This short Nobility piece makes clear that we cannot expect a great civilization as long as we laud the ugly: "To the degree that members of social units appreciate the sublime together, the greater is the culture or civilization."
In this post for Medieval Fragments, Jenneka Janzen, a medieval manuscript researcher, describes "normal, more workaday" bindings, typical of the ones in her research corpus. She also talks about book covering techniques and shares pictures of some of her favorite books, even one with cow hair that has turned green with age. Links to book binding tutorials are included.
A skyful of jewels: Smithsonian features a stunning photograph from space in "The Universe is Beautiful in this New Hubble Image".