Yes, it’s another post about books. Sorry!
Yesterday was World Book Day, bringing with it the annual challenge of coming up with a costume for a costume-hating child. Every year we end up with a variant of ‘normal clothes’: George from George’s Marvellous Medicine (normal clothes: big spoon); Harry Potter pre-Hogwarts (normal clothes: plastic glasses); Ash from Pokemon (normal clothes: baseball cap). This year we went with Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (normal clothes: golden ticket). I’m becoming an expert at the art of the almost imperceptible costume. If we ever meet in real life, watch out: I could be wearing a costume, and you wouldn’t even know it.
Unsurprisingly, books have been much on my mind lately. I’m still struggling to concentrate long enough to make it to the end of a book (I’ve been hearing the same thing from lots of other people lately), but I’m always surrounded by book-related stuff.
Recently I’ve been designing author bookplates. Under the current circumstances everyone seems to agree that book-signing events are a Very Bad Idea, so increasingly authors are writing messages on bookplates and posting them out to the people who would have attended the book signings (I’ve just requested one from Adrienne Mayor, to put in my copy of her book). So bookplates are in demand, for once! I’ve designed bookplates for two wonderful poets in the past couple of weeks, and it’s lovely to think that my designs will be sent out all over the world for people to put in their books!
I like to design personal bookplates, based on what I know of the person, or based on puns on their name. It’s an old tradition, going back to the fifteenth century, and a fascinating art form – to me, at least! One of the things I like most about it is that, going back a long way, women were well represented, both as artists and as recipients. Here are a few interesting ones (and for more, there’s a lovely little book from the British Museum called ‘Ex Libris: The Art of Bookplates’).
I also like the idea of more general bookplates, for anybody to use. I used to buy these, when I was a kid, and stick them in my most treasured books:
So here are a couple of bookplates designed by me, as a World Book Day gift, which you are very welcome to download, print out and use in your own books, should you wish! They also make nice diy presents (Mother’s Day is coming up, you know…!).
Pdf to download and print:
You can also find a myth-related one I designed, over at Greek Myth Comix, which again is free to download and use.
Right – I’m off to stare blankly at my bookcases in indecision for a while, before settling down to watch the news – again!
This week from around the classical internet
Amazing chariot found in Pompeii – CNN
Mummification handbook – New Atlas
Etruscan ‘red blob’ revealed – Daily Mail
Comment and opinion
Food of the gods – Idler Magazine
Female portraits – Roman Times
The history of the Cyclops – TLS
Newly restored Pompeian frescoes – Smithsonian Magazine
Villa of the Mysteries replica – Atlas Obscura
Rare diseases in the Bronze Age – Phys.org
The financial conquests of Eubulus – The Historian’s Hut
More on The Discourse – Maximus Planudes
Podcasts, video and other media
Why you need to read the Odyssey – Ancient Geek
The Roman emperors – History Extra
Interview with The Lego Classicist – The British School at Athens
Dr Mai Musié’s Classics story – Communicator Limited
Sappho Fragment 31 – Sweetbitter
Cavalry and the Macedonian phalanx – Ancient Warfare Answers
SCS Annual Meeting: Emotions and the Body in Greco-Roman Medicine – Society for Classical Studies
SCS Annual Meeting: Epigraphy and History – Society for Classical Studies
Artistic responses to Antiquity (this looks great!) – Classical Association of Scotland
And the excitement tonight, for anyone who remembers studying the Benin Bronzes on AA100 or A111, is an i-phone event featuring academics and MC Hammer! – Clubhouse