Thinking about the far past of Siberiana Books project, there is one interesting story that happened around the year 2007. At that time I was only a student of cultural history and a big fan of literature, but I had nothing to do neither with bookbindery nor restoration yet.
For a few weeks in August of that year we were staying in Brussels. One day we decided to have a lunch in some Chinese restaurant that was part of kind of proustian memories of my companion who had lived a couple of months in this city before.
After the lunch in the entrance outside of the restaurant I saw some small colorful object on the pavement. When I looked at it closer, I realized that it was a bean with some inscription in Chinese characters on it.
Probably, I thought, one of those Chinese magic messages that they put in some of their dishes. Anyway I took it with myself, although I was unable to understand a word, not even a strange picture on the other side of the bean.
Then, next day in hostel I saw some guests who seemed to came from some part of Orient. When I showed them the bean, asking, if by chance, they could explain me what does it mean, they told me that their are Corean, but could say that in loose translation this Chinese inscription means: “you’ll become a good person, if you devote yourself to the books”. Then, suddenly, I realized that the image on the other side of the bean was showing an open book.
Firstly I interpreted this message as a a simple confirmation of my interest in academic and fiction literature. But after few years when I discovered book restoration and bookbindery, I remembered this prophetic bean and realized that perhaps the message should be understood in a different way.
I still keep it in a small jar. As my colleague proposed, maybe, if it is still plantable, I should try to plant it and grow some strange book-bean tree.