This morning I posted about two claustrophobic bookstores, one in Helsinki and one in Paris. Brian Heater (our Comics Rack columnist and the director of media at Engadget) sent me a photo of what might be the most claustrophobic bookstore of all: GF Wilkinson Books in San Francisco. It's claustrophobic not because of book clutter; it's simply because store is so small that if you stood inside it and the doors were to close, you'd be squeezed.
It's essentially a wall of displays converted into a bookstore. I had a nice conversation with the titular Mr. Wilkinson, who has been in the book selling business for a number of years. This is just the latest incarnation. Perhaps some model for the future as Amazon and e-books continue to take a bite out of the bookstore market? Says he was inspired by the book tables set up around Manhattan (a number of whom, including one Aaron Cometbus, formed a wonderfully curated bookstore in Brooklyn called Book Thug Nation). I bought a terrific little pamphlet from 1949 called Toros Without Tears: A Simple Explanation of a Bullfight.
The SF Gate did a nice piece on Wilkinson last January.
Jenny Hart (my friend who makes those cute iron-on embroidery patterns and kits) saw my post of the claustrophobic bookstore in Helsinki and it reminded her of a charming claustrophobic bookstore in Paris. She wrote about it on Dinosaurs and Robots.
Un Regard Moderne is considered affectionately by many to be the greatest bookstore on earth. Tucked away on a tiny street in Paris, the space is so crammed with obscure books on art, photography, comics and true crime that only two people can sorta fit in there for browsing. The owner, Jacques Noël, stands quietly on a stack of books in the corner (sometimes only his forehead and a plume of smoke can be seen), graciously willing and able to locate any book from a mind-boggling array of stacks that seem to close in more and more each time I return. I once asked him if he had any books by Polish artist and author Bruno Shulz. He thought a moment and said no, he didn't. But the next time I stopped in several weeks later, without even inquiring, he silently walked over to me and placed two copies in my hands he'd ordered. Ah, Paris! Buenaventura Press has some good photos on Flickr giving you a feel for it.
My friend Randy is on a business trip in Helsinki. The last time he was there he told me about a tiny bookstore that was stacked floor to ceiling with books. I asked him to snap some photos the next time he went. Here they are.
I walked to the crazy bookstore I told you about. The sign reads ANTIKVARIAATTI, which means Antique Store. But it’s clearly overloaded with books only. The whole store is maybe 200 sq ft, and the books are stacked more than 10 feet high. In many areas at least 4-5 layers deep. The space for walking is barely 2 ft wide.
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Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities is a new, huge, beautiful look at his notebooks, scrapbooks and sketches. Flavorwire has a bunch of excerpts from the book that are quite fetching and wonderfully gruesome. Some of my favorites are below.
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My friend and Cool Tools review website partner, Kevin Kelly, made a cool video about the making of his new book, Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities. He says: "The Whole Earth Catalog was a bible for DIYers in the last century. Cool Tools is the same for this century. Here is what you can expect from this huge oversized book."
It's the 40th anniversary of William Goldman's wonderful, brilliant, amazing novel The Princess Bride, and there's a gorgeous hardcover commemorative illustrated edition to celebrate. Tor.com is marking the occasion with a great excerpt from the book, including some of Michael Manomivibul's interior art:
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"I've set myself the modest task of trying to explain the broad pattern of human history, on all the continents, for the last 13,000 years," says Jared Diamond, author of the deeply provocative books Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997), Collapse (2005), and The World Until Yesterday (2012) that span geography, anthropology, and ecology. I'm honored that tomorrow (Friday, 11/8) I'll have the opportunity to interview Diamond on stage at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco! The event starts at noon and the JCCSF has kindly provided us with the special code BOING that will give you a 50% discount on tickets. I hope to see you there! "Jared Diamond with Boing Boing's David Pescovitz"
Joe Sacco is a spectacular political comics creator, and has earned a well-deserved reputation for his work on war and conflict with books on Sarajevo and Bosnia, Gaza and Palestine and other modern militarized zones.
But now he's created The Great War, a wordless, gate-folded work on World War One. It's gorgeous and haunting, and beautifully presented in a slipcased hardcover. His publisher, WW Norton, prepared a short documentary on the book and we've got it exclusively (for now). I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
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Nick and Tesla are a couple of teenagers who get themselves into trouble and must build MAKE-style projects to save the day. There are two books in the series, aimed at ages 9-12, and they contain a number of fun DIY projects. The publisher, Quirk Books, kindly gave us permission to run a lengthy PDF excerpt from Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab that includes plans for making a compressed-air water rocket.
The forthcoming followup title is called Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery with Hoverbots, Bristle Bots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself.
Nick and Tesla Excerpt
Back in September, I blogged the announcement of Patrick Nielsen Hayden and David Hartwell's massive anthology
Twenty-First Century Science Fiction, which collects stories the authors view as significant signposts in the direction of the field since the turn of the millennium. The book's in stores today, and I continue to be incredibly, immensely honored to have written one of the stories contained within it (Chicken Little), with puts me in company with the likes of Elizabeth Bear, Paolo Bacigalupi, Catherynne M. Valente, Hannu Rajaniemi, hKen Liu, Yoon Ha Lee, Tobias S. Buckell, and Vandana Singh.
Twenty-First Century Science Fiction
| Age: 24
| Height: 9"
| Belongs To: Helen Lyons
Much Loved started as a very simple idea: to photograph some "loved to bits" teddy bears for an exhibition in my studio, which happily has a gallery space.
I got the idea from watching my son, Calum. I was struck by how attached he was to his Peter Rabbit, the way he squeezed it with delight when he was excited, the way he buried his nose in it while sucking his thumb, and how he just had to sleep with Peter every night. I vaguely remembered having similar childhood feelings about my own Panda.
The photographer I admire the most is Irving Penn. His portrait work, from the 1940s and 1950s especially, made me want to become a photographer. With his still-life work, I loved the alchemy of his Street Material series, how he could take pieces of trash and cigarette butts off the street, photograph them, and turn them into works of art. The idea of making an everyday object, something so familiar that it's invisible, become visible again appealed to me.
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Hugh Spencer sez, "The stories they didn't want back in print are still not in print -- but you can read them anyway! My tales of living software, psychological censorship, trans-human dating and childcare responsibilities are available via download in The Collected Progressive Apparatus."
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This autumn, Drawn and Quarterly released Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps, a retrospective of the work of Pulitizer-winning comics creator Art "Maus" Spiegelman.
On November 8, New York's Jewish Museum will debut a show based on the book, featuring many of the original pieces collected in its pages. The show will run until March 23, and Spiegelman will give a presentation at the museum on December 5.
The nice folks at Drawn and Quartlerly have supplied us with some of J Hoberman's fascinating critical essay on Spiegelman, which is part of the show and the book; as well as material on Spiegelman's work for Topps (Garbage Pail Kids, etc), and his work on breakdowns. You can see it all after the jump.
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As I mentioned last week, the CBC's Canada Reads list of top 40 Canadian books is up, and it's got a really commendable, wide-ranging variety of titles in it (including my own novel Little Brother). The CBC is asking for readers to choose their favorites by tomorrow, at which point they'll release the top ten list.
It's a great exercise for energizing the nation about reading, and I'm immensely flattered and excited to have a small part in it.
Canada Reads Top 40: Explore the books