India on my Mind

I have a binding project that has been at the forefront of my mind. By the end of this month, I hope to have most of it done. I have registered to participate in the One Book One Chicago 10th anniversary exhibit supported by the Chicago Public Library. I have been following the One Book One Bloomington program since this is where I live, but growing up in and around the Chicago-land area for the greater part of my life made me eager to participate once the exhibit was announced.

If you’ve never heard of the One Book One City programs, this is how they go: a book is selected once or twice a year, then this book is the center of exhibits, events and discussions throughout the city. Each is organized to promote a greater sense of community surrounding the book and its content. After having worked in a library, I saw this benefit first hand.

Chicago’s 10th anniversary exhibit will include creative bindings of the last 10 books read by the city. I have been assigned The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. The book is a compilation of nine stories surrounding the lives of people in India or Indian people who have moved to the United States. The voices of past generations come to play in the contemporary issues each of the characters face both of Indian and American descent.

I had the pleasure to go to India in December of 2009 to visit my husband’s family. It was absolutely stunning and sometimes dreamlike. There are so many people who live there, but despite the fact of being crammed together, they share a level of compassion and spirituality I have never encountered before in my life. It is from these memories that I will draw my inspiration.

However, once I am faced with the creation of a binding, there is always that period when all I can think is, “AHHHH!” Determined to overcome the stage fright, I am really trying to explore the text from many angles. I am almost positive that I won’t be able to find the book in anything but a glued binding, so that simplifies the binding style. Now I just have to design the cover and enclosure. Simple, right?

The June deadline seems to speed closer and closer. It is will seem even closer still as I am attending this year’s PBI (Paper & Book Intensive) in Saugatuk, Michigan. I am really excited to go, but these ideas that I have for the book must take shape in the next few weeks. Time to commit.