Sunday, July 8, 2007

Bookaholics, Altered Books and Medieval France

Having collapsed in bed at 8pm last night - right after putting my son to bed, I woke up around 3.30am. I need to keep all the lights off, which means I cant read, so I'm online looking for new and interesting book topics to write about. So here they are.

Amazon Bookaholics Guide preview
Taking in small, quirky Web sites like Book Slut, dovegreyreader, Bluestalking Reader, and MoorishGirl as well as large, well-known sites like, this book will show readers how to investigate literature from distant lands, to find the sites of authors who are yet to be discovered by the mainstream, and to find the pages of book industry pundits who have opened their daily lives to a wider world. Welcome to the honest world of book blogs.

An English book due to be published in October 2007. It seems to list mostly UK based blogs. One of those listed is Dovegreyreader - a blog that I have already discovered and is listed in my sidebar.

Rashi's Daughters

Rashi's Daughters is a series of historical fiction novels by Maggie Anton chronicling the lives and loves of Rashi's three daughters, Joheved, Miriam, and Rachel. Rashi, the great medieval Jewish scholar, had no sons, but his grandsons became the greatest scholars of their generation. This book series explores the lives of the ignored generation - Rashi's daughters.

While I obviously am not a Jewish scholar or historian by any means, I am interested in medieval France. The first book Johaved is already available. The second book Miriam is due out in September 2007 and Maggie Anton is currently writing the third novel about Rachel, the youngest daughter. Check out Maggie's blog

Here is an interview from 2005 for some background information.

Ms Anton makes a comment about the covers of the first two books.

For those who asked, the woman on MIRIAM is from "Portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi" (a lady in the Medici court) by Agnolo Bonzino of Florence. The original is at the Ufitzi Museum in Florence, next to the portrait of her husband. Of course, JOHEVED is Leonardo DaVinci's "Lady with an Ermine." Both lovely Renaissance paintings.

Some folks ask why we didn't use medieval art, and the short answer is that the women in them are not very attractive, and the whole point of cover art is to attract the potential reader. The great thing about using Renaissance artists, besides that they're great artists, is that they're dead - so they don't charge for using their work and they don't complain if we change it. For example, JOHEVED has blue eyes (as the story requires) but "the lady with the ermine" doesn't, and MIRIAM is a brunet, while Lucreazia is a redhead.

Which leads me into my third discovery.

Altered Books.

Altered book art combines several types of artistic techniques into one unique art form. Starting with a book base, the artist tears away pages and then adds their own creative expressions through rubber stamping, scrapping, collage, photomontage, and writing.

Jenny's Altered Books

Beth Cote's Altered book site

Altered Reliquaries

International Society of Altered book Artists
[An Altered book] is any book, old or new that has been recycled by creative means into a work of art. They can be ... rebound, painted, cut, burned, folded, added to, collaged in, gold-leafed, rubber stamped, drilled or otherwise adorned ...and yes! it is legal!

I love this art form. Some of the pictures on the above sites are gorgeous. It's sort of like scrapbooking, but not so personal. And even though the real Altered Book artist would redo an actual book cover and the pages, I see no reason why one cannot do it in Photoshop as well. I just might try my hand at this one of these days.


iliana said...

Hi BiblioHistoria - Just came over from Literary Feline's blog. I'm a huge fan of altered books and just wanted to also recommend Altered Books by Holly Harrison in case you want to try your hand at making some.

Tara said...

Hello! I've enjoyed reading your blog. I am also a terrible Bookcloseouts Addict! This book about book blogs looks interesting, thanks for sharing.