The thousand or so followers from my old Instagram account might recall that one of my last posts before the event we shall call THE BANNING BY INSTAGRAM OF KEVMICSUL FOR HAVING AN OPINION was about a new edition of Gone With the Wind which was planned to become available in September. Lo and behold. . .it is out now. That new hardcover edition, which is not published by current US copyright holder Scribner, is produced in India by a publisher named Fingerprint. It is intended to look and feel like a high-end edition–something akin to the collector copies put out by companies like Heritage Press and Franklin Mint. It features a decorative front and rear cover, a ribbon bookmark, and decorative endpapers, along with gilded page edges. But, for all its intentions, the execution–to this collector–feels a bit off. First, that cover. The silhouette nicely pays tribute to the film adaptation. Unfortunately, it looks like clip art that was grabbed off the internet. (More on the clip art in a moment.) Adding insult to internet thievery, though, is the book’s title font. As a font man, this bothers me. (Internet Thievery Admission: I am “Borrowing” that line from the genius @MissCocoPery because I give credit where credit is due. (As to the font issue, I used to draw fonts and logos as a child and have been fascinated all my life by the shapes of letters and logos; I assume I have some classifiable condition but we’ll diagnose my mental functions some other time) The title font is too soft and mythical; something better suited to a tale of middle-Earth Narnians heading down a yellow brick road to find Hogsworths. It just looks strange. On the back, though, is a nice quote, “After all, tomorrow is another day”, though, again, the font makes it look like something from a Lewis Carrol story. Opening the book itself, the reader finds nice endpapers showing an illustration of a foresty river. Having been to the Flint River (where Tara’s property line ends) I will say this is a nice choice, whether that choice was intended tio evoke the Flint River or not. (I fear it was more coincidental.) But after that, this is where this edition’s shortcomings come into sharp view: The paper of the pages feels thin and delicate–like newsprint. Books use sturdier paper because books are not disposable; a paper this thin and fine is only suitable for a newspaper which will be tossed by day’s end. (If you don’t know what a newspaper is because you get all your news from an app, please stop reading; you’ve killed me.) The paper is so thin–“HOW THIN IS IT?” cries Charles Nelson Reilly–that the ink on each page is visible on the opposite side of the other.
This is very clear when the book uses what appears to be another piece of clipart (a Rhett and Scarlett silhouette yours truly ALSO uses); this illustration appears when the book delineates each part of the story. Oh–and before we get to the story, there is a very concise and interesting biography of the book’s author, who, we learn in its first sentence, feared being raped by a man of color. (Being raped by a man not of color was apparently honky-dory then? Help me; I’m lost.) It is one of the most awkward things I’ve read in a long while–it’s up there with “Art of the Deal”–and also has enough grammatical errors to imply it was written in one language, Babbel-fished into another and then Bing Translator’d into English. (Look–grammatical errors on Instagram? Fine. Many of us–like me. . . or I. . . Or. . . whatever–went to public school and earned our diploma by being nice to our superintendent. Not all of us are Grammarians. But this is a book. BY A BOOK PUBLISHER. Proofread, for the love of God.) Anyway, the story itself? It’s all there.
The font is readable and easy on the eyes but each page has too much on it. I’m not one for decorative pieces framing page numbers–just let my eye take in the words and read the story. Cutesy swirls distract me. (Again–we’ll diagnose my mental faculties some other time. Like tomorrow, 2pm, over coffee and croissants. You’re paying and I’m putting out again, I guess.) In fact, the entire story is there–all 1,037 pages of it–at just 952 pages. So. . .why is it so thick? (That’s what he said.) I. Have. No. Idea. It really shouldn’t be, with thinner paper and fewer pages, one would assume it would be thinner than the current US hardcover. But, somehow, like the person who only eats lettuce and grapes but still gains weight, it’s thicker. And while it’s not hard to hold, it never succeeds in feeling as collectible or high-end as it aspires. So, it’s not a horrible edition, it just isn’t better than what’s already available.
Which means that, in the end, it really has no reason to exist outside of India, where Fingerprint may be the official publisher. (Note, though, that this edition contains no copyright information, which could imply it’s not official OR that GWTW is currently out of copyright in India.) So, out of five possible bookmarks, I’ll give this sucker a two. Nicer paper, more suitable fonts, and a better intro would improve this drastically.