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Gutenberg's Fingerprint: Paper, Pixels and the Lasting Impression of…

by Merilyn Simonds

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603380,584 (3.83)6
An intimate narrative exploring the past, present, and future of books Four seismic shifts have rocked human communication: the invention of writing, the alphabet, mechanical type and the printing press, and digitization. Poised over this fourth transition, e-reader in one hand, perfect-bound book in the other, Merilyn Simonds -- author, literary maven, and early adopter -- asks herself: what is lost and what is gained as paper turns to pixel? Gutenberg's Fingerprint trolls the past, present, and evolving future of the book in search of an answer. Part memoir and part philosophical and historical exploration, the book finds its muse in Hugh Barclay, who produces gorgeous books on a hand-operated antique letterpress. As Simonds works alongside this born-again Gutenberg, and with her son to develop a digital edition of the same book, her assumptions about reading, writing, the nature of creativity, and the value of imperfection are toppled. Gutenberg's Fingerprint is a timely and fascinating book that explores the myths, inventions, and consequences of the digital shift and how we read today.… (more)
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This was a complicated book. The opening chapters provide a light background on the advent of printing and focus almost exclusively on the impact of modern technology in order to make the reader understand the state of publishing and what it has been . However, from there we seep into a world filled with Simonds' own possibilities of what this means and how it reflects on us as humans in a digitized world. A history is included, but I felt that it touched too lightly on the historical aspects and more focused on the here and now. The various writing projects that she engaged in, retrospectively, speak of her time in Kingston involved in various means to try and keep the fire, the hope of writing, alive. Simonds still speaks of the new advents of publishing that it seems she hopes will counteract and lead to a future for storytelling. An important quote, resting within the conclusion, is: "That's why we desperately need stories to escape our fate, to cope, to learn, to remember." This is the ideal that permeates her writing and drives her forward.

This was a good book. Great food for thought to imbue the soul. A job well-done. ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 5, 2019 |
I was about half way through this book when it became almost impossible to ignore the desire to make a book again...not just a blank book, but to select, design, and bind a book. Even if you aren't a lapsed bookbinder I think you'll enjoy this meditation of the diversity of form and format the written word takes and what that means for us as readers. ( )
1 vote ccwray | Jul 21, 2017 |
In this memoir, Canadian author Merilyn Simonds recounts the production process of a limited edition collection of her flash fiction, The Paradise Project. Simonds collaborated with a local printer with a handpress who set the type, mixed the ink, and printed the book. Simonds' son designed block prints to illustrate the volume. A local paper maker used plants from Simonds' garden to make the endpapers for the book. The Paradise Project was later released as an ebook, and Simonds also recounts the design and production process for the electronic version of the book. Simonds reflects on the history of paper, printing, ink, and books, and she speculates about the future of authorship and reading in the digital world. After journeying with the author through the design, printing, and publication of The Paradise Project, I ended up buying the ebook version so that I can read the stories. Perhaps this is the best compliment I could offer Ms. Simonds since I nearly always download free ebooks or borrow them from libraries, but I almost never purchase them.

This review is based on an electronic advance readers' copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley. ( )
  cbl_tn | Feb 1, 2017 |
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An intimate narrative exploring the past, present, and future of books Four seismic shifts have rocked human communication: the invention of writing, the alphabet, mechanical type and the printing press, and digitization. Poised over this fourth transition, e-reader in one hand, perfect-bound book in the other, Merilyn Simonds -- author, literary maven, and early adopter -- asks herself: what is lost and what is gained as paper turns to pixel? Gutenberg's Fingerprint trolls the past, present, and evolving future of the book in search of an answer. Part memoir and part philosophical and historical exploration, the book finds its muse in Hugh Barclay, who produces gorgeous books on a hand-operated antique letterpress. As Simonds works alongside this born-again Gutenberg, and with her son to develop a digital edition of the same book, her assumptions about reading, writing, the nature of creativity, and the value of imperfection are toppled. Gutenberg's Fingerprint is a timely and fascinating book that explores the myths, inventions, and consequences of the digital shift and how we read today.

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