Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Harry Potter Special Editions and Pop-ups, and more.

For muggles and wizards. Harry Potter in French, a Harry Potter journal, collectible editions, and out-of-print pop-up books. All new.
Click here to find these titles for sale by The Book Savoury.

Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers, by J.K. Rowling
Editions Gallimard (2002), Paperback, 305 pages
New. $9.99
New, paperback, French-language version of the first Harry Potter novel (first published as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the UK, then as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the U.S.)

Harry Potter Hogwarts Journal by Scholastic
Scholastic (2000), Hardcover-Spiral, 64 pages
New. $12.99

This is a blank journal for Potter fans to list their magic spells.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: A Deluxe Pop-up Book
Scholastic (2001), Edition: Pop, Hardcover, 12 pages
New. $95.00

Paper engineering by Rodger Smith, six pop-ups with scenes from the story include pull-tabs and 3-D. With a set of 4 attached postcards. New, in publisher's shrinkwrap. Out-of-print.
Harry Potter Hogwarts School: A Magical 3-D Carousel Pop-Up
Scholastic (2001), Hardcover
New. $150.00

This is a delightful playscape. A carousel opens to Hogwarts School scenes with paper doll characters for imaginative play. New. In publisher's shrinkwrap. Out-of-print. Rare.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1, Collector's Edition)
Scholastic Trade (2000), Edition: Collectors, Leatherette, 320 pages
New. $250.00

Special edition. Gilt edges on pages, titles and devices. With paste-down illustration and green leatherette binding. Illustrated end-papers, acetate dust jacket. New. Out-of-print thus.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2, Collector's Edition)
Arthur A. Levine Books (2002), Edition: Collector's, Leatherette, 352 pages
New. $250.00

Special edition. Gilt edges on pages, titles and devices. With paste-down illustration and red leatherette binding. Illustrated end-papers, acetate dust jacket. New. Out-of-print thus.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Shakespeare Activity Books

Great gifts for teachers and students, dramatists and actors.

All the World's a Stage by Michael Bender
Chronicle Books (1999), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 20 pages; 8.7 inches
New. $14.95
Click here to purchase.
Hardcover laminated, full-color illustrated boards. New, in publisher's shrinkwrap. No dust jacket as issued. Out-of-print. Full color illustrations.

Shakespeare's world comes alive in the elaborate pop-up illustrations and fascinating text of this historically accurate portrait of the world's most famous dramatist.


Shakespeare And The Elizabethan Age (Treasure Chests) by Andrew Langley
Running Press Kids (2000), Paperback, 32 pages; 8.35 inches
New. $29.99
Click here to purchase.

New, in publisher's shrinkwrap. Boxed set with paperbacks. Out-of-print.

Two small paperback books, printing blocks, ink, and printing frame in a "treasure chest" box with latch. Stand-up cutouts to make a model of the Globe Theatre.

Includes timeline and map of London from Shakespeare's time.

Robert Sabuda: Young Naturalist's Handbook (Beetles & Butterflies)

Robert Sabuda is one of the foremost pop-up creators of the present day. His work is featured regularly in special collections and museum displays of pop-up book artistry.

Here are two new, gift quality, out-of-print pop-up titles with paper insects in paper frames, still in the publisher's plastic case. These are the first two pop-up books in the "Young Naturalist's" series. Six pop-ups in each book, with a paper insect in a paper frame for each book inside the publisher's plastic case.

#1: Beetles: ISBN 0786805579
#2: Butterflies: ISBN 0786805587
Published by Hyperion in 2001.
Each 14 p.; 11.7 inches.
Individual titles: $95.00.
Set of Two: $175.00
Click here to purchase one or both titles.

Postage is not included and covers the cost of shipping, handling and insurance.

Women Write, Women Read

Here are some great deals on hardcover fiction written by women across different culture backgrounds, ethnicities, and genres. These titles are all new books unless otherwise specified. Multiples copies of some titles are available for book clubs or as a gift to share and read along with someone else.

Save on postage with the purchase of multiple items. Links with individual books will take you to the book purchase page for that item. Please contact The Book Savoury if you have any questions about these or other items. Thanks for supporting small businesses!
Saving Fish from Drowning, by Amy Tan Random House (2005), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 474 pages New. $4.99
Click here to purchase.
The title of this book comes from the Myanmar saying that fishermen scoop up fish to save them from drowning. On an ill-fated art expedition, twelve American tourists find themselves deep in the Burmese jungle, where they encounter a tribe awaiting a leader and the mystical book of wisdom that will protect them from the Myanmar military regime.
Atlas of Unknowns, by Tania James Alfred A. Knopf (2009), Hardcover, 336 pages New. $6.99
Click here to purchase
A story about sisterhood, the tantalizing dream of America, and the secret histories and hilarious eccentricities of families everywhere. When Anju, the daughter of a dyspesic father living in Kerala, India, wins a scholarship to a prestigious school in America, she seizes the opportunity, even though it means betraying her sister. But when Anju goes missing, her sister Linno procures a visa so that she too can travel to America to search for her vanished sister.
Doctor Olaf van Schuler's Brain, by Kirsten Menger-Anderson. Algonquin Books (2008), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 290 pages New. $7.99
Click here to purchase.
From the publisher: In 1664 Dr. Olaf van Schuler flees the Old World and arrives in New Amsterdam with his lunatic mother, two bags of medical implements, and a carefully guarded book of his own medicines. He is the first in what will become a long line of peculiar physicians. Plagued by madness and guided by an intense desire to cure human affliction, each generation of this unusual family is driven by the science of its day: spontaneous combustion, phrenology, animal magnetism, electrical shock treatment, psychosurgery, genetic research. As they make their way in the world, New York City, too, evolves--from the dark and rough days of the seventeenth century to the towering, frenetic metropolis of today. Like Patrick Suskind's classic novel "Perfume," Kirsten Menger-Anderson's debut is a literary cabinet of curiosities--fascinating and unsettling, rich and utterly singular.
~Titles by Laura Esquivel~
Esquivel is a noted Mexican author whose Like Water For Chocolate. was made into a movie by the same name. Esquivel often employs magic realism to combine the ordinary and the supernatural. All of these titles are new books.
Click here to select one or more Laura Esquivel titles to purchase.
Swift As Desire $6.99 Swift as Desire is Laura Esquivel's loving tribute to her father, who worked his own lifelong magic as a telegraph operator. In this enchanting, bittersweet story, touched with graphic earthiness and wit, she shows us how keeping secrets will always lead to unhappiness, and how communication is the key to love.
The Law of Love $8.99 (Esquivel's 2nd novel, set in Mexico City.)
Malinche: A Novel $8.99 (via wiki: The life of a near mythic figure in Mexican history-the woman who served as Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez's interpreter and mistress" as he fought to overthrow the Aztecs. Reportedly, although "since the 15th century, Mexican history and folklore have interpreted her actions as traitorous to her people. Esquivel characterized La Malinche as a strong woman - an ambassador and a genius. The novel includes an Aztec codex (by Jordi Castells) which acts as Malinche's own diary.)
Between Two Fires: Intimate Writings on Life, Love, Food, and Flavor $8.99 (essays)
The Wind Done Gone: A Novel, by Alice Randall Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2001), Hardcover, 224 pages Slightly used, out-of-print in hardcover $12.99
Click here to purchase.
In a brilliant rejoinder and an inspired act of literary invention, Alice Randall explodes the world created in Margaret Mitchell's famous 1936 novel, the work that more than any other has defined our image of the antebellum South. Imagine simply that the black characters peopling that world were completely different, not egregious, one-dimensional stereotypes but fully alive, complex human beings. And then imagine, quite plausibly, that at the center of this world moves an illegitimate mulatto woman, and that this woman, Cynara, Cinnamon, or Cindy, beautiful and brown, gets to tell her story.
Make Believe, by Joanna Scott Little Brown & Co (2000), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 246 pages New. $12.99
Click here to purchase.
Joanna Scott is the author of nine books, including The Manikin, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Various Antidotes and Arrogance, which were both finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award; and the critically acclaimed Make Believe, Tourmaline, and Liberation. This tale is a story of race, class and the playing out of these social states in the lives of family members who fight for custody of a mixed-race child.
Touba and the Meaning of Night (Women Writing the Middle East), by Shahrnush Parsipur The Feminist Press at CUNY (2006), Hardcover, 320 pages New. $15.00
Click here to purchase.
In the character of Touba, an intellectually intrepid and spiritually gifted woman, Shahrnush Parsipur distills eight decades of Iranian history, including the eras of British and Russian colonialism, the reigns of two shahs, the brief period of democracy in the 1950s, which a U.S.-backed coup ended, and the advent of the Islamic Revolution." "From a distinctly Iranian perspective, Touba and the Meaning of Night reveals ongoing tension between rationalism and mysticism, tradition and modernity, male and female, East and West. Speaking in an idiom unique to its author and indicative of a new tradition in Persian women's writing, the epic also defies Western stereotypes of Iranian women and Western expectations of Iranian literary form.
When the Emperor Was Divine, by Julie Otsuka Alfred A. Knopf (2002), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 143 pages New. $15.99
Click here to purchase.
Julie Otsuka's commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any we have ever seen. With crystalline intensity and precision, Otsuka uses a single family to evoke the deracination, both physical and emotional, of a generation of Japanese Americans. In five chapters, each flawlessly executed from a different point of view, the mother receiving the order to evacuate; the daughter on the long train ride to the camp; the son in the desert encampment; the family's return to their home; and the bitter release of the father after more than four years in captivity, she has created a small tour de force, a novel of unrelenting economy and suppressed emotion. Spare, intimate, arrestingly understated, When the Emperor Was Divine is a haunting evocation of a family in wartime and an unmistakably resonant lesson for our times.
Snow Man, by Carolyn Chute Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (1999), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 256 pages New. $6.99
Click here to purchase.
After assassinating a senator in Boston, a wounded militiaman is nursed by the wife and daughter of his next intended victim, another senator. Between bouts of sex with both women, he lectures them on injustices perpetrated on the poor by the rich. By the author of The Beans of Egypt, Maine.
Mistress of the Revolution, by Catherine Delors Dutton Adult (2008), Hardcover, 464 pages New. $12.99
Click here to purchase.
An impoverished noblewoman, Gabrielle de Montserrat is only fifteen when she meets her first love, a commoner named Pierre-André Coffinhal. But her brother forbids their union, forcing her instead to marry an aging, wealthy cousin. Widowed and a mother before the age of twenty, Gabrielle arrives at the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in time to be swept up in the emerging turbulence—and to encounter the man she never expected to see again. Determined and independent, she strives to find her own freedom— as the Revolution takes an ever more violent turn.
Sisterfire: Black Womanist Fiction and Poetry, edited by Charlotte Watson Sherman HarperPerennial (1994), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 378 pages Slightly used, out-of-print in this edition. $19.99
Click here to purchase.
Includes Maya Angelou, Terry McMillan, Alice Walker, Sonia Sanchez, Gloria Naylor, ntozake shange, and J. California Cooper, who join fifty-four other women from the African-American literary scene to lend their voices to the concerns, frustrations, joys, and experiences of Black women today. (Published in 1994.)
Shaking the Tree: A Collection of Fiction and Memoir by Black Women, edited by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah Slightly used, out-of-print in this edition. $12.99
Click here to purchase.
Showcasing the newest generation of black women writers, including ZZ Packer, Edwidge Danticat, and Shay Youngblood, Shaking the Tree gathers twenty-three voices that came of age in the wake of the civil rights, black arts, gay rights, and feminist movements. Their literature embodies the tragedies and triumphs of contemporary black women in their struggle to negotiate a sense of individual identity beyond the limited scope of gender and race.
For Janet Evanovich mystery fans (and those who love them). New hardcovers. Save postage on multiple titles with an order.
Click here select one or more titles to purchase.
Plum Lucky $6.99 Plum Spooky $5.99 ------- Twelve Sharp $8.99 Fearless Fourteen $9.99 Sizzling Sixteen $9.99

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quick Readers: Vintage WWII-era miniature paperbacks

The history of Quick Readers is tied to the history of WWII-era paperback printing and the rise of the paperback book. Royce Publishing Company, then located at 188 W. Randolph Street in Chicago, answered the call to send reading material to soldiers with the "Quick Reader" series. Quick Readers were designed to fit into ditty bags or cargo pockets. They were not part of the official Armed Services Editions created by large publishing houses at the time. Instead, the publisher marketed Quick Readers to customers in the United States who would pass along these titles to soldiers.

Sending books to soldiers was a popular sentiment at the time, as many books printed in the era suggest. Reading was second only to movies as the preferred pastime of soldiers, according to librarians who worked to provide them with books.

Royce began publishing Quick Readers in 1943. Ben Hecht, one of Chicago's own, was featured in two titles. Popular pulp novelists were included, such as Hugh Pentecost (Judson Phillips), along with popular humorists, such as James Thurber and Anita Loos.

In addition, Quick Readers published popular stories made into movies, such as Damon Runyon's  Little Miss Marker and Bringing Up Baby. Hagar Wilde wrote the original story for "Bringing Up Baby," which was first published in Collier's Weekly magazine on April 10, 1937. The story reappeared in book format in Quick Reader 143, Great Comedies Made Into Movies.

Then, as now, titles that promised to titillate were the most popular. The first title in the series is Breath-Taking Stories of Passion and Crime, by Guy de Maupassant, the father of the short story.

Of course, to indicate their high-mindedness, Royce also published abridged versions of the Bible and Webster's Dictionary.

These miniature books measure 4.5" in height and 3" in width. Many are collections of stories or humorous sketches; full novels were abridged to fit the miniature format. All Quick Readers include four-color illustrated covers; stories were also illustrated. These miniature paperbacks were staple bound and printed on World War II-era inexpensive pulp paper. They were not meant to last, unlike hardcover titles.

In a nod (or maybe a wink) to traditional bound books, every title in the series has a tromp d'oeil spine and bottom fore edge as part of the cover illustration (something that McSweeney's Quarterly updated beautifully with their hardcover Issue No. 39 in April, 2011.) Royce published forty-eight Quick Reader titles. Because of their smaller title list and print runs, Quick Readers are less ubiquitous than the Armed Services Edition paperbacks of the era.

Paperbacks intended for the general public began to take hold during the Victorian era in Britain with "yellow-backs" sold at stations along newly-expanding railway lines, and with inexpensive humor, scandal and crime-reporting chapbooks sold in shops. (You can read about some mid-Victorian British paperbacks and their illustrations via this link to a collection in the Lilly Library.)

In 1935, Penguin Books began publishing large print runs of popular, reprinted titles (we'll have some vintage Penguin titles here soon), following the lead of a German publishing firm whose plans were waylaid by the Nazi's rise to power.

In 1939, Simon & Schuster began publishing "Pocket Books," the first paperback imprint in the United States. Like Penguin, these Pocket Books titles were reprints of hardcover titles. (Paperback originals were not published by major publishing companies until the 1950s.) After the development of the Pocket Books imprint, the most important contribution to the rise of the paperback in the United States was the mass distribution of paperback titles to soldiers through the Council on Books in Wartime. This massive paperback publishing campaign began three years after the first paperback book imprint was established in the United States.

"Books are weapons in the war of ideas."

In 1942, authors, booksellers, librarians and publishers founded the non-profit Council on Books in Wartime to provide reading materials for soldiers. The following year, this same group began publishing "Armed Services Editions" of classic and popular titles after the Special Services Division of the Army made arrangements with the Council to purchase 50,000 books. The Council's campaign slogan was "Books are weapons in the war of ideas." Because of this government subsidy, Armed Services Editions were distributed to soldiers for free. This distribution was the largest donation of books in history, including more than 123 million copies of 1,322 individual titles.

Prior to the development of publishing geared toward soldiers, the government had attempted to supply books to troops with the "Victory Book Campaign" that collected donations from citizens via libraries. Unfortunately, the government found, citizens used this as a way to rid themselves of unwanted books and too few titles of interest were among those books collected during the campaign. In addition, hardcover books were too bulky for soldiers in the field, though they were useful in hospital libraries because of a hardcover book's durability. Thus, Armed Services Editions paperbacks came into being. Quick Readers followed with the new popularity and patriotic visibility of inexpensive paperback books. While ASEs were distributed for free to the military, Quick Readers were sold to the public in the United States.

The Council on Books in Wartime held sole rights to a government contract for 50,000 books. They, in turn, placed orders with publishers, many of whom were on the Council. Armed Services Editions were approximately 5.5" long and 3.75" tall. Unlike standard paperbacks, ASEs were staple bound so that they were longer than they were tall. This unusual format came about because publishers could use idle magazine rotary presses between issues and thus save on printing costs by sharing the expense of a printer. Four paperbacks could be printed at a time on a rotary magazine press, stapled, and then cut to size.

You can read more about Armed Services Edition paperbacks here, via a special collections exhibition created in the late 1990s at the University of Virginia.

Royce Publishing Company created its miniature Quick Reader series in 1943, the same year in which the Council on Books in Wartime began their publishing campaign. Following the lead of Pocket Books, Royce's Quick Readers featured four-color illustrated covers for audiences in the United States. In contrast, ASE covers leaned toward the simple graphic style of Penguin paperbacks, with a small copy of the original hardcover title as the sole illustration.

French authors were popular in the United States at this time. The editorial choices for Quick Readers reflect popular tastes as well as the wartime camaraderie with French allies. As is always done in popular culture during any political or military conflict, the choices of villains reflected the sentiments of the nation toward other cultures.

Royce continued to publish through 1946, the same year in which the Council on Books in Wartime campaign was suspended, with the end of fighting in World War II. However, before they ceased publication, Royce Publishing Company created "Trophy Readers" in 1946. This series ended with two books, The Pilditch Puzzle and Smile, Brother, Smile. These titles are slightly larger, approximately 4.5" x 4". Rather than a tromp d'oeil hardbound illustration, Trophy Readers had a faux spiral binding cover illustration.

Trophy Readers

Illustration from The Pilditch Puzzle

While Armed Services Editions carried the imprimatur of the Council organization, Quick Readers did not. Nevertheless, they made their way into ditty bags with the exhortation, as on the back of Hecht's Count Bruga, below, to send these titles to the troops.

The massive paperback book publishing campaign by the Council spurred the era of the 20th century American paperback. The authors, librarians, publishers, and booksellers working at this time encouraged reading while humor and fiction offered soldiers diversions from the toil of war.

The Book Savoury has individual Quick Reader titles for sale, a set of 33 out of 48 Quick Reader titles. You can view titles for sale here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Year in Books: A Reader's View

by R.E. Paris

In which I discuss some interesting titles from 2011, note others, and leave out yet many more worthy of mention among the hundreds of thousands of books published in 2011.

Swerve: How The World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (Norton) is a very readable history of the intellectual inheritance of the Renaissance. Greenblatt shows how that history ties the modern world to the classical one far more than the stages of grief for western civilization that we continue to work through with our medievalist-inclined fellow travelers.

Greenblatt tells the story of a Renaissance book hunter, Poggio Bracciolini, and his 1417 recovery of On the Nature of Things after more than a thousand years of obscurity.

Lucretius’ On The Nature Of Things (re-released by Norton in 2011 with a translation by Frank O. Copley) was an ancient Roman Epicurean poem. Epicureans did not hold a belief in life after death, or a belief in an interventionist God, but did find a belief in atoms might be useful. They held that an appreciation and exploration of this world was reason enough to exist. The dissemination of Lucretius’ work brought the views of the ancient Epicureans to the notice of Italy’s 15th century artistic and scientific culture.

A perfect complement to Greenblatt’s book is Andrew Pettegree’s The Book in the Renaissance (Yale) released in paperback in 2011. Pettegree offers a brief history of the book prior to the Renaissance and moves on to the first 150 years of printing.

Gutenberg’s printing press was an invention on par with the personal computer and the impact upon, or creation of, a unique popular culture in its era was just as great as that of Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster) This biography by Walter Issacson relates a similar “intersection of humanities and science, creating new devices and services that consumers did not know they needed” (or wanted) when first invented.

The increase in access to information is central to Bracciolini’s era and ours. The key to success for the printing press was a move beyond the religious backlist to less expensive titles and more earthly subjects such as those celebrated by Rabelais.

2011 marked the 100th anniversary of Marshall McLuhan. Gingko Press re-released many of his works, including The Medium is the Massage, created in collaboration with Quentin Fiore, with a new cover illustration by Shepard Fairey.

Fifty years after its original publication, University of Toronto Press released a new edition of The Gutenberg Galaxy, McLuhan’s first book that gained him the title “the prophet of the internet.” All your tribal base are belong to us, McLuhan.

The Lilly Library holds a copy of a Gutenberg New Testament on permanent display. It remains a testament to the power of print. The Lilly Library was also the location for much of Charles Shields’ research for And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life, (Henry Holt) the first biography of Indiana’s favorite literary son.

Vonnegut died in 2007, after a year of correspondence with Shields in which Vonnegut noted his early desire to move out of the “genre ghetto.” He need not have worried since the Library of America released Kurt Vonnegut: Novels and Stories 1963-1973 in 2011, with a second collection of stories from 1950-1962 scheduled for release in the spring of 2012.

Vonnegut’s most famous novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, fictionalized his experiences in Germany as a soldier during the bombing of Dresden. Erik Larson’s In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin (Crown) details the experience of William Dodd and his adult children as Dodd moved from Chicago to Berlin to serve as the first U.S. ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in 1933. Dodd saw, firsthand, the mass psychosis that changed the 20th century’s worldview (and led to the beginning of an atomic age beyond Epicurean imagining.)

From There To Modernity

Manning Marable passed from this existence in April of 2011, the same month in which he published Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking) nominated for the National Book Award. Professor Marable was the author of 15 books and served as the Director of Columbia University’s Center for Contemporary Black History.

Marable’s last book tells the story of a soul’s journey with a body’s warts and all. The author looks at missing chapters of Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X and notes Malcolm X’s emerging vision of African-American solidarity across political or religious divides. In addition, Marable ties Malcolm X’s pan-African liberation to the anti-apartheid movement.

Speaking of liberation, though of a different sort, Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade by Justin Spring (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) tells the story of a man who was a crucial part of Alfred Kinsey’s work (whose archives include selections of Steward’s writing and ephemera.) In addition to the bona fides in the book’s title, Steward was a prolific diarist, pornographer, S&M devotee, and young fan who “seduced” Rudolph Valentino.

Like Poggio Bracciolini in his search for part of the untranslated past, Spring went in search of Stewart’s firsthand and mostly unchronicled account of (male) homosexual American life in the mid-20th century and found it in the attic of Stewart’s executor. Secret Historian was a National Book Award Finalist and 2011 winner of the Lambda Literary Award in Biography.

The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael edited by Sanford Schwartz (Library of America) is a small collection of Kael’s reviews. Kael was one of the foremost film critics of the 20th century and the first to win a National Book Award for a book of movie criticism.

She made her reputation in 1967 with a review of the then-controversial Bonnie and Clyde and the reviews in this book cover the decade following this movie. She was Tarantino’s film school. Brian Kellow published Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark (Viking) and explored Kael’s earlier life as a bohemian and single mother and the arguments among critics regarding her work.

A Few Short Subjects

Graphic Novels

Feynman by Jim Ottaviani, illustrated by Leland Myrick (First Second) Feynman was a beautiful soul who showed the world the beautiful soul of physics.

Habibi by Craig Thompson, (Pantheon) A graphic romance in stunning black and white.

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media
by Brooke Gladstone and Josh Neufeld (Norton) brings McLuhan’s ideas to the present.

Moby Dick in Pictures by Matt Kish (Tin House Books) A mixed-media retelling of a classic.


11/22/63 by Stephen King (Scribner) Time travel and the Kennedy assassination.

A Dance With Dragons (the final book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series) by George R. R. Martin (Bantam).

Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (Penguin) A manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library leads a woman to a discovery of her family past.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Crown) The future and the past in a virtual reality wrapped inside a dystopia inside an enigma.

Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, Vol. 1 by Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean) A ten-year retrospective of Kiernan’s work.

The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicles Day 2, by Patrick Rothfuss (Daw) An orphan promises to tell his story in three days.


Audubon Birds of America by John Audubon (Natural History Museum UK) The museum disbound the original book pages to create fresh copies for these prints.

Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer, edited by Peter F. Neumeyer. (Pomegranate) The art of friendship, illustrated.

Gig Posters Volume 2
by Clay Hayes (Quirk Books) includes work from Indiana’s Mile 44 (Stacy Curtis and Dave Windisch).

Pilgrimage by Annie Leibowitz, with Doris Kearnes Goodwin (Random House) Photography.

Savage Beauty: Alexander McQueen by Andrew Bolton, Susannah Frankely, Tim Blanks, Sølve Sundsbø, with a lenticular cover by Gary James McQueen (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information by Manuel Lima (Princeton Architectural Press) Lima is considered one of the most influential thinkers on information visualization.


Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin (Knopf) A National Book Award Finalist, published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of this pivotal moment in American history. History.

Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins, illustrated by Dave McKean (Free Press) Science.

Roots and Blues by Arnold Adoff, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Clarion Books) Poetry. Sights and sounds of American music.

Symphony City by Amy Martin (McSweeney’s) McSweeney's began a series of children’s picture books this year. The dust jacket unfolds into a larger double-sided poster. Picture Book.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (Scholastic Press) Selznick also wrote and illustrated The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Fiction.

Once Upon A Time, The End (or, Fiction)

Harlem Renaissance Novels: The Library of America Collection, edited by Rafia Zafar, is available as a two-book boxed set or individually by decade.

Isabel Wilkerson’s Warmth of Other Suns, the multiple award-winning history released in the fall of 2010, told the story of the great migration of African-Americans from the Jim Crow south to the urban and industrial north. This migration created an urban culture and voice that is the basis for this Harlem Renaissance anthology that includes work from the 1920s and 1930s by luminaries such as Claude McKay, Nella Larsen, Langston Hughes and Jessie Redmon Fauset.

2011 marked many first novels of note and the last, unfinished work from David Foster Wallace with The Pale King (Little, Brown), the tome that will launch a thousand dissertations.

Wallace’s mind was another ”intersection of humanities and science” revealed in beautifully wrought prose concerning an IRS office in Peoria. “Look around you. The horizon trembling, shapeless. We are all of us brothers.”

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) includes a character reminiscent of David Foster Wallace who is part of a love triangle in a story concerned with the death of the love triangle (or marriage plot) as a plot device.

by Haruki Murakami (Knopf) ponders the fate of our future past present and sideways. Aomane climbs up a subway ladder wormhole, in Japan, and finds herself in a-Japan.

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell (Norton) is an updated female Huckleberry Finn story with Annie Oakley as a patron saint. Campbell is a midwestern writer whose fullness of voice demarcates a geographic space. She is also a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow. Read her work.

Open City by Teju Cole (Random House) This meditative walk through New York in the mind of a Nigerian immigrant is this reader’s favorite new fiction title of the year. The elegiac tone and the stream of consciousness other-ness of experience lead to a startling conclusion. This is Cole’s first novel.

More Notable First Novels:

Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (Little, Brown) Baseball and love.

Before I Go To Sleep
by S.J. Watson (Harper) Memory, trust and suspicion.

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai (Viking) A librarian and a reader on the lamb.

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday) A circus arrives, a competition ensues, the stakes are dear.

Swamplandia (Vintage) is Karen Russell’s alligator-wrestling theme park story. Nominated for the Orange Prize.

Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht (Random House) Balkan folklore and family tales.

Notable Local Author & Press Titles for 2011

Four for a Quarter by Michael Martone (Fiction Collective) A narrative derived from four.

Haiti Noir (Akashic Books) Nadine Pinede was anthologized in this collection edited by Edwidge Danticat.

Overbite by Meg Cabot (William Morrow) The second book in the Insatiable Series.

The Ridge by Michael Kortya (Little, Brown) A supernatural thriller involving a cat rescue center.

IU Press began the Break Away book series in 2011. The first two titles are Glimpse Traveler by Marianne Boruch and The Swan by Jim Cohee. The Break Away series features regionally-influenced fiction, memoirs, nonfiction and poetry. Susan Neville and Michael Martone are the series editors.


Bringing the Shovel Down by Ross Gay (University of Pittsburg Press)

Shadows Set in Concrete by JL Kato (Restoration) won the Indiana Center for the Book’s Best Poetry Prize for 2011.


David Baker: A Legacy in Music by Monika Herzig (Indiana University Press) An Indiana musical treasure.

A Home of Her Own by Nancy Hiller (Indiana University Press) Home as a journey through life.

Paradise Kitchen by Daniel Orr (Indiana University Press) The Farm’s chef shares his latest tasty offerings from The Caribbean.

Young Adult Fiction:

What Can(t) Wait by Ashley Hope Perez (Carolrhoda) A girl in the barrio struggles to be the first in her family to attend college. Perez’s next novel, The Knife and the Butterfly, will be released Feb. 2012

XVI by Julia Karr (Penguin) A teenage girl comes of age in a dystopian future. The sequel, Truth, will be released Jan. 2012.

This article originally appeared in The Ryder Magazine, Bloomington's Oldest Magazine of Culture and the Arts. It was re-posted at the Electron Pencil

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Glory Days: Eric Van Gucht talks baseball

Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson, by Timothy M. Gay

Reviewed by Eric Van Gucht

Timothy M. Gay’s saga of barnstorming baseball, Diz, Satch, and Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson, provides readers with an interesting look at the key figures of the barnstorming era- not just Dizzy Dean, Satchel Paige, and Bob Feller, but other journeymen players including Zeke “Banana Nose” Bonura and Negro League stars such as Cool Papa Bell and a fascinating look at the longevity and spirit of Oscar Charleston, one of the premier first basemen.

Many of the contests between Paige and Dean had a feeling of a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition; not coincidentally, Globetrotters founder Abe Saperstein was one of the primary organizers of said barnstorming affairs. Gay shows his flair in these affairs, often concentrating on the “yokel” image of Dizzy and his brother Paul (“Daffy” or “Harpo”) and how Paige was one of baseball’s first- and best- showmen. Gay mentions how Paige named his pitches (i.e. “The Bee Ball,” “Long Tom,” or “Midnight Rider”) and then blew them past Major Leaguers with ease.

A more poignant note is the struggle in those contests - the Negro Leaguers trying to prove they were just as good, and the Major Leaguers trying to save face. Gay also mentions much of the off-field politics, including the bigotry of Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis and the profiteers, such as Ray Doan, who organized many of the Dean-Paige tours of the ‘30s, and scout Cy Slapnicka, who squeezed as much money as he could for Feller to join Cleveland.

After Dean’s career was derailed by injuries, Bob Feller (“Rapid Robert”) becomes more of the focus, and is very enigmatically portrayed- first as a rebel against the system, then as a proponent against reform. His controversial remarks about Jackie Robinson’s talents court controversy, but Feller shouldn’t be castigated for his opinions alone. Gay often paints Feller as the tragic hero, a man whose flaw is not always thinking before he speaks. Of course, for those who know baseball, Feller and Paige became teammates and led the 1948 Cleveland Indians to a World Series Championship, their last to date. One wonders how many more titles Cleveland could have won in Paige had been allowed to play earlier.

Although the narrative is somewhat abstract, the in-depth information about the ballgame provides a compelling backstory to the complicated saga of the barnstorming tours. Fans of the nostalgia of Depression-era baseball garner a better look at the system and how, in the end, the fans truly did win, because those exhibitions showed the best of the best in their primes. As Dizzy Dean would say, it’s all about “sludding into third.”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Local Authors: Monika Herzig and Nancy Hiller

by R.E. Paris

Two of the most notable local publications for the holiday season, from Indiana University Press, are Nancy Hiller’s A Home Of Her Own and Monika Herzig’s David Baker: A Legacy in Music. Both authors are local women who contribute to Bloomington and the world through their own work as artists and educators. Both take on subjects who move from the interiority of social convention to the freedom to create and define their own worlds.

Hiller’s title is a nod to Virginia Woolf’s famous essay about the need for women to have a room of their own in which to find and maintain their individual voices. It’s underscored by an introduction that draws upon Jane Campion’s Ada McGrath from “The Piano,” a woman who dares “…to follow one’s will resolutely, in defiance of cultural bounds…,” and who “…gives rare voice to the conflicting pulls we all feel….”

For Hiller, a home created by and for a woman is an act of defiance, a statement that this home, as it exists (as well she who has created it) is sufficient unto itself no matter whether it is “finished,” no matter its size, age or social status, no matter the personality that it expresses.

Bloomington-based photographer Kendall Reeves provides stunning images, using high dynamic range photography to illustrate the stories of 18 women and homes. Photographs include full-page and two-page spreads as well as detailed sidebars. The homes that Reeves photographs cover a range in styles, as do the narratives of the women.

Hiller writes with lyric grace about a subject with which she is well acquainted. She works as a professional cabinetmaker, is the owner of a design firm, and has restored her own home. While the women and homes profiled are from around the nation, several of the stories are based upon local residences. In these, Hiller’s history of past owners and the eras in which they lived connects these homes and individual stories to the larger story of other women’s places within them through changing times.

Monika Herzig’s biography of David Baker is also a collaboration of voices, with contributions from musicians and educators whose experiences within their disciplines help to define the importance of Baker’s life and work.

This biography demonstrates why the Jacobs School of Music is a world-renowned institution. Its faculty and students give to the Bloomington community through their sharing of various musical forms in live performance and educational outreach.

If you know about Hoagy Carmichael but you don’t know about David Baker, you need to read this book. Indianapolis-born Baker’s contributions to the world of music and music education are pivotal to the progression of jazz as a discipline in the 20th Century.

As JB Dyas writes, “…in the 1970s, [Baker’s] and a few others’ were the only books available demystifying the secrets of how to play this music. Before that, it was basically ‘you either had it or you didn’t,’ meaning you either had the talent to learn strictly by ear from the records of jazz musicians, or you were out of luck. Virtually no comprehensive systematic method existed. Until David Baker.”

David Baker is not a traditional music biography that simply name-checks and narrates stages of work, losses and redemption, although it does include riffs on Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Wes Montgomery, Thelonius Monk, institutional racism, and a life-changing injury. Herzig’s biography serves as an archive of influence and artistry. She has included a CD with the book that allows her to discuss Baker’s musical contributions while readers listen to specific songs.

Herzig is singularly qualified for this job. She is a jazz musician herself and an IU faculty member. Something that is often lacking in books about musicians is a direct discussion of how their music was technically important or innovative. Herzig provides such discussions throughout the book and includes other musicians’ experience, such as 21st Century Bebop Band member Luke Gillespie’s introduction to Baker’s polyrhythmic improvisation. “…when it is time for [Baker’s] solo on a tune in three… he plays in two. That is his signature…the first time I heard him do that…we were all students…we all started to play in two and David…turned around to say, ‘Stay home, stay home. Don’t go with me. Stay home!’ …He made us reflect and try to really get inside the music more…”

This book accomplishes the same goal.

While the subjects are different, these two Indiana University Press books by and about local artists demonstrate the depth of talent in this community and a willingness to share these gifts with the world.

And isn’t that what holidays are all about?

(This article originally appeared in The Ryder Magazine and was reposted at Electron Pencil.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Doubleday Vintage Paperbacks / Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey was the art director for a new line of Doubleday paperbacks started in 1953. He worked in this position until 1960. Around 50 of the covers during this period were line drawings by Gorey. Lafcadio's adventures, or Les caves du Vatican was Gorey's first book in this series.

In addition to line drawings, Gorey created the typography for many titles that were illustrated by Leonard Baskin, Robert Vickrey, Kitao Shigemasa, and/or designed by Diana Klemin, Seong May, and Joseph P. Ascherl.

Gorey designed covers for paperback lines at other publishing houses, as well.

Read: Those Gorey Covers! to learn more.

Here are some current Book Savoury Gorey-era Doubleday titles.

in libraries, in books

in libraries, in books is a photo-essay for book and ephemera lovers.