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In my current job I’ve become somewhat fascinated with what could easily be considered the key tool in a librarian’s toolbelt: Reader’s Advisory. Patron asks you to recommend a book based on a set of preferences and you knock it out of the park. That’s our job and we do it well. Booksellers do it too, don’t get me wrong, but we have the advantage of an extensive backlist of out-of-print titles at our fingertips. It’s taken a little while, but recently I noticed that a LOT of folks are getting in on the Reader’s Advisory game. Companies like Bookish, Zoobean, SelectReads, certainly, and now? An actual publishing company itself. The Penguin Hotline is pretty much what it sounds like: A publishing house doing RA. Says their site, “Tell us as much as you’d like about the reader you’re buying for this holiday season and our expert staffers will find you just the right books. You’ll get personalized recommendations from real Penguins! Every request is handled individually by one of our in-house editors, marketers, designers, salespeople, publicists, and more.” And they actually do. What all this says to me is that libraries need to double down on their RA skills. Take some tips from Multnomah County’s My Librarian site for starters. That idea is crazy good. We could all learn a thing or two from it.
Monday, January 11th. It’s almost a month away. The happiest day of the year. The day when they announce the Youth Media Awards, better known to the rest of the world as Newbery/Caldecott Day (and by “rest of the world” I mean “my brain”). In preparation, I was pleased to see Monica Edinger’s thoughtful appraisal of the Newbery itself in the piece Thoughts on Newbery: The Nature of Distinguished. In it, Monica talks quite a bit about Laura Amy Schlitz’s The Hired Girl, a book which (coincidentally) also showed up on Marjorie Ingall’s fantabulous Best Jewish Books 2015. Seriously, if you need Hanukkah gifts for any kid of any age, your prayers have been answers. For the rest of you, her voice is just so good. Downright sublime, some might say. Miss it and you’re missing out. (She also has stellar taste)
I’m not the first, second, third, or forty-fifth children’s literature enthusiast to link to this, but nonetheless I think the Atlas Obscura article C.S. Lewis’ Greatest Fiction: Convincing American Kids That They Would Like Turkish Delight is dead on. I grew up thinking it would be akin to sugar powdered squares of chocolatey confectionary delight. Then I went to London for foreign study and I and each of my classmates individually had to make the discovery that the stuff ain’t worth betraying much of anyone, let alone your blood kin. Edmund should have held out for fudge. Thanks to mom for the link.
Bookish (mentioned earlier) had a rather delightful encapsulation of fantastic literary-themed Christmas tree ornaments, just in case you’re scrambling to get something for that reader in your life. My personal favorite (aside from the library lion a.k.a. Patience which I MUST have):
In other news, Yahoo News recently announced that a Tintin expert was just named as an official “professor of graphic fiction and comic art.” Wouldn’t mind having one of these stateside as well. Perhaps an expert in Pogo. A gal can dream.
The resident 4-year-old is on a picture book biography kick right now, so on Saturday we went to the library’s bio section to find some new fare. We ended up in the Lincoln section and lo and behold her eyes alit on that old d’Aulaire’s Caldecott Award version of the life of Abraham Lincoln. I steered her clear, knowing its contents very well indeed. I never thought of it as the d’Aulaires’ best work, and we took home the Judith St. George/Matt Faulkner Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln instead. The d’Aulaire version had already been on my mind because of a recent PW announcement that a small publisher is bring the book back to the world. Mind you, “they made minor modifications to the original art and text to reflect contemporary views about race politics and to reflect historical accuracy.” Guess I’ll have to reserve judgement until I see it for myself.
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: Now with more indelible images that will haunt your nightmares until doomsday! Don’t try to unsee it. Don’t even bother.
This week in our popular series Children’s Books from 1907, we take a look at a little number that just makes me inordinately happy.
I think you get the gist. You may read the book in its entirety here. Thanks to Mara Rockliff for the link.
Before we begin I would like to have a few words with the publishers on behalf of catalogers nationwide.
Hi, guys. How’s it going? Heckuva weird weather we’ve had lately, right? Yeah . . . so . . . here’s the thing. You know how you’ve been rereleasing a couple classic children’s books recently like Slake’s Limbo and all the Ramona Quimby books? That is just awesome of you. Seriously, new covers were desperately needed. But, you’re kind of doing this weird thing that’s messing everything up. See, for some reason you’re changing the covers but you’re keeping the old ISBNs. And we wouldn’t really mind if it was just the jackets you were changing, but in the case of the Ramona books you have new interior illustrations. This is a HUGE disservice, not only to libraries, but to your new illustrator, Ms. Jacqueline Rogers. If you keep the same ISBN then in records across the country previous illustrators will be listed in the system. Not Ms. Rogers. So, I know we’re supposedly going to go through some crazy crisis where we run out of all the ISBNs, but do a gal a favor and change the ISBNs on rereleases if you have new interior art (or, also in the case of Ramona, new pagination). It just makes good clean sense.
Okay! Moving on.
If I say that Travis Jonker fellow at 100 Scope Notes is a nice guy I’m not exactly telling you anything you don’t already know. But how nice is he? Well, in his awesome 10 to Note: Spring Preview 2013 do you know what book he led with? MINE!! I’m thrilled and flabbergasted all at once. Ye gods! I hit the big time, folks! Now I just need to get my hands on that cool looking Lauren Myracle early chapter book and that new Charise Mericle Harper graphic novel. Woot!
You know you’re cool when the National Coalition Against Censorship collects cool birthday wishes for you. You’re even cooler if those birthday wishes come from folks like Jon Scieszka, Lois Lowry, and the aforementioned Lauren Myracle. And if you happen to be Judy Blume? Icing on the cake, baby.
On the one hand, it’s awfully interesting to hear folks speculating on what really made Mary Ingalls blind. On the other hand . . . . NBC News linked to me, linked to me, linked to me me me!
In case you happened to missed it, I hosted a helluva Literary Salon the other day. Yup. Jeanne Birdsall, Adam Gidwitz, N.D. Wilson, and Rebecca Stead all gave up their precious time to stop by old NYPL for a Children’s Literary Salon where they debated why pop culture at large tries to label middle grade fiction as YA. The whole conversation was, for the very first time, recorded for posterity. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the audio feed is lousy. Not sure what I did but it’s a bit mucked up. Clear enough that you could make a transcript from it (casts meaningful looks into the nethersphere) but not so clear that you could actually enjoy listening to it. A little later in the podcast some folks stop speaking into mics. That actually helps. Rear in Gear reports on how it went from the frontlines. By the way, the title “Why YA” is a good one. I might shorten it to Y.YA, then proclaim that to be the newest bestest trend without explanation. Cause that’s how I roll.
Speaking of my Children’s Literary Salons, I’ve one in early March on the topic of Diversity and the State of the Children’s Book that will prove to be most fascinating (and better recorded, I hope). Much along the same lines is a truly fascinating post over at Ms. Yingling Reads. The post concerns those book jackets that do not reflect the ethnicity of the characters within, but brings up a very interesting p.o.v. from that of the smaller publisher reliant on stock images. This post is your required reading of the day. Many many thanks to Carl in Charlotte for the heads up.
The post on 10 Fictional Libraries I’d Love to Visit is a lot of fun, but I would add the library featured in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman books most certainly. That would be the library that contains every book conceived of but never published by the world’s greatest writers. The in-jokes alone are worth it. Who doesn’t love Psmith and Jeeves?
Nerd that I am, I cannot help but be thrilled that the Bologna Book Fair has just established a new prize for the Best Children’s Publisher of the Year. What a fantastic idea, and why has no one else come up with it before? Now THAT is something I can get behind. Boy, yeah.
Flavorwire’s Conspiracy Theories About Classic Literary Characters doesn’t tell you a lot you haven’t already heard about your classic books (Nick Carraway = gay, Holden Caulfield = gay, yadda yadda yadda) but there are some fun exceptions on the children’s literature side. I think I’ve heard the Winnie-the-Pooh theory before, and I certainly heard the Harry Potter one (Rowling herself even addressed it) but the Wizard of Oz one is actually entirely a new one on me. Huh! Thanks to Annie Cardi for the link.
I like it when authors reveal the covers of their upcoming books. I especially like it when those authors are folks I’ve heard of before and have enjoyed thoroughly. I met Matthew Kirby (The Clockwork Three, Icefall) at a SCBWI event recently and now I find out that he has revealed his latest title The Lost Kingdom. Yep. I’ll be reading that one.
The other day I spoke on a panel for some young publishers about the library’s role in the pursuit of Common Core. I was on that panel with Scottie Bowditch of Penguin and John Mason of Scholastic. After the fact I learned that Scholastic has been working to get their hands on all this Common Core schtuf by creating the site Common Sense for the Common Core. It was created to help parents through this tricky time, but no doubt we librarians would benefit a tad as well. FYI!
You may have heard that tornadoes recently ripped through Mississippi on Sunday causing untold devastation in their wake. They hit in a number of places, including Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Why do I mention this? Well, are you aware what resides in Hattiesburg? That would be the University of Southern Mississippi. And what is the University of Southern Mississippi home to? If you answered that it was the de Grummond Collection “one of North America’s leading research centers in the field of children’s literature” you would also be correct. So did the collection survive the storms? We are happy to report that they did. And on the de Grummond’s Twitter feed they assured everyone that they were safe and sound. Whew!
Look me in the eye. Right here! Right in my beady little eye and tell me that this is not the smartest use of The Pigeon you’ve seen in a long long time. The crazy thing? I thought they melded together a bunch of different Pigeon books. Not true! Instead, all these panels come from The Pigeon Wants a Puppy.
Remember when NPR started that program they called NPR’s Backseat Book Club? They said they would pick a new book for kids every month and discuss them. Well, the whole “every month” part of that plan has been spotty and the selections have been even spottier. Seems to me NPR isn’t taking full advantage of the field. I mean, Black Beauty and Wimpy Kid? Is that the best you can do? Fortunately it looks like they’ll crank things up a notch when they discuss Gary Schmidt’s Okay for Now. In fact, kids are encouraged to submit some questions to the author ahead of time. Got yourself some kids? Then go to it!
Speaking of kids submitting stuff, you may have heard that YA author Ned Vizzini is getting into the middle grade fiction arena. He isn’t doing it alone, though. Director Chris Columbus is penning House of Secrets with him. Aside from the fact that the book has an honest-to-god blurb from J.K. Rowling on it (no blurb whore she) kids can get a copy by tweeting Ned their “secrets”. You can see some examples here. Love the kid who used to eat chocolate dog biscuits. That one I believe.
Would you like $1000? Sure. We all would. But to be a bit more specific, would you like $1000 for your program that uses, “children’s literature as a way to promote international understanding”? Well then are you in luck! USBBY would sure like to give you some cash. Say they, “Schools, libraries, scout troops, clubs and bookstores are all eligible for this award. Does your school or library program or do you know of another organization that “promotes reading as a way to expand a child’s world”? To learn more about the award, view information about past winners and award criteria and access the downloadable application form, please link to: http://www.usbby.org/list_b2u.html“
Done and done.I wasn’t particularly aggrieved by the Anne of Green Gables brou-de-haha going on about that random cover someone created. In fact, a commenter at ShelfTalker with my name (not me, alas) basically summarized my thoughts on the matter brilliantly when she said, “Folks, you are getting all upset because you MISUNDERSTAND the situation. This is NOT a ‘PUBLISHER’ with a marketing dept. This is a public domain book that some RANDOM PERSON is selling. You could do the same thing. PUBLIC DOMAIN – it means anyone can do anything with it. Here is a list of public domain books: http://www.feedbooks.com/publicdomain. If you want, you yourself could publish, say, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo with a photo on the cover of Governor Chris Christie eating a donut. (If you had the rights to the donut picture of course.)” Which was all well and good . . . but I truly have to tip my hat to Donytop5 who simply replied, “Here Betsy, I found it! http://wolverinesss.tumblr.com/image/42556986881“ That made my day, right there.
Apparently there’s a competitor to Goodreads out there and it’s calling itself Bookish. It’s not really the same thing as Goodreads, mind you, since it’s publisher driven through and through. Says Media Decoder, “Instead of relying essentially on the taste of other customers with similar preferences, as most recommendation engines do, Bookish’s tool takes into account critical reviews and awards.” Curious, I decided to see what they had in the realm of children’s literature. It’s interesting. Not a ton of content yet, but their recommendations aren’t shabby. Worth eyeing warily for a while.
Someday I will be very rich and I will create a children’s library of my very own. When I do, I will allow one or two walls to be like this:
Fortunately if that looks cool to you, you don’t have to wait. Just head on over to the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art and have your fun. Thanks to Swiss Miss for the link!
Things are bad all over, with economies slowed debt levels have become a more accentuated concern and all eyes are turning to public services. No program or service is safe from scrutiny, it seems, and in Brittan the fight is on to keep the nations libraries.
According to an annual report from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy the country has lost 347 libraries in past two years, down to 4,265. As grave as this sounds the news becomes more bleak when the figures for library attendance partly justify the closures. Visits to libraries across the UK have also dropped 2.4% in the past year and 6.7% compared with five years ago; and borrowing rates are down comparable figures.
So now the fight is on, with opponents claiming that: shutting down libraries is no way to improve public education, libraries also provide internet access to the less privileged, meeting places for social groups are a valuable community service, and they provide a service to job seekers looking to hone their resumes. Those in favor of the reductions to public spending point the aforementioned statistics, adding that not all libraries should be closed only the ones no longer being used; the same study indicates that while many libraries are being closed the largest libraries are mainly staying open. The Norfolk and Norwich Millennium library had 1.18m books issued and 1.34m visitors alone in the past year.
The town of McAllen Texas was recently repurposed an abandoned Walmart building into the towns new 124,000sq library. The new facility is fantastic and completely state of the art; it even won the International Interior Design Association "2012 Library Interior Design Award."
John Locke, a Columbia architecture grad, has set up a little conceptual experiment which he is calling the Department of Urban Betterment whose chief duty is to covert old pay phone boxes into tiny libraries.
Apparently he's set up two booths so far and had limited success. Apparently the first booth had all its books lifted, and then the shelves stolen within a few days. The second booth faired a bit better with pedestrians both taking and leaving books for while, but eventually it suffered the same fate as the first. Locke plans to continue his experiments but in future booths he wants to add some simple instructions to help show pedestrians the intended use.
I have a bit of a PSA today, one of our readers emailed us to let us know that they are involved with a school fundraising project this weekend just outside Washington D.C. Bethesda–Chevy Chase High School is hosting an annual book sale over 20,000 used books to raise funds to support various programs run by the Parent-Teacher-Student Association which include Extracurricular clubs, after-school tutoring, student publications and other quality endevaours.
All hardbacks are $3, paperbacks are $2 and on Sunday you can pick up a full bag of books for $10. The sale runs Saturday March 26th from 10am-4pm and Sunday March 27th from 10am-2pm.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School is located at 4301 East-West Hwy. in Bethesda. Free parking is available at the school; it is also accessible by Metro Red line, Bethesda stop.
If anyone makes it to the sale drop us a comment and let us know how it went.
It appears that Edward Tufte's personal library is going to be going under the hammer on December 2nd via Christie's. The auction catalogue is available online and viewings have been arranged for the week prior to the sale. There will be some amazing items in this auction and a must see for any serious science and maths collectors.
This weeks Essay in the NY Times Book Review struck a chord with me, in it the author talks about his youth when he would go to a yearly church book sale and stock up on cheap paperbacks to get him though the year.
This is exactly what I do every year with a local charity book sale sponsored by our local daily newspaper. Each year I go and pick up a bag full of books to help limp my reading habit though the year on budget, but there are always extras. This year I picked up the entire Foundation series to go along with a number of other gems that I have sitting in my to be read pile. Apparently I am not alone, the author also had many, many, extras. So many extras that he is still reading his selections thirty years on
As the author looks back at his youthful self I see my future self in his words, I foresee the day that I too will be forced to institute "the First Law of Literary Thermodynamics, otherwise known as the conservation of
libraries. No book can come into our household without another book leaving it."
Steven Gertz has posted a very nice article at BookPatrol on the rather amazing collection of Hefner material I spent several weeks cataloguing. Steven focuses on one elements, Hefner's brilliant cartoon. Hefner, as a young man, wanted to be a cartoonist (and did the early cartoons for Playboy).
During high school, Hugh would take notes on what his friends were wearing during the day so that he could sketch them accurately in the evening for his remarkable "School Daze" (approx. 33 volumes that are part of his private collection). Jane told me that she and her female friends would check School Daze to find out which of their boyfriends were fooling around behind their backs as Hugh would document *everything*. The cartoons in this collection are the only copies I know of that are not in Hefner's personal library.
I knew very little about Hefner before cataloguing this collection. 60 years of personal correspondence later, I have to admit that I am amazed by the man.
The Baxter Society is Maine's only bibliophilic group, open to all those with an interest, passion, and/or love of books.
On a personal note (and as Program Chair for The Baxter), I can not tell you how excited I am that Mark agreed to come speak. I want to thank the many restaurants in town for their efforts in drawing Mark to town (and the NYC Times, too). With luck, we'll do some damage at eateries about town.
While I'm blathering about such things, I should also mention that in April, Bill and Vicky Stewart of Vamp & Tramp will be speaking and in May, Tom Horrocks of Harvard's Houghton Library will wrap out the year.
Finally, a teaser for next fall: while at the LA ABAA book fair, Michael Suarez, the newly appointed Director of Rare Book School, agreed to speak at a fall date to be determined.
I am, needless to say, going to retire from the Program Committee...I am not certain I can really improve on my recent run...
Well, we have made it safely...our books made it safely and all is well. We arrived on Tuesday and had the afternoon to have a wonderful late lunch at House of Nanking. I was lucky, several years ago, to have the person who first recommended it tell me to ignore the menu completely and ask that the chef just send out little things (the functional equiv. of dim sum). They ask how hungry you are (very) and they send out the right amount. We also discovered that they have a newly opened sister restaurant (see below). I also picked up three new books...woohoo.
Wed. Suzanne worked while I, too, worked...however, her work involved phone calls and reports and cogent mental efforts, whereas my work involved going out to North Berkeley and visiting one of the few truly great experiential shops in the US. It is difficult to say how much I
love Serendipity Books, Peter B. and the nature and spirit of the shop. I found a few things and took home something that has hung in the shop as long as I can remember...more on this at some point in the distant future.
We had a very nice dinner Wed. night at Miss Siagon with Brad and Jeniffer (of The Book Shop). The food was good, the company was better. We went back to the hotel (our strange and pleasing little literary themed inn down the road from the hall)...I catalogued for a bit but mostly rested up.
We were at the hall at 8am. I left at about 5pm. To be fair, I kibitzed a fair bit and even did a bit of shopping. Thee booth looks pretty good...amazing what having nice books to show will do for a booth . It is always amazing what comes out of the woodwork at fairs. Strong contingent of UK booksellers, all of whom will head down to LA next weekend. Really just a great group. It is shaping up to be a good show...now we just need humans to come wanting to buy books.
A pretty big group of us (10) all traipsed over to Fang, the recently opened "sister restaurant" to House of Nanking. We were able to do the same thing...that is, ask the chef to bring out surprises for us and he did a remarkable job. All told, about 13 dishes were brought out (including some alternatives for the two vegetarians in the party). The two standouts for me were the "duck bun appetizer" (think peking duck slider...very interesting and wonderfully flavorful) and the "Lettuce Beef" (no lettuce, wickedly good). I had a nice unfiltered sake. We finished with a complimentary little desert and a chinese liqueur that was a lovely, simple finish.
I've a few new slips to clip and then to sleep. Show opens at 10am. Come join us if you can.
Curious Pages is dedicated to recommending inappropriate books for kids. Their selections are wonderful, as are their images. I promise you will waste a good part of your day and, most likely, add it to your rss feed. It is my favorite recently discovered blog.
There is a well-known curse, "may you live in interesting times". For the rare book world, times have seldom been more interesting (and here I speak only of the book trade, though the worlds of librarians, archivists, curators, etc have been similarly afflicted). The book trade has seen the death of book arbitrage, regional scarcity, and several of our beloved journals/institutions...we have seen a radical shift in the previously rather caste system of dealers and the emergence of a vast class of hobbyist "dealers"...we are in the midst of a radical shift from how the trade used to function to a newer-if not better, different-state of being (e.g. open shops dropping off droves, print catalogues becoming less common, the emergence of other venues for data transfer, etc).
At the same time, there are some really interesting elements emerging. As we seem to be losing one of the *critical* venues for the transfer of bibliophilic passion...the open shop...other venues finally seem to be emerging. The lose of the open shop has been worrying me a great deal for, as one who hopes to be wandering the stacks for many decades, I've been worried where the next generation (or two...or three) will be bitten by the biblio-bug. The primary petri dish has historically been open shops...you could go and hang out...handle books...talk with the owner(s) and similarly afflicted. You had a place you could *be* where you could handle books, listen, and learn. The loss of open shops has meant, in a real way, the loss of one of the primary gateway drugs that hook those so inclined and lead to more sophisticated distractions.
We are finally beginning to see some interesting and potentially important alternatives. As social networking sites have come into their own, we are seeing vibrant bibliophilic communities emerge. Facebook has dozens and dozen of Pages and Groups dedicated to authors, specific books, broad genres, periods, booksellers, printing, binding, etc. (Lux Mentis can be found here). Twitter has vibrant communities of librarians, booksellers, book lovers and, well, any number of other interest areas (Lux Mentis can be found here). Even "business networking" focused LinkedIn has interesting bibliophilic groups emerging (I can be found here). There is also the rather brilliant LibraryThing, a social networking site for booklovers where, among other things, you can post your collections, find others with similar interests and engage in any number of other distractions (I can be found here).
As one who spends a lot of time thinking about and exploring how to find/reach/engage the next generation of collector, I've spent a lot of time exploring these venues and am beginning to be pleased with what I'm finding. I've had dozens of "first contacts" by young (in the collecting arch, if not chronologically) collectors, asking interesting, engaged and/or curiosity questions and established collectors/clients tell me how much they enjoy the sense of community and ease of contact.
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of leveraging modern technology in an interesting way in the sale of a collection of Sommerset Maughan photographs. Not long ago, I'd have had to pack them off to the California dealer who I knew had a sophisticated collector of such material and then wait for him to be available and view the collection. Instead, she and I had an iSight based video conference...I held up each of the 110 photos, she did a screen capture of each one and threw them up on a unique webpage of thumbnail images. She then emailed her client a note saying she had so
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We started the day at the MARIAB Northampton Book. I arrived at just about 10 am and the place was pleasingly busy. There were a good number of dealers present...pretty much the same as past years...with some fresh blood stepping into a handful of empty slots.
I saw a handful of things I'd have liked to secure, but few things that really jumped out at me. this was, most likely, the result of too much buying in the days previous and possibly my lack of sleep. I did manage to see a number of the dealers I really look forward to seeing at this fair.
Lisa found a few interesting things. I caught up with Forest Proper and others and everyone seemed to be having a good time. I had a number of people ask why I was not doing this fair...I told them the truth: that I just can't bring myself to do fairs where I spend more time setting up my booth than the fair is open (my issue, not the fair's). On the other hand, I had a nice compliment in that one dealer told me that someone had asked if I was at the showl. As an added bonus, I had a quick nice chat with Thurston Moore (founder of Sonic Youth and, pleasingly, a collector).
We left the fair in mid-afternoon and ran a few errands and picked up a very quick bite to eat. The errands gave me a chance ot stop in at Raven Used books. Interesting shop...a lot of new material, very aggressively price.
We then headed over to Art Larson's wonderful Horton Tank Graphics. Three of the images are from Art's. The first
is an amazing type case...both for its overall size and condition, but also as it came with complete sets of early woodblock type.
Art showed us his various presses (one included tot he side). It is pretty wonderful to think that some of Leonard Baskin's greatest books came off these press.
We spent a bit of time talking about printing and coloring techniques and Art showed us some raw pigment used to create some of the wonderful colors that come off his presses. Show here are Azure and Malachite in raw form. Very cool. Art also gave us a tour of Wild Carrot Press (downstairs).
After that Lucretia and I went back to the house and regrouped for a few minutes (might have looked at a few
books. We joined Lisa for dinner at the Great
Wall (remember, White Menu for the Good Stuff).
We headed back to the house and settled in for the night. More books. This time, Lisa took me (us) on a whirlwind tour that touched bindings (publishers and fine), girl books, early books and just wonderful things in interesting stories. Lisa is everything I love in a passionate book lover--she can pull any book of the shelf (and there are 10s of thousands) and tell you what the book is, where she bought it and why it is special. It would be impossible to avoid becoming excited looking at books with her...even were they were not exceptional examples (or associations, etc). It is a simply remarkable collection in many different ways.
It is late and we have to be on the road reasonably early to get back to Portland. More to follow as I begin to be able to process this adventure...
I offer for your amusement and enjoyment two great new(ish) blogs. The first is
The Green Hand - Specializing in horror, mystery, and esoterica...best of all, just across the lane from Nancy. We're heading to a nice biblio-density level here on the West End. In Michelle's own words:
Hello everyone! It's official -- The Green Hand bookshop has secured its new shopfront space at 661 Congress Street, across Longfellow Square from our friend Nancy at Cunningham Books, and across the street from our compatriots in cultural intrigue, The Fun Box Monster Emporium and Coast City Comics.
Not only will we strive to provide a pleasant atmosphere and an ever-intriguing book selection, but also we are bringing into the fold the inimitable Loren Coleman's own International Cryptozoology Museum.
The other is the quite excellent foodie blog, "Portland Food Coma". It is not your usual food blog. Irreverent, debauched and...well...sometimes patently offensive (you are warned re the bacon cross tattoo-and/or the horror below it). All this notwithstanding, perhaps because of it, it is one of the great reads on and about food. Enjoy.
This delightful guide to fine books features writing from Nicholas Basbanes, Scott Brown, Erica Olsen, Derek Hayes, Ian McKay, and many others. Stories include coverage of the Grolier Club conference on the future of the book trade; million dollar books; magazine collecting; collecting in Norway; fine maps; fine presses; and much more.
Also included is the 2010 Gift Guide for the book minded and the 2010 Bookseller Resource Guide, a listing of more than 700 bookstores and book-related institutions worldwide.
As most of you know, FB&C ceased their usual print issues and went digital only about a year ago. They have, quite brilliantly, decided to issue an annual print volume that will put most of the annual digital content into ink on paper in a lovely, shelvable, volume. I encourage you to reward this decision by purchasing a copy.
As many of you likely know, the letters on a Linotype machine are organized according to frequency, thus "ETAOIN SHRDLU" are the first two vertical columns at the left side of the keyboard. This famed nonsense term is the title of Frederic Brown's short story about a sentient Linotype machine, first published in Unknown Worlds (1942). Several years ago, I tracked own a copy of Unknown Worlds, because this story was one of the very few that blends spec fiction and the world of letterpress. Imagine my surprise and pleasure when Ivy Derderian decided to bring these two worlds together with her brilliant reprinting of Brown's tale.
This is Ivy's first book, printed at Wolfe Editions. Her execution is simply brilliant. Printed in Linotype Bonodi Book (created on an Intertype, the Linotype's successor), she printed it in the style of the 1940's pulps, including period adverts. From the prospectus:
“Frederic Brown’s entertaining short story about a sentient Linotype, titled Etaoin Shrdlu, was originally published in 1942 in the magazine Unknown Worlds. While Mr. Brown was well known for his science fiction short stories and novels as well as his award-winning detective fiction, it is clear that he knew his way around a Linotype and a print shop.
Ivy Derderian, with the help of Wolfe Editions, announces a new publication of Etaoin Shrdlu, designed in the manner of pulp magazines of the 1940’s. The text type is Linotype Bodoni Book, titles were set in Ludlow Ultra Modern. Text is printed on acid free Dur-o-tone Aged Newsprint, cover is acid free St. Armand Colours. The two engravings used are from a 1923 issue of The Linotype Bulletin.”
There is a nice review of the book and quick interview with Ivy here. It is nice to see a great biblio-centric speculative fiction story reproduced as a fine press piece. It has been printed in an edition of 40 copies. Email me if you would like one (or more). Perfect for the holidays if you have a bookish sci-fi lover in your life.
From the brilliant HP Lovecraft Society, please enjoy a favorite of mine, "Little Rare Book Room" (Lyrics by Sean Branney and Andrew Leman, based on 'Little Drummer Boy,' written in 1958 by Katherine Davis, Henry Onorati, and Harry Simeone):
Come, they called me The special book room The rarest books to see Librarian's tomb Kept under lock and key In terrible gloom To save man's sanity, It's pointless, we're doomed, thoroughly doomed, utterly doomed. Necronomicon The first I exhumed From the book room.
Book of Eibon So frightfully old Vermis Mysteriis A sight to behold The Monstres and Their Kynde With edges of gold Could make me lose my mind All covered with mold, fungus and mold, poisonous mold. Kitab al Azif Its horrors untold. Still I am bold.
King in Yellow Left me feeling glum The Ponape Scriptures I'd stay away from And then The Golden Bough My brain had gone numb I read them all out loud Well that was quite dumb, terribly dumb, fatally dumb. Freed the Great Old Ones Mankind will succumb. What have I done?