Tuesday, April 14, 2020

An Edgy Question

I received a "survival" package from The Poisoned Pen Bookstore last week. Was it necessary? No. You'll have photographic proof soon that it wasn't. I was just in the mood for something brand-new to read.

Nancy E. Turner's Light Changes Everything, Russ Thomas's Firewatching, and Peter Swanson's Eight Perfect Murders, all autographed and individually wrapped, were a delight to take out of the box. Don't be surprised if you see a couple of them on future giveaways.

It wasn't until I curled up with Eight Perfect Murders that the question I'm about to ask you popped into my head. The hardcover edition of Swanson's mystery is deckle-edged, something you don't see very often, and it made me think. I really prefer deckle-edged books to the usual smooth-edged pages of books. I've never gotten a paper cut from a deckle-edged book, but I have many times on smooth-edged pages.

Deckle-edged pages on books date back a long way to the time when the pages of books weren't cut-- the purchaser had to cut the pages apart him/herself. (There was more than one reason to own a letter opener.) I was reading a Victorian novel a long, long time ago when the main character was in the library of a rich person she had her doubts about, and when left alone, she pulled a richly embossed, leatherbound book from one of the shelves only to discover that none of the pages were cut. The book couldn't be read in its current state. All the books she looked at were the same. The library was just for show. Her doubts about the person were confirmed.

Now my question to you is: do you have a preference for the type of edge on the page? Deckle-edge? Smooth? To be honest, it doesn't really matter to me. If I want to read a book, I'm not going to refuse just because the pages are not deckle-edged. But in my heart-of-hearts, I'd prefer my hardcover books to be deckle-edged. What about you?


  1. I'd just be happy to receive the books!

  2. I never thought about this, but as long as it's a good, absorbing, logical book with interesting characters, I'm OK either way.

  3. I'm fine with either. There have been some deckle-edged books whose pages were hard to turn because the edges were SO rough - I kept getting multiple pages when I needed to turn just one, which is frustrating. So it's more a matter of my convenience.

    And there is a relatively new book festival in Columbia, SC, that is the Deckle Edge Festival!

    1. I like the name of that festival, Kate! I spent three weeks in Columbia, SC, when the Target stores opened there. I had a half day off during the entire time and used it to drive down to Charleston.

      We must have different fingertips because I turn multiple pages on "smooth-edged" books and find it much easier to turn one page at a time when the book is deckle-edged. :-)


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