Sunday, July 10, 2011

New oddities

I love the simple style of the silver type on the basic brown jacket. The commonplace book is one of those items rarely seen or used today but this gorgeous 'notebook' jointly done by Cabinet Books and Proteotypes. $14

Trinity University Press is located in San Antonio, TX and most of the books they publish are Texas history and culture titles. However, when they publish more general books they are, as a rule, awesome. One of my all-time favorites, Peter Turchi's "Maps of the Imagination" was published by them in 2004. They also published a collection entitled "Home Ground" which includes line drawings, quotations and descriptions of American landscape. The newest one of theirs to strike my fancy is "Aelian's On the Nature of Animals" $15.95. Claudius Aelianus died sometime around 235. I have to admit to knowing nothing about him before seeing this book. His collected opinions on animals are part fancy and lore and part early science or nature writing.

The bookplate is another facet of book life that has faded out of usage. "Ex Libris: The Art of Bookplates"(Yale University Press $15) is a little, sweet, taste of some of the fine art we're missing out on. It comes with 100 plates and has nice french flaps on the jacket. I admit to having bought a copy of Dos Passos' "1919" solely for the old bookplate in it.

All three of these books are fairly priced and beautifully made books published by independent presses.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Interesting thoughts on Indies from St. Louis

A rep friend of ours posted this on his Facebook page last week and I read it over and found myself agreeing with it nearly completely. I don't know Jarek Steele but he deals, honestly and fairly to my mind, with the difficult issue of vanity publishing and indie publishing. Many times I've thought about addressing this same issue here but have never figured out a way to find the right tone. Not condescending or sarcastic but true to the real problems almost all of these books cause for bookstores.

Maybe the most interesting piece of the puzzle is the back and forth in the comments section. This is clearly something that lots of people feel strongly about.

In the spirit of celebrating some under the radar indie published books I'll highlight three new titles in my next post and focus on one press, Akashic Books, that is doing very well for itself right now.