The Whole Book Experience is all about how a particular book might affect me as I read it. Of course the experience is literary. And with the fine and private press books I concentrate on for this blog, it is also sensory. But there are also intangibles like where the book came from, what the story is behind it, or a personal connection somewhere along my forty-five year reading life. These intangibles come to bear in the case of James Branch Cavell’s Jurgen. My mother’s mother, my nana, was kind enough to let her voracious reader and book-loving grandson pick her shelves clean. And on that shelf was 1921 The Bodley Head Limited edition of Jurgen. This is one of my family literary heirlooms. Continue reading
On the first page of A Flame in the Heart: a love/hate anthology we learn that it “is dedicated to those we love with a blazing passion, to those we hope will burn in hell, and ideally, to the future separation of the two.” As I read the poems and short prose pieces that make up the book, it did indeed feel like that separation needed to happen. In one way or another, most of these are truly love/hate relationships, and all of them have at least a little resentment or hurt in their love. Together they paint a varied and broad portrait of attachment and desire and how the line can blur between the two extremes of love and hate. Continue reading
CODEX 2013 was my third trip to the show and it grows more amazing each time I go. Set in the beautiful San Francisco Bay area, this time in beautiful Craneway Pavilion in Richmond. I spent a day and a half there and still feel like I did not get to every table. I had some great conversations with many people who are obviously very passionate about books and saw too many unique and wonderful books to remember. Continue reading
Today I’m headed to the 46th California International Antiquarian Book Fair after hitting the CODEX International Book Fair 2013 last weekend. San Francisco is such a great city for the book, printing, and the book arts. I’ll try to post some impressions from the shows in the next week or so.
I am excited to have received a copy of the latest edition of Geist magazine with an article about Jan and Crispin Elsted and the Barbarian Press. It’s on the top of my “to read” pile but with just a glance I encourage you to get a hold of this article if you are interested in fine press and printing. You can see a little of it the digital version here and get more information on The Geist Foundation and magazine here.
Ah, Christmas! What would it be without a little Dickens. I was all set to read the Cricket on the Hearth, which I have never read, when I realized that I still had the Barbarian Press stage adaptation of The Chimes also unread on my shelf. The full title of this edition is
The Chimes: or, Some Bells That Rang an Old Year Out & a New Year In, a Goblin Drama in 4 Quarters; Adapted from Charles Dickens’ celebrated work by Mark Lemon & G. A. a’Beckett; First produced at the Aldelphi Theatre December 18th, 1844. Continue reading
Wilkie Collins is a well know Victorian era British writer of 30 novels, over 60 short stories, 14 plays, as well as a number of non-fiction articles and other pieces. How much of this enormous output have I read? None. I don’t recall any required reading of this good friend of Charles Dickens in any class of mine nor did I ever find a reason to seek him out. Interestingly, he is credited with introducing the detective novel into western canon, with no less than T. S. Eliot calling The Moonstone “the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels.” Continue reading
I’m a lover of books (obviously). And it all rubbed of on my daughter in a wonderful, make a dad proud sort of way. We discuss books, we haunt used bookstores together, we taunt each other when we find a sweet old edition of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poems right under the other’s nose, we happily trot off to our favorite coffee shop with our stack of newly acquired books, we harass each other about what we have/have not read, we check each others shelves for “borrowed” books, we follow each others book blogs, and just generally love books together.
So imagine my joy/jealousy when the tour we recently took at the Arion Press resulted in my daughter interviewing with and then getting a job offer at the Press. OK, it’s pretty much all joy right now; the jealousy will start as I begin to hear stories of being so close to the people and craft of making such wonderful and beautiful books. I’m thinking to myself “(What a) Wonderful World…”
How to start about a novel like Swann’s Way? How to articulate the feeling of reading Proust? That’s a touch challenge for me even on a second reading. It is definitely easier to dwell on the physical book itself, in this case the wonderful 1954 Limited Editions Club edition illustrated by Bernard Lamotte. And obtaining a copy of the LEC edition prompted me to jump into that second read much before the other two editions waiting on my shelf: the new Lydia Davis translation published in 2003 and the even more intimidating Pléiade edition en française. Eventually I’ll get to the Davis translation but I’m not sure my French will ever be up to the Pléiade. Continue reading
The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins, the latest Arion Press edition has landed on my doorstep. It’s up next on my reading list, so hopefully you’ll see a full review in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I’ve included a couple of quick shots of the beautiful book…