In "An Edwardian Package Holiday," Kirsty Hooper mentions the role that "lively representations" in illustrated travel books such as Spain Revisited: A Summer Holiday in Galicia and A Corner of Spain played in promoting northwest Spain to British tourists (more here). Many other richly illustrated travel books from the same period are available online, perhaps most notably the "Beautiful England" and "Beautiful Ireland" series published by Blackie & Son and the wide variety of titles published by A & C Black. [more inside]
The Subtle Genius of Elena Ferrante’s Bad Book Covers by Emily Harnett [The Atlantic] With their sandy beaches and windswept women, the U.S. editions of Elena Ferrante’s novels look familiar even if you’ve never seen them. That’s because they look like virtually every other book authored by a woman these days—not to mention like bridal magazines, beach-resort brochures, and even “Viagra ads.” On Twitter and beyond, readers have described Ferrante’s covers as “horrible,” “atrocious,” “utterly hideous,” and as a “disservice” to her novels. At Slate, one commenter approvingly mentions a local bookstore’s decision to display one of Ferrante’s books in plain brown paper, reviving a practice used for Playboy and the infamous issue of Vanity Fair with a pregnant Demi Moore on the cover. The implication, of course, isn’t that Ferrante’s covers are obscene in the traditional sense—just obscenely bad. Previously.
“I still think you could do something that no one has ever done before.” - the story of Kit Williams and Masquerade, a children's book of illustrations that also served as clue to the location of a golden hare, and, despite an ignoble end to the competition, kicked off a crazy off treasure hunting books and videogames in 1980s Britain.
Recovering the Classics is a crowdsourced collection of original covers for 100 great works in the public domain, designed to increase interest and access to classics in e-book format. [more inside]
Shoemaking (the job of a cordwainer) is a very particular blend of artistry and science. Here are some masters at work: Emiko Matsuda at Foster & Son; artisans at Saint Crispin's; and at Paul Parkman. [more inside]
What books should a critic own? "Each week, the National Book Critics Circle will post a list of five books a critic believes reviewers should have in their libraries." Here are all the lists, from 2007-2011. [more inside]
Books in the films of Wes Anderson - a video essay.
The Book Graphics blog collects thousands of gorgeous covers and illustrations, with special emphases on Russian artists, fairy tales, and antiquarian books.
Famous scenes from R-rated films, done in a children's book style by Josh Cooley, an artist at Pixar.
"Bracket bolts the book open to the page 'LIFE, WITHOUT BIRTH AND WITHOUT END, EMITTING LIGHT!'"
A collection of tampered-with books for sale.
A collection of tampered-with books for sale.
Do you have good eyesight and a steady hand? How about a grown-up dot-to-dot picture to pass the time? Thomas Pavitte is the author of not only the 1000 Dot to Dot Portrait book but the 1000 Dot to Dot Cities Book (video), the 1000 Dot to Dot Animals Book (video), and various others including the Mona Lisa. (free download)
Maria Popova on the story, art, and universal truths of this year's best books for kids. [more inside]
The images vary widely, but they tend to be very strange and even disturbing—overt sexual acts, defecation, monsters, human-monster hybrids, animals acting like humans. There’s also examples of clergy behaving very badly, the sort of thing you would not expect to see in the margins of a sacred book.Kaitlin Manning of B & L Rootenberg Rare Books and Manuscripts talks to Collector's Weekly (previously) about the exquisitely detailed religious texts surrounded by all manner of illustrated commentary, known today as marginalia.
In his new book Ciphers, German photographer Christopher Gielen (previously) reveals haunting images of our endlessly repetitive development through aerial views of American urban sprawl. [more inside]
Corpus Libris. Books and bodies.
If it weren't for the 1976 Copyright Act, copyright on work would expire after 56 years - which would have meant that Kerouac's On The Road, the original 12 Angry Men, and Elvis's All Shook Up would be public domain by today.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim offer 474 free art books online. 99 art catalogs from the Guggenheim. 375 MetPublications. An example: Masterpieces of Painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art [more inside]
In February 1963, a new publication took advantage of the New York City printers strike and launched with a daring editorial: It does not, however, seek merely to fill the gap created by the printers’ strike in New York City but to take the opportunity which the strike has presented to publish the sort of literary journal which the editors and contributors feel is needed in America. The New York Review of Books is now 50. [more inside]
Although best known for iconic photographs of his Weimaraner dogs, artist William Wegman is also a painter. While Wegman's combined the two before, recently painting atop commercial travel postcards, he's just published Flo & Wendell, a children's storybook illustrated by dog photos painted over to tell a whimsical tale. Images and review (LA Times); video (YouTube).
Books with borax crystals growing on them. Artist Alexis Arnold grows crystals on the pages of books.
Ellen Raskin (1928-1984) is best known as a writer, author of The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I mean Noel) and the Newbery Award-winning The Westing Game. But she always considered herself an artist first. Raskin designed over 1,000 book covers, including the iconic original cover of A Wrinkle In Time, the edition of Dubliners you probably read in college, and the New Directions edition of a Child's Christmas in Wales (Raskin did the woodcuts on the inside, too; further appreciation here.) More Raskin covers are collected in this flickr set from Bennington College. [more inside]
Skeleton doodles, crappy D's, cat hats, embroidered book repair, dentistry, and a duck going queck, from the tumblr of Erik Kwakkel, a medieval book historian at Leiden University.
Finnegans Wake, Joyce's famously unreadable masterpiece (read it online here), was considerably more readable in one of its earlier drafts. Watch Joyce cross out decipherable words and replace them with less decipherable ones! Watch him end, not with a whimper, but with a slightly less impressive whimper! Sadly, Shem's schoolbook, which in the finished version is a House of Leaves-esque compendium of side columns and footnotes, was not written until much later (according to the footnotes of that section). The introduction to this draft by David Hayman, who assembled it, is worth a read.
Sunday, April 28, would have been Roberto Bolaño's 60th birthday. The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona is holding an event that day, in conjunction with their recent exhibit of Bolaño's archive, to celebrate the life and work of the writer. Or if you're not in Barcelona, the celebration is #DiaBolaño on twitter. [more inside]
Proudly Fraudulent: [The Awl] An Interview With MoMA's First Poet Laureate, Kenneth Goldsmith. [Previously] [Previously]
Dreams of Space. A blog featuring art from non-fiction children's space flight books 1945-1975. Lots of great graphics, from the realistic to the now fanciful. I must also point out the wonderful Czech pop-up book and A Trip to Outer Space With Santa.
Brain Pickings presents the Best Design Books of 2012. Because you weren't really going to get anything done today anyway, right? [more inside]
Nineteen year old Jade Phillips creates images of foxes by marking up pages from old text books and re-assembling them. More of her work is available on Flickr and her own blog.
A few days ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art published online 368 full text titles also downloadable as pdfs. They range from major exhibition catalogues such as the 1983 Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomical Drawings from the Royal Library or the 1992 Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain, exhaustive lists of holdings (European Post-Medieval Tapestries and Related Hangings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Volumes I and II), art books like Degas: The Artist's Mind or The Great Wave: The Influence of Japanese Woodcuts on French Prints, facsimile editions such as The Cloisters Apocalypse: An Early Fourteenth-Century Manuscript, social history titles covering subjects such as fashion or dance, technical manuals for those wanting to know how The Care and Handling of Art Objects works and much, much more.
Romance novel covers are a frequent subject of ridicule. But they have also featured highly talented illustrators like Alan Ayers, Pino Daeni, Elaine Gignilliat, Phil Heffernan, and Albert Slark. [more inside]
They were alive and they spoke to me! That is the simplest and most eloquent way in which I can refer to those authors who have remained with me over the years. - Henry Miller, The Books In My Life [more inside]
Historical versions of Aesop's fables - text and pictures - collected by Laura Gibbs. She gives thousands of historic texts in English, Latin, and Greek, but even better, has Flickr sets of the historic illustrations (that page is sorted by artist) from editions by Rackham, Caldecott, and other artists going back to the 1400s. [more inside]
Ever since something was invented to replace it, people have been predicting the end of the book: The Death Of The Book Through The Ages [more inside]
Swann Galleries is Photographs, Posters, Prints & Drawings, Books, Maps, Autographs, and African-American Fine Art. Served daily. Also. [more inside]
Spider Women. The animal illustration of Eileen Mayo. Book Week. Animals on Bikes. Alphabet Soup 1, Alphabet Soup 2. Steinlen's Cats. Let's Dance. Cats in Advertisements. Art Deco Animals. Jacques Hnizdovsky's prints. Emmanuelle Houdart's creatures. Turn of the century bird illustrations. [more inside]
simply read Finnegans Wake. Since it is said to make more sense when recited aloud, you could start with this recording of James Joyce performing a passage from the "Anna Livia Plurabelle" section - which has been described as "one of the most beautiful prose-poems in English". [more inside]
Ten gorgeous buildings made out of books. More views of some of them: Scanner — Book igloo — Tower of Babel — Cadiff/Miller — Argument (with other book structures). Want to build your own? Order books by the yard from various outlets, some quite pricy, others more affordable: BookDecor, Half Price Books Outlet.
In December 1974, there was a memorial service at St. James Episcopal Church on Madison Avenue for Louise Fitzhugh, author and illustrator of Harriet the Spy, the groundbreaking children's novel that has sold 2.5 million copies since its publication in 1964. [more inside]
recto|verso is a place where the staff of F.A. Bernett Books showcase some of the more spectacular, interesting, unusual and puzzling items they have come across. Discoveries of note include: Both Sides of Broadway, Then and Now, a building-by-building sequential photographic survey of the most famous street in America. The most influential graphic arts publication of late-1920s Tokyo, Gendai Shogyo Bijutsu Zenshu. Felix Vallotton’s Reinvention of the Woodcut, credited by many art historians of his time (and ours) as having modernized and revitalized the form in Western art. [more inside]