A mural in a Beijing subway station depicts the invention of moveable type.
I loved all of the history of book-making and Davis’s love for books and their enduring value. Her personal story was poignant and beautifully written, with wonderful insights into the lives of the Chinese people.
I literally devoured the book as soon as it was in my hands. Not only is the organization of the material a delight with the easy to understand diagrams, but the writing is wonderful. I was there through the descriptions of places, smells, smoking, transportation, and food. Thank you for writing this book.
Can’t put the book down.
What a beautiful book—both instructional along with a very good read. The adventure of the book is well written and appealing. The romance of the book is very appealing.
I found the book both informative and very engaging at the same time. The format was easy to follow and the short bits of instructions held my attention. Then back to the romance, travelogue, history, and local culture. Very well crafted!
It immediately brings back the memories of Beijing.
Seattle Review of Books
There’s interest in stories this personal, interesting, and specific.
Margaret E. Davis doesn’t just read books; she puts them together. Her new book recounts how she won a grant to study traditional Chinese bookbinding, and the relationships and cultural understanding she stitched together during her time in China. (If you enjoy Chinese food, the book is also worth reading for the culinary expeditions alone.)
At a dire moment in publishing—as craven profiteers and online hucksters jockey to rob the book industry of its soul—Margaret E. Davis has written an eloquent and much-needed paean to the book itself: the ink-on-paper artifact. As Davis transports us to seventh-century China, we behold the wizened characters who invented the book. We tour the dimly lit caves where the world’s first bookbinders labored and learn anew why we all love the musty smell of an old book and the simple sight of print on a page.
Warning: This book on bookbinding might send you to the workbench, the world, or hopefully both.
Davis has written a fascinating book, combining a nostalgic report of her travels in China and an expert account of the traditional Chinese bookbinding techniques she studied there.