Book have always delighted me, not just their words and pictures, but their physical presence in my hand. I am still most happy lost for hours in a second-hand bookshop among the little books of poetry, big books of visual arts, or story books filled with magical lands and imaginary creatures.

Through my life I have always collected books; borrowed them, lent them and lost them too. How may books bought and sold, I’ll never be sure? I don’t think it really matters;  books pass through your life just when you need them and dissolve when you don’t.

Over the last three or four years I have given away or sold basically everything I owned (including the books) but interestingly they won’t stay gone. My weekly trip to Iloilo City always includes a few additions and my bags were chockers flying back to the Philippines last month. So it was a simply stunning hard-backed glossy called ‘The Poetry of Ink’ which grabbed me this week. What a title! It is so beautiful, the glorious water-coloured bamboos and geese and river grasses and finely brushed symbols or characters. It is so wonderful I wanted to share it here plus a few more of my new favourites.

One of the great joys of my life now is sharing these books with the people of Botongon, especially the children. Only yesterday afternoon, arriving from the city, I scattered art-books, science magazines and children’s books all over the back deck and minutes later children were immersed in their centre,  thumbing through animal books and reading aloud Disney stories.

the girls were candidly moving through this nature magazine, gesturing wildly and pointing at photographs
Sadly, this photographs loses the magic of the girls candidly moving through a nature magazine, gesturing wildly and pointing at photographs …

Having a shiny iPad with kindle, kobo and iBooks apps filled with my favourite books is something I never believed I would do ten years ago, but I have.  And yes, I am opening up to the world of transmedia publishing, but I tell you there is still nothing like a lazy Sunday with steaming coffee and beautifully crafted book pressed against me sharing secrets.

The poetry of ink.

© 2016 Melinda Irvine

List of Treasure

  • The Poetry of Ink: The Korean Literati Tradition 1392-1910. Musee national des arts asiatiques Guimet. Paris. An exhibition March 16 to June 6, 2005.
  • Civilisation: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum. Australian National Gallery, Canberra. An exhibition March 24 to June 11, 1990.
  • Decay. 2008. Nathan Troi Anderson and J.K. Putman.