Culture Nature

Cutting up books

I’m going to the Galapagos and Ecuador on Friday. Or at least, on Friday I’ll only get as far as Quito, but the next day we go on to the Galapagos, and after that, back to mainland Ecuador for a bit. My copy of the ‘field guide’ to the birds of Ecuador was so heavy that I’ve resorted to drastic measures. Especially drastic since those who’ve ever borrowed a book from me could tell you that I’m completely anal about their condition — I like to read them in such a way that afterwards they still look new.

But I cut out the colour plates:

And did an amateurish but hopefully good enough version of re-binding with PVA glue, cardboard and sticky-backed plastic:

I’ll take both ‘books’ with me, but leave the bigger one in the hotel. I should probably point out that the fact the book is really heavy is no fault of the authors, who seem to have done a brilliant job. There are just too many species; ‘nearly 1600’ in Ecuador, apparently, which puts it in competition with Bolivia and Brazil for country with the most bird species in the world.

And cutting out the plates isn’t an original idea to me, either; it’s standard practice for birders travelling to South America. The region is such a wonderland of biodiversity that even birders aren’t OCD enough about it to risk spinal damage.

2 replies on “Cutting up books”


You have GOT to be a birding fanatic. Ever since my brother taught me how to read books so they look like new I have been anal about their spines, and I can never imagine a time when I’d dissect a book.


Generally I’m the same, but I mentally put field guides and cookbooks in a separate category where the odd stain is proof they’ve been used properly. And in this case I am saving myself over a kilo in weight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *