Bookbinding – another odd skill of mine. A “Jewel book” is a one way of referring to any small book you might tuck in your pocket – these books are about half the size of a standard paperback and are great for traveling. They’re more commonly called “miniature books.”
Classically, books that fall into this category might include the quadrasegisimo-octavo (2½ x 4) and the sexagesimo-quarto (2 x 3) which sound like complicated Italian musical directions.
If you’ve ever seen one of these, it’s most likely been an antique small prayer book or "thumb Bible." For those like myself who prefer other reading on the road, Shambahala, a favorite Boston press of mine, puts out a series of “pocket classics” – of which my small Emerson is an out of print title. It has 17 poems and essays in full, including my favorites: Nature, Self-Reliance, The Divinity School Address, The Poet and Circles. It’s 3 x 4-1/2 x 1/2 and is pretty tough, being glue and stitch bound with a plastic-like cover. The font is standard 12 point - but most of the size savings come in at the margins, which are pretty much non existent. When the batteries die, when you’re camping out in some eastern European bus station, it’s nice to have Ralph along with you – in a package smaller than your average wallet. They also make for pretty cool gifts. Especially if you know someone who speaks German. Another great place to buy from is Stone Street Press - though they only have a few miniatures, the overall quality of McCormick's work is excellent.
I used to make my own very small books (collections of poems mostly, mine and others, with some blank pages left for notes) for travel. I used old acid free typing paper, a laser printer set to 10pt Arial, and stitched them by hand. Now - alas - my project time is vastly diminished.
Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.