Book Design

Books as Actors

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The artist Terry Border created an intriguing series of pieces wherein the pulp fiction versions of famous books were acting out bits of their own plot.

 

Flash Gordon was probably my favorite, but there is a whole set of them, and they raised an interesting string of thoughts. Here, the books finally got to be what they were written as, their potential being brought to actual fruition. Are our books happy sitting on shelves unending for those few brief moments that they are taken down, read, abused, enjoyed and then tossed haphazardly back onto the shelf? How do we treat these wonderful portals to new worlds? Not well, in most cases. And will that ever come back to haunt us?

Anyway, shaking off the maudlin thoughts, enjoy a few more of the book art pieces, and check out the rest of his site for entertaining and unique pieces.

 

 

 

Happy Leap Day!

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It is Leap Day, folks, a time that only comes around once every four years. For some people it’s just a regular day, except that they forget it’s not March yet. For others, it’s a celebration of Leap Day Williams (and yes, I will be wearing blue and yellow).

Now, given that this is a somewhat unique occurance, take this extra day in your life and do something unexpected. Something new. Do an experiment, enrich your life. Involve your friends. Something been on your list for a long time that you wanted to try or get done? Do it. Put yourself out there and finally query an agency or schedule a gig. This is an EXTRA DAY folks, and you get them every four years. Live it to its fullest. And share it with us below!

Me? I think I’m going to start my next novel. If I get enough people sharing their Leap Day experiment, I’ll post the first writing from my next novel here on Friday.

And if you think this is lame, or you’re just too lazy, remember, Leap Day Williams is watching you…

Leap Day Williams from 30 Rock

Bookish Ornaments

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If you are looking for a cute little stocking stuffer for your bookworm friends or need that special something for your own tree, this is it. A mini Chicago Manual of Style!

For the grammar nazi in you...

Don’t mind how small my tree is. The ornament ends up 3.5″ tall. Just makes my Charlie Brown sized tree look that much smaller! Anyway, it’s a very simple paper folding project and takes about five minutes to put together–so what’s stopping you?! Directions can be found here: Chicago Manual of Style Ornament.

Credit, of course, goes to the University of Chicago Press. Thanks guys!

Did You Know Twain Wrote a Murder Mystery?

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I had no idea, but Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) wrote a murder mystery. Kind of. It’s titled A Double Barrelled Detective Story and it is a novella in which there are two unique revenge stories and he makes great fun of Sherlock Holmes. It’s structured around letters written by a young man to his mother as he tries to track down his father who was quite the scoundrel.

Beautiful embossed red cloth, and I love the quote.

It was a unique little tale and did not take much time at all to read, but I was particularly struck by the beauty of the original printing. The red cloth cover with the fancy gold embossing is a pleasure to hold. And that quote is something else–“We ought never to do wrong when people are looking.” It epitomizes a lot of the story in a one sense, but it subverts it in another. The murder (which doesn’t even take place until about 2/3 of the way into the story) is covered up explicitly by disguising the setup for the murder with regular actions in front of Sherlock Holmes. And it would have worked, too, if it wasn’t for the meddling kid and his super-human tracking abilities. Sherlock Holmes had gone on the completely wrong path…

But the beauty of the book doesn’t stop at the cover. Take a look at these gorgeous end pages. They make sense as the majority of the story takes place in mountainous gold mining camps. I was wondering if I could take a page out of this book and create end pages for my novel that are cascades of falling letters…or stamps…

Endpages depicting the forest and mountains around the mining camp.And the pages themselves are gorgeous. They all have a red frame with an accent in the corner. It was a two color job, which must have gotten expensive in 1902 because that meant they had to run each page through the press twice. But just look at how pretty it is! And I love the little annotations in the margin there. They run throughout the book and there are up to three on a page. Sometimes they were simply a note on the text and at other times the way they were phrased was a snarky bit of commentary.

Look at all the gorgeous detail on the page...

And there were several stunning plates throughout the book. The detail and clarity of each of them was just astounding. If you can’t read the caption, this one is, “He proceeded to lash her to a tree.”

The plates in this book were gorgeous, here is "He Proceeded to Lash Her to A Tree"

Anyway, an amusing little story, but a gorgeous presentation. This is a true gem of Twain’s that I didn’t even know existed until last month. It’s worth it to read a copy (it’s available in modern paperback and for the Kindle) but if you can get your hands on one of the 1902 printings, that’s even better.