Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Pound of Paper

Am in the midst of reading (and very much enjoying) Susannah Conway's book This I Know (full disclosure: Conway is one of my authors, co-author of the delightful book Instant Love). The book is a memoir about loss, grief, recovery, spirituality, mindfulness, and creativity, all illustrated with Susannah's dreamy polaroids. For some reason Mabel has become convinced that this is "Daddy's book!" and keeps taking it out of my purse and giving it to him. This morning as he handed it back to me he exclaimed "Man! This book is heavy!" And it is. And I was pleased to be able to tell him the reason why: that, although it is primarily a reading-book, because it has photos throughout it's printed on an art-book paper stock which is much heavier (both in thickness and in weight) than the paper a normal memoir would be printed on. I looked it up and, specifically, at 256 pages it weighs 1.2 pounds.

The reason I know about this is that I recently finished working on author and artist Danny Gregory's new book A Kiss Before You Go. Coincidentally, Danny's book is also an illustrated memoir about grief and creativity--a profoundly moving one. And in this case the book is illuminated with his amazing paintings. Every page is full of images and so this book, too, is printed on heavy art-book-type paper. For a slim book, its heft in the hand when you hold if feels substantial and satisfying. At just 128 pages it weighs in at 1.1 pounds.

For purposes of comparison, the most recent standard black-and-white, text-only reading-book I've read was Hillary Mantel's mind-bogglingly wonderful Bring Up the Bodies (if you haven't read its predecessor, Wolf Hall, you must, and I mean absolutely must rush out right this minute and get it--you won't regret it). Printed on a nice-but-normal-weight hardcover-fiction paper stock, even at a whopping 432 pages it only weighs 1.4 pounds. So, ok, I'm perfectly happy to grant that perhaps no one else will find these sort of book wonk facts of interest. But I do, so hey, I figure you never know, you might, too.

image sources are here, here, and here

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