My newly bound NABRE
For my latest rebinding project, I took the HarperOne New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) hardcover and had it transformed it into a genuine leather softcover. While Oxford University Press has produced some acceptable genuine leather NABREs, there honestly isn’t a NABRE currently on the market that beats the text presentation of the HarperOne – I mean, you’ve gotta love the classy red-and-black text, not to mention the fresh organization of the footnotes and references! – and I think that such a superb layout deserves a fancy set of “clothes.” Some of you may remember the article entitled Healing Catholic “Bible Envy” written this past May by Mickey Maudlin, Senior Vice President, Executive Editor and Director of Bible Publishing at HarperCollins. In that piece, while discussing the merits of the NABRE translation, Mr. Maudlin lauded that the (then) to-be-released NABRE in black imitation leather was “stunning and should assuage any Catholic still suffering from Bible envy.” To our misfortune, he was wrong. What we received was a poorly packaged NABRE thinly disguised as a NRSV Catholic Gift Bible. Obviously there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to HarperOne’s binding and design! While this rebinding project was clearly meant for my own edification, maybe this post will further signal to the many Directors of Bible Publishing that there is a significant and growing segment of Catholics who desire a higher-quality standard in our Bibles.
The first thing that you notice is that this Bible is very blue! This is a soft, flexible and supple royal blue pebble genuine top grain cowhide with 3/8” yapp on all sides. Absolutely stellar! I chose royal blue for three reasons: first, I’m pretty bored with the same ol’ black and brown Bibles and I thought it would be pretty awesome to own a blue Bible (and it is!); second, my fiancé thought it would be more mannish than a turquoise Bible; third, and most importantly, since the Blessed Virgin is most commonly depicted in blue, I couldn’t think of a better symbolism to hold the Word of God. Hats off to HarperOne for making the hardcover with sewn binding! The silver embossing on the spine is complementary and really stands out beautifully, I think.
On the inside, there was some minor surgery required. Those of you who own the Harper NABRE already know about the glossy Presentation and other Sacramental pages at the front end of the Bible. There is even a photograph of Pope Benedict XVI. Even as a practicing Catholic, I find these pages to be largely a waste of space in my Bibles – not to mention unappealing – so I had them excised. In their stead, I added four blank note pages to the back of the text block for general note-taking – which is more than sufficient for my needs. Three 3/8” red ribbon markers were added. I had originally opted for silver ribbon markers to (again) complement the blue, but then I realized that the white pages would make the silver seem sort of bland. I was reluctant to go with the red ribbons since the red, white and blue might make this seem too much like a patriot’s Bible – especially considering that this is the New AMERICAN Bible (oy vey!) – but then I realized that the red(, white) and blue really do complement each other exceptionally well.
You’ve got to admit that this Bible really grabs your attention! Many thanks to Eric and Margie Haley over at Leonard’s Book Restoration for not only the quality craftsmanship which you see here but also their personalized customer service. It had been about two years since my last rebind, yet my name was immediately recognized when I contacted them – and they were very patient and understanding, especially considering all the last minute changes of mind I had!