The Social Life of Ink
By: Ted Bishop
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of the publishers via GoodReads First Reads Programme
Ted Bishop has made a career of investigating original texts, poring over stains on paper made by some of the greatest minds in literature. But what of the ink itself? This miraculous invention has mediated the flow of our culture, yet ink is so common that it is invisible. Bishop sets out to reveal the secrets of ink. From Budapest to Buenos Aires, he traces the lives of the innovators who created the ballpoint pen—revolutionary technology only decades ago. He visits an off-the-grid ranch in Utah to meet a master ink- maker who explodes linseed oil. In China, he discovers that ink could be an exquisite object, the subject of poetry and a means of entry to the emperor’s court. And in Uzbekistan, he sees the world’s oldest Qur’an, stained with the blood of the caliph who was assassinated while reading it.
Part travelogue, part memoir of personal discovery, The Social Life of Ink asks us to look more closely at something we see so often that we don’t see it at all
When I first saw this book on GoodReads, I thought it was really cool and interesting because it was a subject I didn’t really see in the nonfiction sections of the bookstores. Sure, you learn a bit about ink and art and Gutenberg’s printing press and literacy rates in history class, but unless you studied book-making or this element of cultural history, it’s just something you don’t often think about. So I was pretty excited when I learned that I won an ARC of this book via GoodReads. This book was released on 4 November 2014.