November 03, 2009
It took a while, but I’ve finally added my photos from the Frankfurt Book Fair to flickr. Take a look.
And last week TeleRead published my report on e-readers at the fair, so take a peek at that, too.
If you don’t follow me on twitter, then you missed my tweet about yesterday’s Please Explain, which was all about type and typography. Fairly basic stuff, but still fun to listen to! Thanks to Toni for sharing.
October 26, 2009
I’ve been inspired to try out a new kind of post. It may or may not be a regular thing, but I’m interested in comparing US and UK covers of the same book. I’m especially curious to see if there’s an overall pattern, but that will take some time to decide (and it won’t be scientific). The inspiration comes from Pop Culture Junkie’s Hardcover vs. Paperback series and Wondrous Reads’ US Vs UK feature. Normally I’d be loathe to do something other bloggers are already doing, but I’m pretty sure we won’t be covering the same books, not to mention I’ll likely only include books I’ve read or own. Which brings us to our first book…
World-renowned China specialist Victor H. Mair teams up with Erling Hoh to tell the story of tea and its uses from ancient times to the present, from East to West. Ancient Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Persian and Arabic annals have been thoroughly consulted and the result takes the reader from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the fabled tea and horse trade of Central Asia, from Britain’s love affair with tea to the ‘tea party’ that sparked the American Revolution.
When trying to find a link for that prior post, I came across the US version. I’m 95% certain I wouldn’t have purchased the book if it had the US cover. So now you know which one I prefer. You?
October 23, 2009
Should I post reviews of children’s books here at fade theory, on a separate blog, or both? These will be books chosen both for their writing and illustration. Books anyone can appreciate (not just kids). And no ugly books allowed.
Also, shall I resume the Friday Artist series? If so, I’ll need your help with finding cool artists to feature.
October 22, 2009
As mentioned in a prior post, I picked up eight books for me and 13 books for Massimo at the Frankfurt Book Fair. They are (in no particular order):
There’s nothing funny about design by David Barringer (Princeton Architectural)
The Good Doctor Guillotin by Marc Estrin (Unbridled Books)
Type & Typography: Highlights from Matrix, the review for printers & bibliophiles (Mark Batty)
The True History of Tea by Victor H. Mair & Erling Hoh (Thames & Hudson)
Lettering & Type by Bruce Willen and Nolen Strals (Princeton Architectural)
The Magic of Small Spaces (fitway)
Wallpaper* City Guide London 2010(Phaidon)
Wallpaper* City Guide Stockholm (Phaidon)
So, some people might not consider those last two to be books, but they’re bound, contain text, and sit on my bookshelf, so they count.
ABC by Peter Blake (Tate)
Miffy the Artist by Dick Bruna (Tate)
Bob & Co. by Delphine Durand (Tate)
Timmy the Tug by Jim Downer and Ted Hughes (Thames & Hudson)
Mr Peek and the Misunderstanding at the Zoo by Kevin Waldron (Templar)
I know a lot of things by Ann & Paul Rand (Chronicle Books)
Hippo! No, Rhino! by Jeff Newman (Little, Brown)
Alex and Lulu: Two of a Kind by Lorena Siminovich (Templar)
Let Freedom Sing by Vanessa Newton (Blue Apple)
Shapes That Roll by Karen Nagel and Steve Wilson (Blue Apple)
Lilliput 5357 by Stefan Czernecki (Simply Read Books)
Kid Made Modern by Todd Oldham (AMMO)
The Red Shoes by Sun Young Yoo and Gloria Fowler (AMMO)
There were a number of books from Tate, AMMO, and Mark Batty that I wasn’t able to get (either because they ran out or because I couldn’t shoulder the weight), so I suppose I’ll have to order them. Oh, well. In all, I spent 120€ on 290€+ worth of books. Not bad!
October 21, 2009
The Frankfurt Book Fair was HUGE. I think it would have taken me two weeks to see everything, so the 2.5 days I spent there definitely weren’t enough. But they were more than my shoulders and feet could handle. I thought I had chosen comfortable shoes, but it turns out they’re only comfortable to a point (and it was my first time exceeding that point). When I first arrived, I scoffed at the people walking around with their little wheeled suitcases at the fair. By day 2, I was envious. (A) A shoulder bag can only hold so many books and (B) my shoulders can only handle so much weight. There were a number of great books I just couldn’t take with me, but I am happy with the ones I brought home. Eight for me, 13 for Massimo. Hey, can I help it if kids books are lighter? This week, I plan to write a bit about the fair (the people I met, the books I got, the coolest stands, etc.). I would have been writing all along, except wireless internet at the fair was pricey (as in, “holy cow that’s a lot”) and the friends we stayed with don’t have internet at home (didn’t know I had such friends, honestly). I’ve got photos, too. Stay tuned.
Comments (2) | Tags: books, design, Frankfurt, Frankfurt Book Fair, Germany, messe, publishing, reading
October 12, 2009
The New Yorker has a humor piece on the current state of book marketing called Our Marketing Plan. My favorite line:
“We can send you a list of bookstores in your area once you fill out the My Local Bookstores list on your Author’s Questionnaire.”
I’ve never worked for a big publisher, but in the case of Unbridled Books, we have a marketing staff of four and publish 4-6 frontlist titles per season. If we were a daycare, that would be an awesome ratio. Turns out, it’s pretty awesome in publishing, too.
The 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair takes place this week. I’m sad to be missing the Tools of Change conference that takes place at the fairgrounds tomorrow, and the Society of Young Publishers event that takes place on Wednesday, but there will still be plenty for me to do when I arrive on Thursday. I can’t wait! I’ve already created a list of stands to be sure to visit (which I’ll share in another post). I noticed that most of them are in Hall 4.1, which made perfect sense once I figured out that’s the Art Hall.
Anyway, while I do plan to blog about the fair (here and on the Unbridled Books’ blog), I’ll mostly be tweeting. I’ve already started my #fbf09 (that’s the twitter hashtag) tweeting: @fadetheory and @unbridledbooks. Fred Ramey (@fredramey), co-publisher/co-editor at UBB, will also be at Frankfurt, but he has tons of meetings and likely won’t have much time for twitter.
So, who’s going? And will I see you at the #fbftweetup (Hall 8.0 Std L993, Thurs 15th Oct at 5:30pm aka 17.30)?
August 27, 2009
In two weeks I’m heading to Paris for a few days, then on to Malaga (Spain) for about a week, and then to Barcelona for a few more days before returning to Tallinn. I have some ideas on things to do, but am always appreciative of others who share their advice.
In Paris, I want to have a really good bowl of soupe a l’oignon (but where?). And I’m seriously considering dropping a couple hundred bucks on a lunch by myself at Alain Passard’s L’Arpège (a 3 starred Michelin, mostly vegetarian restaurant). And of course I’ll be stopping in to see Shakespeare & Co. I also plan to check out Repetto for a pair of ballet flats (or possibly heals).
In Malaga, we’ll be staying with family, so that will be our “relaxing at the beach” time. I’m also considering a day trip to Morocco.
Our time in Barcelona will be mostly devoted to Gaudí, but I have no idea yet where to eat.
Thoughts? Comments? And especially, suggestions?
August 24, 2009
I’ve lived in Europe for three years now. In 2006, I was still settling in during October. In 2007, I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy. In 2008, Massimo was too young. But THIS YEAR, I’m going to the Frankfurt Book Fair! Of course my desire to go long precedes 2006, but it definitely became a more realistic endeavor since moving here. I’ve already purchased my plane ticket, and we’ll be staying with friends nearby so I can take the quick train in to the fair while Stefano and Massimo hang with our friends and their twin boys. I haven’t sorted out my fair tickets yet, but there’s still time. And I am oh so thrilled about going!! If you’re going, do let me know so we can meet up. Someone on twitter already mentioned to me that the water for sale at the fair is really expensive so I should bring my own. Helpful tip, that. If you’ve been before and have advice for a newbie, please share!
P.S. Beer recommendations are also welcome.
Comments (5) | Tags: book fairs, books, Europe, Frankfurt, Frankfurt Book Fair, Germany, publishing
August 21, 2009
I stole this post from Brandon over at Bookstorm. Thanks!!
I finished the opening chapter of Gabriel García Márquez’s Living to Tell the Tale, and I’m enjoying the book’s strange, biblical quality. Aracataca, García Márquez’s birthplace, could be a modern Eden, after God kicked Adam and Eve out–it’s a place that’s beautiful, ugly, and forsaken:
When my grandfather tried to awaken the family’s enthusiasm with the fantasy that the streets were paved with gold there, Mina had said: “Money is the devil’s dung.” For my mother it was the kingdom of all terrors. The earliest one she remembered was the plague of locusts that devastated the fields while she was still very young. “You could hear them pass like a wind of stones,” she told me when we went to sell the house. The terrorized residents had to entrench themselves in their rooms, and the scourge could be defeated only by the arts of witchcraft.
In any season we could be surprised by dry hurricanes that blew the roofs off houses and attacked the new banana crop and left the town covered in astral dust. In summer terrible droughts vented their rage on the cattle, or in winter immeasurable rains fell that turned the streets into turbulent rivers. The gringo engineers navigated in rubber boats among drowned mattresses and dead cows. The United Fruit Company, whose artificial systems of irrigation were responsible for the unrestrained waters, diverted the riverbed when the most serious of the floods unearthed the bodies in the cemetery.
August 20, 2009
This is the second post for the ftbc discussion of Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel García Márquez. Many thanks to Toni for taking the time to write it! And kudos to her for adding the accents to Gabo’s name. Sometimes I’m too lazy to do that. If you have a post you’d like to contribute, please email me at theorist at fadetheory dot com.
When talking about why particular books influenced him, Trappist monk Thomas Merton once said, “They have helped me to discover the real meaning of my life.” I read this in a book a few days ago while on a seven-day retreat at a Trappist monastery in Conyers, Georgia. My room was on the second floor of the guesthouse, with a single window overlooking the monks’ six-row by eight-grave cemetery, only recently increased to a seventh row by one grave. A library on the same floor well stocked with Merton books served to draw me from my room and rather situational preoccupation with mortality and ultimate silence. It was there in a wide-seated, cabernet-colored leather armchair under dim lamplight that I happened upon Merton’s insight on reading and meaning. I thought of his own books, those of other writers with timeless stories, including the creative work of Gabriel (“Gabo”) García Márquez, whose autobiography I read last month, seeing yet another thread as essential to unlocking meaning: The act of writing itself.
It is by writing our stories, whether real or imagined, that we begin a process of listening. We become spelunkers of the nooks and crannies of our mind, exploring its keepings and discovering kernels of meaning useful to making sense of where we have been and where we might be going. This is what Gabo had to do to give us Living to Tell the Tale. By sharing episodes from his personal history, Gabo lets us in on where he has been. We may already know his destination, but it sure is satisfying to learn of it again in a richer way thanks to a nonfiction style of writing that reads like fiction.
Yes, Gabo writes the stuff we like to read, the stuff we like to listen to and discover meaning significant to us in some way. But how does he do it? There is no doubt that every doer of good writing has a faithful tutelary demon or two. For Gabo, two such demons were Southern writer William Faulkner and Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío. Both writers nourished the seedbed of his vocation and assisted, by way of technical inspiration, the exorcism of persistent visions through stories. The fantastic storytellings Gabo heard as a child left their footprint in images, and it was through the act of writing that they were given freedom to speak their universal truths. When we listen to them, our own life’s true meaning might surprise us.
August 18, 2009
As mentioned previously, this week we’re discussing the first four chapters of Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. We’ll have a few guest posts, but I’m kicking things off. I’m hoping people will chime in, even if they haven’t read the book!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the role writing plays in my life. It began those weeks ago when I started reading Living to Tell the Tale, but it wasn’t until I came across this quote from Elie Wiesel (which I’ve been attributing incorrectly to Proust all week) that it’s entirely captured my thoughts: “Write only if you cannot live without writing.” My first reaction was, “Well, I’ve barely written this past year and I’ve survived. I guess I shouldn’t write.” But as I pondered it further, I realized that even though the first part of that reaction is true (I’ve survived), I haven’t been happy about not writing. I need to write. Even if no one reads it; even if it sucks. I can’t imagine my life without writing (and I suppose I could mean a few things by that).
Perhaps that is why Living to Tell the Tale began so perfectly for me – with Gabriel defending and standing firm in his decision to be a writer, in spite of his parents’ protests. He was still young at the time (in his early 20s) and his defense fell on deaf ears until an old friend of the family explained, “It is something that one carries inside from the moment one is born, and opposing it is the worst thing for one’s health” (p. 33). This book, at least the first half, shares the story of GGM’s childhood all the while showing how he was destined to be a writer. As with his novels, the story moves from place to place to place and there is a huge cast of characters, but the reader never loses the main thread. He’s living his life, doing all the things children and teenagers do (well, maybe sex with a prostitute isn’t a typical teen activity, but let’s leave that for another post), and all the while becoming a writer.
I actually only shared the first part of Elie Wiesel’s quote. He continues, “Write only what you alone can write.” And isn’t that exactly what GGM has done? Living to Tell the Tale might be a work of non-fiction (as much as a memoir can be non-fiction), but anyone who has read his novels immediately recognizes GGM’s own story in them. He has written what he alone can write. And as only he can write. Similar to Faulkner, he’s created a world that doesn’t exist, but I’ve been there. I’ve even lived there for a few weeks. And it’s a place I want to visit again.
I think I’d be pretty pleased to be even 1/1000th of the writer GGM is. (From my blog to God’s eyes, to rewrite an old Yiddish saying.)
August 11, 2009
As mentioned last week, we’ll be discussing Garcia Marquez’s Living to Tell the Tale next week. Le Spouse had swine flu last week and has bronchitis this week, so that has dramatically impacted my reading time. But I’ll at least have chapter four done in time, which is half way through. Therefore, the new plan is to discuss the first four chapters next week and an aim to discuss the second half a few weeks later. Sound good? Also, if you’re interested in writing a guest post to stimulate discussion, please let me know!
August 06, 2009
I’ve been on a book-buying spree. I guess reading Infinite Jest has had something to do with that, but I couldn’t say exactly why that is. The week before last, I ordered The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren by Jonathan Lopez as a birthday gift for my mother. If I haven’t mentioned it before, my mother is Dutch, born and raised in Amsterdam, and she loves reading about history, and she loves art. I knew this book would be a winner.
And then I bought six books for myself. Dalkey Archive Press (@DalkeyArchive) had a great sale last week (which I mentioned on my twitter, so you missed out if you’re not following me!), so I got 5 books for $35, including shipping. I’m not exactly sure which five books I’ll be getting, since one of the books I requested is not due out until later this month and so might not be eligible for the sale. I listed an alternate just in case. Anyway, the books I requested:
If Op Oloop is not available, I requested Vain Art of the Fugue by Dumitru Tsepeneag in its place.
I also ordered The Salt Smugglers by Gérard de Nerval from Archipelago Books. If you hadn’t heard, Archipelago (follow them @archipelagobks) is in trouble, so I wanted to do my part. Plus, The Salt Smugglers looks fantastic!
It will be a while before I actually get these books, since I’m shipping them to my parents’ address, but I’m hoping to see them in late September. I have plenty of books to keep me busy in the meantime.
Comments (0) | Tags: Archipelago Books, books, Brecht at Night, buying, Dalkey Archive Press, David Markson, Diary of a Blood Donor, Dumitru Tsepeneag, Europeana, Gérard de Nerval, Jonathan Lopez, Juan Filloy, Mati Unt, Op Oloop, Patrik Ouredník, Reader's Block, reading, shopping, The Man Who Made Vermeers, The Salt Smugglers, Vain Art of the Fugue
July 31, 2009
I mentioned the fade theory book club back in June, but I didn’t give a date for our discussion. How does the third week of August work to discuss Living To Tell The Tale by Gabriel Garcia Marquez? I think I’m still on chapter two, thanks to the appropriately titled Infinite Jest. I’m on page 350 or thereabouts of that one, and I’ve gotta say I’m glad I’m finally reading it and that I pushed myself to keep reading. I’m at a place now where I know I will finish it, even if it ends up taking longer than the Infinite Summer schedule. But that’s okay, because it’s not really about reading x number of pages by a certain date but simply about reading it. And that’s what I’m doing. Happily. But that’s for another post.
At the moment I’m nursing a hangover-like headache without having had anything to drink, thanks to being up half the night with a sick but still very playful boy. We’re spending a few days on two of the Estonian islands (Saaremaa and Muhu), and I’m hoping to get some solid reading done. Go away, headache!