have on my shelves and know I will come back to, dip into, and explore, in times as yet unknown in years to come.
The paper, somehow softly mellow, feels right for these words written long ago. (I do not know how paper can feel mellow, but that is the word that comes to mind.)
There are a few soft marks – blemishes, you might say – including one on what is probably the most famous sonnet of them all (sonnet 18):
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
But there is nothing about this slightly imperfect paper that detracts from Shakespeare’s words. In many ways it helps to make his point.
Because no matter the march of time… and the need to learn better ways to publish books… and use paper with blemishes… the verse shall stand*.
I think I had better give the Bard the last word on this:
‘O, fearful meditation! Where, alack
Shall Time’s best jewel from Time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O, none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.’
And so it does. Shining bright, in blackest ink.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of ‘The Sonnets’ as part of my participation in this campaign
*’And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand…’, the penultimate line of sonnet 60.