Monday, November 22, 2010

Decisions, Decisions - What's a Montana Bibliophile to do?

It is time for new plates on the vehicle in my new state, and there are actually a few choices for the discerning bibliophile. The standard plate is nice and simple, which I like for a standard plate. However, for a bibliophile who can't practically drive a bookmobile (*at this time*), it's nice to personalize the wheels a little to tell strangers how much I love books.

The first is of a grandma in a chair reading to two kids. This plate supports something to do with old fogeys. I mean that in the nicest possible way, perhaps even nicer. I do like this a lot. Is it the only license plate to feature someone reading? The next is a little ho-hum from the Montana libraries. Open book with the state as a cover. Not bad, but a little boring. The last supports the Montana Newspaper Association, and features a printing press! A little hard to see, but I think it's a Washington hand press, which if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I love newspaper history and printing presses too. That leaves us with quite the quandary... What do you think? Which would you choose?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chronicle Haul-iday Contest

I love Chronicle Books. I have for a long time. You know, Chronicle's work. They are probably the best publisher in the US at putting a book in your hands (they leap into mine!) and fill the book lover with greed. Deep seated desire to have a beautiful shelf filled with their lovely, lovely books.

So, when Chronicle announced a $500 shopping spree to a blogger and the same $500 for one of their readers.... well, I just couldn't let that slide by! That, and they are constantly publishing wonderful and beautiful books.

So dear readers, I post what my $500 binge at Chronicle would look like. Leave a comment to enter the contest with me and maybe we'll both win BIG! That's right. If I win, a random commenter will be selected by Chronicle to win the same haul! If you like my selections (heck, even if you only like a few) leave a comment. If I do win, I'll also give away a great prize of some kind to everyone who comments! I'm not entirely sure what that is at this point, but it'll be all kinds of bibliophile win. Must be 18 and in the US to win, yada, yada, yada.

My List:

Let's Bring Back. I say this all the time and would like to see what made their list. My list: Dinner Clubs, liveried drivers, bow ties, men wearing hats in public (ball caps excluded), beautiful office equipment, Thanksgiving (the holiday and common courtesy), uniforms for US Postal Service letter carriers, penmanship, Chautauquas, and home milk delivery. I'm sure I have more, crankier things as well. Maybe I shouldn't get this book since it may only make me mad.

Catalog: The Illustrated History of Mail Order Shopping. Do I really need to justify this in any way shape or form? What is not to love? I love all kinds of historical ephemera, and I know, because it was published with Chronicle involved, it'll be GORGEOUS.

Taking things Seriously: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance. As a museum pro, I have to check this out. It's true that often really mundane looking things can mean a lot. When I was at a museum in Oklahoma we had a really beat up old podium and someone had taken a cheap clock and used the frame for an image of the seal for the President of the United States. It looked like a prop for a play. It was in fact the podium used (as is!) the one time JFK came to Oklahoma and made a speech dedicating a highway to a buddy of his.

More Things Like This. It's from McSweeney's! Who doesn't need this? And don't smart off and say "People who already own a copy." because that just isn't true. People who own a copy want another, and I know it.

The Englishman Who Posted Himself and other curious objects. Sure the title is ponderous, but it's the story of one Reginald Bray who decided to test the limits of the well-meaning Postal Service of the UK. Why do I want it? I can be rather trying to some folks patience, but I'm also (usually) just having some fun.

Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It. Having lived in some areas that had interesting history in the "What Might Have Been" file, I'd love to learn more about it in other parts of the country. After all, had I not lived in Oklahoma, I certainly would have never known about the US State of Sequoia!

The Marvelous Museum: Orphans, Curiosities & Treasures. Another book about museums! Hooray! This one by an artist who examines the use, function, and purpose of museums. Sounds very interesting.

Art Deco Bookbindings: The Work of Pierre Legrain and Rose Adler. Want, want, want. I may have seen some of these in an online exhibition, but I don't remember. By default Chronicle = Awesome, so I know this will be a welcome addition.

Pictorial Webster's: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities. This is actually a collection of the wonderful, tiny engravings featured in Webster's dictionaries through the 19th century. I've always thought a collection like this would make fabulous wallpaper, especially in a bathroom. Why? No idea. It'd just be cool. Like the old table tops at Wendy's with the old random advertising on them.

Posters for the People: Art of the WPA. I have long loved the art of the WPA and other New Deal work programs. There is a ton of fascinating stories that have come out of this time and these efforts.

The Handy Book of Artisitc Printing: A Collection of Letterpress Examples with Specimens of Type, Ornament, Corner Fills, Borders, Twisters, Wrinklers, and other Freaks of Fancy. I have wanted this book for a long time. It feels like a long time at least because I've wanted it so bad. There are some AMAZING rarities in this book. Just phenomenal. I believe the original title for this was going to be Freaks of Fancy, which I vastly prefer to the current one, but still... look at it! Beautiful.

The Cloud Collector. Ok, I never knew I needed this book until I saw it on the Chronicle website. I love the concept of being a cloud watcher the way some people are bird watchers. I am one of those obnoxious people who is checks the forecast everyday and actually takes an interest in hearing what the weather is like in the next county over. You could say I'm a fan of weather.

By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design and Classic Book Jackets: The Design Legacy of George Salter. These two will be loved around here. Heck, even at the office where I have to do more and more publication design on the fly. That, and because they are from Chronicle you know they'll be wonderful.

OK, so I may have gone over my $500 limit at this point. To be honest, I got so wrapped up and book drunk I don't know what my running total was.

I double checked-- My total comes in at $437

OK readers, now it is your turn. LEAVE A COMMENT and be automatically entered to win this $500 deluge of beautiful books from Chronicle Books. How can you go wrong?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New, for Ephemera Lovers

I've admitted before that I love ephemera too, and I believe every book collection can be enhanced by including ephemera. There are some great ephemera focused sites already "out there", but there is one I've rather selfishly kept to myself, mostly out of envy of the site owner. Unlike my blog, his site is clean and organized and has amazing, fresh content several times a week. The blog owner, Saul, even has a mission statement (the organized, purposeful so-and-so):

"This site is devoted to the identification, preservation, publicizing, and study of ephemeral publications that provide more-nuanced pictures of American culture and life. Because intended to aid scholars as well as collectors, this site focuses on artifacts preserving obscure information and imagery. (It excludes already-familiar ephemera such as posters, labels, comic books, and most cards). The main feature of this site is a gallery of images chosen for their aesthetic and/or documentary value. "
So, if you're not already following Ephemera Studies, go check it out! And come right back!