An afternoon on Orchard Street

August 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

or, “Book Love”


This afternoon I went with my roommate Albert and his cousin Asuka to the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. We took a tour inside one of the buildings and learned about life conditions for Irish immigrant families during the 1860’s. It was really fascinating to see the layout of the buildings, the various designs of the wallpapers layered on top of each other throughout the years, and the places where children would scribble their names with pencil. But I also to appreciate what a difference in lifestyle we have now—we don’t have to worry about chalk and water and ammonia being mixed into the milk we buy, electricity and plumbing are an integral part of building setups, and rent does not make up half of a single person’s income. I think that when the internet on my cell phone fails me from time to time, I’ll be able to deal with it a little more cheerfully.

On a different note, isn’t the Tenement Museum logo simply marvelous? I love it! The placement of the letters is so graphic… and I’m liking their website design, too.

And while I was perusing the gift store before our tour began, I came across this gorgeous book:

I’ve never read it, but I’d definitely heard of it, and I was drawn to it by the little blurbs about it on the book flaps. But the design—oh my goodness. I was infatuated and desperately in love with it from the moment I felt the cover in my hands and gazed at the illustration on the front.

Everything about this book design delights me—where can I begin?? I love how the cover isn’t glossy like most books, but instead feels so soft and organic and touchable. And then there’s the beautiful debossing on the trees and swirls and type, the magnificent color palette, the rough edges of the pages (which is a detail that I adore), and the way the book jacket folds in as though for a hard-cover book despite it being a paperback. So many exquisite details, and all without even turning a single page! But then you do, and the text is set in such an elegant typeface (I wish I could identify it!) that works equally beautifully in such a choice variety of styles, in such a graceful point size and leading. I don’t know if I’ve ever worshiped any book that wasn’t a cookbook like I do this one.

Seriously, if anyone ever wonders how on earth actual tangible books will continue to sell after the invention of the Kindle or whatnot, this book is your answer. Yes, I am crazy and totally geeked out right now, but this book is the reason why you buy books instead of simply borrowing them from the library.

The cover design, by the way, is by Mary Schuck, senior art director at Harper Perennial. Brava!

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You are currently reading An afternoon on Orchard Street at On the road to Marathon No. 1.

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