Nov 20, 2009

A Quiet Afternoon with 19th Century Medical Books.

On a quiet afternoon, when the reassuring, clicking sound of cataloguing keyboards is disturbed by peals of laughter – I wonder to myself what could be so amusing about a 19th Century Medical book:

The results of an astonishingly successful weight loss program!

We call the poor chap the cabbage man. We can only speculate that some mischievous medical students were given the task of setting up the photographs to illustrate a nasty skin condition for this very serious medical tome. Perhaps they were instructed to find a way of preserving the patient’s modesty and unable to find a fig leaf, they improvised…….

And then there’s the 1940’s book ‘The Nation’s Health’:

Someone wanted to put it in Erotica or Drama perhaps?

The less we say about this one the better!

Nov 11, 2009


and here is a quick idea what can be made from old book boards:
a fancy, contemporary wall design.
bookboard-colour-sets of up to 100 boards can be ordered from Plurabelle Books,
ask Lisa for further informations.

Bicycles, Bibles and Bookbinders

Cambridge is so wonderful to get around on a bicycle! I just took a lovely old (and valuable) book to the Post Office to send Special Delivery. I then popped into one of the ancient and beautiful College libraries to look at some books. Languishing on the Librarian's office floor I spotted some 19th Century leather-bound Bibles from the Chapel, which have obviously been “lovingly used and cherished for many years” which in Bookseller speak means they are falling apart! However, they are much too nice to discard and we will do our best to find them good homes – perhaps via a visit to our wonderful Bookbinder which was the last stop on my circuit of the city. All this in about an hour: by car, it would have taken me most of the afternoon and involved lots of time sitting in traffic and looking for parking.

Our latest acquisitions:

Here are the 91 Bibles we have in stock:

Nov 6, 2009

Plurabelle Book stars in the very first Bahamas Shakespeare Festival

“Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the High Court of Chancery” as the Book of Magic, Craig Pinder as Prospero, Dana Ferguson as Ariel in The Tempest performed at The Dundas Centre, Nassau Bahamas, October 2009.

Our Bahamian Actor friend, Craig was very excited to be involved with ‘Shakespeare in Paradise’, the first ever Bahamas Shakespeare festival, playing Prospero and co-directing The Tempest (with an African/Caribbean flavour). When I heard that the Book of Magic was being made out of cardboard I decided that Plurabelle could help out with a little magic of its own. Looking around our book-filled barn, I spotted a stack of old leather law books, which have been hanging around for a few years sadly unwanted. I selected a nice leather-bound copy dating from 1764 and sent it off to Nassau along with a single volume of Complete Works of Swift and a few other odds and ends. The whole cast was delighted with the added authenticity and it was remarked that there was something very special about old books in the New World!

“Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me
From mine own library with volumes that
I prize above my dukedom.”
- Prospero

Nov 5, 2009

Plurabelle Cataloguers are intriqued….. Comrade Stalin

We are intrigued by a collection of books we are cataloguing in various languages, all bearing the name of E. R. Sands. This gentleman wrote his name in many his books along with his current location, which ranged from Archangel (in the northernmost reaches of Russia) to Paris, Helsinki, Madrid and of course Cambridge, over the course of 1939-55. Our imaginations were further fired by a note we found in one of the books:

“at the present moment I am dragging out a hand to mouth existence…in Bloomsbury, and am fast becoming an efficient Russian Linguist (Russian mind you, not Japanese). How it all happened is far too complicated to describe here. Perhaps we might call it an official wangle and leave it at that…anyway the last month has been by far the most chaotic, pointless and exciting of my butterflyish existence.”

In a different book was another intriguing note with a sketch labelled in Russian: “Comrade Stalin”

Are we onto a hitherto undiscovered member of the “Cambridge Six”?