This book is owned by my dear friend and sister Maya. It was chewed by her beloved , departed canine friend Canyon. It was passed on to her by her Iranian father. It’s extremely special! It’s only about 4 x 5 inches.
This book was published by Tahrir Iran Co., and I couldn’t find any dates. It contains 5 languages: Persian, English, French, German and Arabic. It has dozens of exquisite illustrations! Someone added a lot of scotch tape at one point, which left intense staining. Part of the front cover was gone completely and it was broken away from the rest, and many pages were falling out. Some of the pages inside were somehow chewed, as well. My goddess, this book was a disaster!
I’m not a highly trained book and paper conservator. My main goal in fixing a book is to be able to enjoy it as a book, like be able to turn the pages, and maybe try to make it look a little better. After Christmas I finally had time to re-arrange the pages and stitch them back together. The book ‘begins’ from both covers, so figuring out the numbering was tricky at first. The ‘front’ according to Western/European books, starts off with English. The ‘other front’ is Arabic and the numbers go ‘backwards’ to my mind. Some sections were in Roman Numerals. It felt good to twist my brain a little, and I did get it back together correctly, I believe. I used silk tissue to repair torn pages. I did not remove the tape stains, but I did pull out all of the tape. This book was originally sewn on what seemed like cotton cords, in an irregular (non-symmetrical) stitching pattern (only 4 holes). After re-sewing the textblock with linen thread and 2 ramie bands, the swell was larger than the original (this always happens to me, probably from a combination of factors), and so I ended up building a new spine with green leather.
I found some almost-matching green leather. I left the dog-chewed corner alone, but extended the spine leather to cover the inside endpapers on that low corner. I think the dog-chewing is part of the book’s story, don’t you? I resisted the urge to cut it away. Then I added the original spine piece on top of the leather. On the textblock, I added a section of Mohawk Superfine and the marbled endsheet at each end, hence the extra thickness. The green and white endpapers came from an old book from India. I realize this is a cultural stretch and not totally authentic, but I can’t bear to leave dirty white endpapers alone and I like to use what’s on hand. I hope Maya treasures it even more than she did before; she hasn’t seen it yet because she won’t even let me send it in the mail! I told her it’s no longer fragile and I’ve shipped hundreds of books. Oh well, I’ll keep it for a while…it’s not like I’m getting paid or anything, might as well enjoy it.