Lovers of the printed book, arise! Thirty of today’s top writers are here to tell you you’re not alone. In Bound to Last,an amazing array of authors comes to the passionate defense of the printed book with spirited, never-before-published essays celebrating the hardcover or paperback they hold most dear—not necessarily because of its contents, but because of its significance as a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable object. Whether focusing on the circumstances behind how a particular book was acquired, or how it has become forever “bound up” with a specific person, time, or place, each piece collected here confirms—poignantly, delightfully, irrefutably—that every book tells a story far beyond the one found within its pages. In addition to a foreword by Ray Bradbury, Bound to Last features original contributions by:Chris Abani, Rabih Alameddine, Anthony Doerr, Louis Ferrante, Nick Flynn, Karen Joy Fowler, Julia Glass, Karen Green, David Hajdu, Terrence Holt, Jim Knipfel, Shahriar Mandanipour, Sarah Manguso, Sean Manning, Joyce Maynard, Philipp Meyer, Jonathan Miles, Sigrid Nunez, Ed Park, Victoria Patterson, Francine Prose, Michael Ruhlman, Elissa Schappell, Christine Schutt, Jim Shepard, Susan Straight, J. Courtney Sullivan, Anthony Swofford, Danielle Trussoni, and Xu Xiaobin
In this collection of essays from 30 contemporary writers about books important to them, the role of the physical book in the life of the reader is telling. Manning (The Things That Need Doing: A Memoir) exalts the "tactile sensation of turning a page, the sight of my bookmark inching along night after night." Danielle Trussoni recalls nabbing her copy of Nabokov's Speak, Memory from the back of a boyfriend's pick-up truck and travelling with it around the world. Poet Nick Flynn declares that e-books should be reserved for "the books whose writers forget that language is a plastic material, that the book is sculptural." David Hajdu recalls his obsession with the marginalia of his used copy of Ellison's Invisible Man; what he refers to as "the spectral presence of an unknown other reader." For many, books are family heirlooms, powerful reminders of the past. For Karen Green, widow of author David Foster Wallace, a collection of a lost loved-one's books are like living with a ghost. These essays remind us that books can be living, breathing organisms, as well as powerful artifacts from our personal pasts.