May 19, 2010
I celebrated my 29th birthday earlier this month. It was a tough day (not because it was my birthday, but for other reasons), made better by two birthday thoughts I received. It was actually a little bit freaky how much I needed these exact words. I’m going to share them here because I continue to find them tremendously powerful and beautiful and true.
The first was a poem by Rumi (written in the 13th century) called The Guest House:
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
I’ll use my friend’s introduction for the next bit, since it explains it best:
“Last week while doing research on a two-page monograph printed by a letterpress guy in Georgia, I found the actual content on the Web. I supply a portion of Fra Giovanni’s words from 1513 as my birthday greetings to you this year of 2010.”
I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look! Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.
I think I need to memorize these so I can have them on hand every day.
Comments (1) | More: history, reading
May 12, 2010
Phase three it is! I need to figure a few things out before I can say “Full steam ahead!” Such as what kind of music I’ll blog about (everything and anything? focus on a niche?), what kinds of posts to have (videos, reviews, cover art critiques?), etc. But in the meantime, I’ll be posting some music videos and links over at my Tumblr page: http://fadetheory.tumblr.com/
So, what kind of music do you listen to?
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May 05, 2010
I am ready to set aside my denial and admit that fade theory is in a possibly irreversible coma. I see two options: pull the plug or enter phase three. Phase three would be the music phase. It would still involve books, to a degree, but I don’t really have much time for reading and I feel increasingly disconnected from the book world the longer I’m in Estonia. Music, on the other hand, still plays a significant role in my life and I have easy access to it.
Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me.
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January 21, 2010
I finally read and finished Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. My main motivation was a book group (which I missed after all), but I picked up this book so many times without finishing in the past couple of years that it was immensely satisfying to have finally read it.
Everyone knows it’s a bleak story. About as bleak as they come. I was pregnant the first time I really tried to read it, which was STUPID. The next time I tried seriously, Massimo was a few months old. Even MORE STUPID. If you are expecting a child or have a child under one year of age, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO READ THIS BOOK. For you will fail. It felt like McCarthy was trying to tear out my happy little heart and eat it raw.
But this time, Massimo was 18 months old. Still young, but not so young that I’m giddy and on cloud nine. This time, reading The Road felt more like an attempt to peacefully (which is not to say nicely) stop my heart, while leaving it in place. It is bleak. Heart-breaking. Tear-inducing. Breath-taking. Horrifying. Everything you would expect a post-apocalyptic, dystopic story to be. That said, I sailed through it in two days. That’s some quick reading for the working parent of a toddler. It is a story you want to get through as quickly as possible. How McCarthy managed to live within that story for the duration of writing it (how long did it take, I wonder?), I cannot imagine. When I was younger, I spent years exploring dark places of the mind and history. For a while I thought it desensitized me, but I think it actually had the opposite effect. Two days was about all I could handle of The Road.
A note about the ending: Some people say it’s positive. I saw it that way, possibly because I needed to see it that way. However, if I project the story and follow it into the future, I don’t see any real hope. Where the book ends is a positive blip in an ultimately hopeless situation. There were several positive blips throughout the book, followed by terrible things. There’s no reason to think it will change. How’s that for an ending?
Comments (2) | Tags: cormac mccarthy, dystopian, fiction, parenthood, post-apocalyptic, reading, the road | More: books, reading
November 05, 2009
This is one of those days when English words look really funny to me. Salt, for example, looks totally bizarre. That notwithstanding, Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky is the title of today’s us vs uk book. Thanks to Meredith for inspiring this post!
From the UK publisher’s site:
Homer called salt a divine substance. Plato described it as especially dear to the gods. As Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates in his world encompassing new book, salt has shaped civilisation from the beginning, and it’s story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of mankind.
If you take a look at Random House’s Salt website, you can see that they have a little animation that relates back to the UK cover design. But I still don’t get it. The hand looks weird, and the desert photo just doesn’t say anything special to me. I do like the Salt lettering, though. Very much. I’m not thrilled by the US cover, but I think it works and makes sense and looks good. But it mainly wins here because I dislike the UK cover and feel somewhat neutral about the US cover. What do you think?
Comments (6) | Tags: book, book cover art, book cover design, book covers, books, cover art, mark kurlansky, non-fiction, reading, salt, salt: a world history, uk cover design, us cover design, us vs uk | More: books, culture, design
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.
Comments (0) | Tags: book fair, books, e-books, e-readers, fbf09, Frankfurt, Frankfurt Book Fair, leonard lopate, photography, please explain, publishing, typography | More: books, culture, design, paper art, photos, publishing, reading
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?
Comments (8) | Tags: book cover design, book covers, book design, books, design, publishing, reading, thames & hudson, the true history of tea, uk covers, us covers | More: books, culture, design, publishing
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.
Comments (5) | More: books, culture, design, friday artist, publishing, reading, writing
October 22, 2009
I changed the permalinks structure today because I’ve been having some trouble with the header links in the new theme here. Well, it made things worse, but at the very least I figured folks should know that the RSS feed for fade theory is http://feeds.feedburner.com/fadetheory
Hopefully I get things figured out soon! Feel free to chime in if you have a solution. I can be reached at email@example.com
Comments (0) | Tags: blog feed, rss feed | More: news
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!
Comments (1) | Tags: ammo books, blue apple, books, children, children's books, chronicle books, design, Frankfurt Book Fair, little brown, mark batty, non-fiction, phaidon, princeton architectural press, publishing, reading, simply read books, tate, templar, thames & hudson, unbridled books | More: books, design, publishing, reading
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 | More: books, publishing
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.
Comments (1) | More: books, publishing
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)?
Comments (1) | More: books, culture, design, publishing, reading, writing
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?
Comments (7) | More: books, culture
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.