Books Are Beautiful
A few thoughts on the beauty of books from Diesel co-owner John Evans:
I've always loved the intimacy of smaller format books, that fit in the hand, in the pocket, in the eye. Books are ultimately a subtle magic composed of ink, paper, and light. Whether reading Emerson's essays in a used compact edition published by Collins -- the original Collins, from Glasgow Scotland -- or the first reading of Whitman's Leaves of Grass in an equivalent American publisher's seductive and handy edition, I've been hooked on this delicate crafting of books for the itinerant traveler.
These are the original pocket books, before the paperback revolution, and they continue to the present day, in paper and cloth. The '60's had their "quality paperback" publishing, alongside the mass market paperbacks. The quality paper, acid-free, superior binding (better glues and stitching), and thoughtful design brought the thoughts and minds of authors to the reader with greater and more long-lasting force.
The tradition thankfully continues. Penguin Press has been a genius in this regard -- their paper pocket reprints of short works with luscious covers. And New Directions, also going through an award-winning design revolution -- see Bolano's Antwerp for a cloth example of this wonderful form: black and gold embossed covers, red endpapers, creamy paper, read under a skylight filling and emptying with light and cloud is an epiphany! Kafka's deeply delightful The Zurau Aphorisms, in a similarly shaded Schocken paperback (with everyone's beloved french folds) was published with such devoted attention to balancing Kafka's profound heart articulations with the book design, you'll never want to let the book go.
So, thanks New Directions, Penguin, Schocken for bringing the imaginative wonders of writers so gracefully, and compactly, into my life -- body and soul.
--- This month we are featuring video reviews of books of beauty on our website. Please check them out throughout the month. ---
Thomas Bailey in Brentwood talks about Anne Carson's Nox:
Cheryl Ryan in Brentwood talks about texture:
Veronica Tyler in Malibu is amazed by Avedon's Performance:
With waterproof pages and cover made from a new plastic paper, this collection of original aqua erotica is the perfect marriage of form and content, taking the traditional pillow book from the bed to the bath and beyond.
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. Penguin has republished Emerson's classic work in an affordable, high quality edition, using the original text and artwork.
Huxley's story shows a futuristic World State where all emotion, love, art, and human individuality have been replaced by social stability. An ominous warning to the world's population, this literary classic is a must-read.
More than 200 film stars and performance artists from the second half of the 20th century are portrayed in this collection of photographs, many that have rarely or never been seen before.
Created after the death of her brother, Carson's haunting and beautiful "Nox" is her first book of poetry in five years--a unique, illustrated, accordion-fold-out "book in a box."