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Archive for August, 2011

August 30th, 2011 • Posted in On The Book

Binding Governor General’s Literary Award-Winning Books

In addition to the honour, and the money ($25,000), winners of the Governor General’s Literary Awards receive something really special: hand-bound editions of the books they’ve written. Between 1973 (when the tradition started) and  2004 (when he retired), master bookbinder Pierre Ouvrard crafted more than 300 original bindings for the awards.  In 2005, Lise Dubois took over. This past Spring the Canada Council put out a call for a new bookbinder, someone who could interpret, embellish and beautify winning books in the style to which they’d become accustomed. Here are some recent examples (complete with poetic description):

Category: Poetry English-Language
Author: Richard Greene, Cobourg (Ontario) [Listen to our conversation here]
Title: Boxing the Compass
Publisher: Signal Editions, an imprint of Véhicule Press

Description: Fine bookbinding, Bradel type, in blue teal buffalo skin. Leather headbands. Décor: blind tooling in the natural lines of the skin. Leather onlays in snake and buffalo skin. Endpapers by Michèle Simard (Sainte-Adèle, Qc). Titles with color film on leather pieces. Matching leather triptych box.

Dimensions: 22.2 x 14.2 x 1.6 cm

Bookbinder: Lise Dubois, Montreal
Category: Fiction English-Language
Author: Dianne Warren, Regina [Listen to our conversation here]
Title: Cool Water
Publisher: Phyllis Bruce Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Description: Traditional fine bookbinding in lichen green buffalo skin. Onlayed leather headbands. Décor: stripes of goat and buffalo skin. Inlay of beaver skin on the back board; onlays of a green and blue circle in goat skin on the front. Printed Japanese endpapers. Titled with red and blue color foil. Matching leather triptych box.

Dimensions: 23 x 15.9 x 3 cm

Category: Fiction English-Language
Author: Kate Pullinger, London (UK) [Listen to our conversation here]
TitleThe Mistress of Nothing
Publisher: McArthur & Company

Description: Fine bookbinding. Laced-in structure in yellow savannah buffalo skin. Leather headbands. Onlay of an Egyptian felucca (sailboat) on a large inlay of tobacco goatskin. Titled with brown-coloured foil. Pasted endleaves by Marie Madec (France). Matching leather triptych box. 

Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.5 x 2.4 cm

Nino Ricci, The Origin of Species

Bookbinding description

Traditional full leather binding in savannah buffalo skin. Leather headbands with mosaics. Ink sprinkled edges. Inlays of mosaics made of numerous types of leather, such as lizard, snakeskin, sealskin and ostrich. On both front and back boards, inlays of lizard dots. Endpapers handmade in France by Marie Madec. Triptych box covered with a lizard finish pigskin. Title printed with brown color foil.


August 29th, 2011 • Posted in Literary Tourism

Literary Tourist Launches New Route Planner has just launched a new map function which calls up bookstores and literary destinations from its database. To try it out, click here, enter start and finish points (city and abbreviated state names are fine), and watch what happens: color coded markers indicating used and independent bookstores, along with rare book libraries and other literary destinations will pop up indicating stops that might be of interest. Members just have to click on destination names to get detailed information. 

You might also be interested in searching listings for authors. What you’ll get is the names of rare book libraries that hold significant collections of your chosen author’s works, the names of various associated landmarks, and a listing of bookstores that specialize in the searched for scribe.

August 29th, 2011 • Posted in Bookstores

Award for Best Bookstore Section Signs

Dropped by the Montclair Book Center recently


in (surprise) Montclair, NJ . Said hello to owner


Peter Ryby and complemented him on the artistic flair evident

















August 28th, 2011 • Posted in Literary Destinations

Literary Destination: Delaware…and there abouts

Two must visit literary destinations in Delaware: 1) The town of New Castle, where you’ll find Oak Knoll Books,


located on the third floor of an opera house built by the Masons in 1879, and The Bookshop in Old New Castle, a cooperative store that stocks inventory from Oak Knoll, Between the Covers Rare Books -Kelmscott Bookshop and the Old Bookshop of Bordentown, on the second floor. Here I spotted first editions of work by two favorite poets, Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes, all in particularly fine condition; picked up a signed copy of J.M. Dent’s Memoirs and a biography of 18th century poet/publisher Robert Dodsley; then: 2) A half an hours drive away: Newark, and the University of Delaware’s Morris Library where you’ll find strong holdings in the art of the book, the history of printing and the graphic arts, and the history of papermaking and fine printing, and Mark Samuels Lasner’s magnificent Collection


which focuses on British art between1850 and 1900, the Pre-Raphaelites, and writers and illustrators (including the great Charles Ricketts)


of the 1890s. Head north another twenty minutes into Pennsylvania and you’ll hit the town of Kennett Square where three




bookstores share one city block. 


Another ten minutes along the road and you’ll arrive at Baldwin’s Book




If you’re lucky you’ll run into Tom Baldwin


…one of the friendliest, most interesting (read, racing car driver) bookstore owners I’ve ever met. He gave me a book called My Love Affair with Bookshops. Written in Chinese by Fang-Ling Jong, it’s filled with hundreds of beautiful photos of cats, booksellers and used bookstores, including Baldwin’s. (Note to self: I must connect with this author/kindred spirit).

August 25th, 2011 • Posted in On Book Collecting

Coincidence and Collecting

Golden Lake Book store

Speaking of coincidences that befuddle and confound bibliophiles: here I am in the middle of nowhere, Ontario reading In the Suicide’s Library, learning about Weldon Kees,  a poet who sits somewhere way out on the periphery of my brain – liminal at best – visible now only because of what I’ve been reading. And yes, the tiny little bookstore in Golden Lake happens to have a copy of Weldon Kees and the Midcentury Generation: Letters, 1935-1955 sitting in its poetry section – a copy that not two weeks ago would have gone unnoticed – left on the shelf, devoid of any significance. 

August 20th, 2011 • Posted in On Book Collecting

The Occult Powers of the Collector of Association

I’m reading with pleasure Tim Bowling’s elegantly produced memoir In the Suicide’s Library, a journey into bibliomania and the life of American poet Weldon Kees. We’re now at a point where Tim realizes that, as Wilmarth Lewis puts it in his Dwiggins-designed Collector’s Progress (the story of his formation of a great Horace Walpole collection):

"Coincidence is so frequent in this branch of collecting that the collector of association items is led to believe that he has occult powers and that the person he is collecting is seeing to it that books, manuscripts, prints, snuffboxes, and so on, formerly in his possession come to the attention of the collector."

August 16th, 2011 • Posted in On The Book

Glenn Goluska 1947-2011

The best thing I think I can do to help commemorate the life and work of Canadian/American book designer Glenn Goluska is to post these images of some of his designs. Each, and more, won  AIGA awards (click to see larger versions). The best thing you can do is to search them out, buy, handle, admire, treasure them.

Notes Towards a Poem That Can Never Be WrittenErnest Cormier and the Université du MontréalJournal Money Matters: A Critical Look at Bank Architecture

August 16th, 2011 • Posted in Authors and Books

Montreal Macbeth drags – but only when the Witches are on Stage

Macbeth, Shakespeare in the Park, Montreal.

In a previous post I suggested that great performances of Shakespeare place weights on subsequent efforts. Comparison is inevitable, the best weigh down what comes after. They’re a drag.

This phrase assumes

Witch in MacBeth, Shakespeare in the Park, Montreal


MacBeth, Shakespeare in the Park, Montreal


MacBeth, Shakespeare in the Park, Montreal

now that I’ve seen the commendable, invigorating Macbeth that Repercussion Theatre is staging in parks around Montreal this summer (hurry, the curtain descends for the last time August 21).

Performances are uniformly good – meaning that the words are well enunciated, audible, and for the most part understandable; delivery from the majority of cast members sounds natural;  words are largely calibrated with the right emotional nuance, range, level of emphasis. Lady Macbeth MacBeth, Shakespeare in the Park, Montreal


Out, Out. Shakespeare in the Park, Montreal

I think,

Macbeth, and Lady, Shakespeare in the Park, Montreal

the strongest in this regard. But the crown of the eve must go to the witches. They’re

MacBeth, Shakespeare in the Park, Montreal

as indicated, in drag. Which of course is as it should be, for, as Banquo tells it "You should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so"

There’s great music – especially during the cocktail party welcoming Duncan to the Macbeths’ place, confident gusto and verve bubbling from the whole cast – especially the witches -  and a nice technique used to isolate the soliloques.

See it. You’ll enjoy it, not least because it’s better than this.

Check out more Shakespearean summer theatre here on Literary Tourist.


August 15th, 2011 • Posted in Authors and Books

Attention Baseball loving Bibliophiles


On Saturday, August 27, 2011, The Bookshop in Old New Castle will host a book signing to celebrate baseball in the first state – not its first state, but in the first state of the union (I’m assumin’).

"An exhibition featuring rare baseball books and other publications will also be on display. The event will take place on the second floor of the historic Grand Opera House. Between 1pm and 3pm, Ellen Rendle, author of Judy Johnson: Delaware’s Invisible Hero, and Paul Bauernschmidt, author of America’s Pastime in the First State: Little League Baseball in Delaware will sign their books, both of which will be available for purchase. The exhibit includes rare baseball books and other publications spanning more than 150 years. Materials include Henry Chadwick’s 1866 The Game of Base Ball, the earliest book devoted entirely to the game, an 1877 issue of Base Ball News, a rare early periodical for and about ballplayers, and the Slide Kelly Slide songster inspired by 19th century star Mike “King” Kelly. It also includes books by Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson and Ty Cobb, scarce team histories, early scorecards, and novels that were made into movies such as “The Natural” and “Field of Dreams.” The exhibition will continue to be on display until the end of August."

August 14th, 2011 • Posted in Literary Tourism

Literary Destination: Book Town USA

August 6th was book sale day in Hobart, New York, "Book Village of the Catskills".

Hobart, NY

Folks with books to sell

Hobart, NY

lined the

Hobart, NY

main street, and offered up their treasures.


This, in addition to the eclectic fare


on the shelves

Bibliobarn, outside Hobart, NY

of five bookstores along the street (and one a mile or two down the road), provided quite a selection to choose from; I added to my Publisher’s Memoirs collection with a signed copy of The Making of a Publisher by Victor Weybright from Adam’s Bookshop, and 100 GPO Years 1860-1961 A History of United States Printing from theBibliobarn. Was pleased to meet

Bibliobarn, outside Hobart, NY











to tell them ad nauseum about Literary Tourist.