Sunday, December 24, 2006

a few of my favorite blogs

In the spirit of the holiday, I'd like to send a thank you to a few of my favorite blogs and sites. I turn to these not so much for information (I have separate list to thank for that - perhaps later), but for the quality of the experience, some thoughtful reflection, and sometimes both. Giornale Nuovo, is the work of one Mr H., a youngish man living in Sweden with a keen sense of style regarding historical graphics. Favorite recent posts have included: Engraved and Etched English Title Pages and Basoli's Alphabet

Mark Woods, an Ottowan, runs Wood s Lot, a a hefty mash-up of thoughtful text snippets and images selected from across the ages. This is one of the most philosophical (in the sense of humanistic tradition), sites I know, and I find it a salve for the frazzled internet work in whch I normally find myself. It's not unusual to find texts by Miguel de Unamuno, Laura Riding Jackson and Walter Benjamin matched with art work by Joseph Cornell.

Both of these sites are also presented in a simple, almost minimalist format, which is such a relief from the visual mess provided by most blogs/sites these days.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Poet Piergiorgio Welby gets his wish

Piergiorgio, Italian poet dies with dignity. Conservatives do what they can to stifle that dignity, and demand the arrest of the doctor who sedated him and removed him from his hospital respirator. Piergiorgio has been blogging about his desire to control his own destiny for some time, logging over 1000 entries by tapping out the words with a stick on a computer keyboard. He also wrote an open letter to the President of Italy, in support of control of his own life, and included this short, powerful evocation of real life, "“Life is the woman who loves you, the wind through your hair, the sun on your face, an evening stroll with a friend. Life is also a woman who leaves you, a rainy day, a friend who deceives you. I am neither melancholic nor manic-depressive. I find the idea of dying horrible. But what is left to me is no longer a life.”
Adam Bellow, pamphleteer for the 21st century

Can the pamphlet bring ideas back into publishing for the masses? Saul Bellow's son Adam thinks so, and looks to Haldeman-Julius' Little Blue Books as a model.
"We've learned nothing in 12,000 years"

Picasso on paleolithic cave art, in Gregory Curtis' new book, The Cave Painters.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Borges manuscripts turn up

Relief is in the air in Cambridge as Lame Duck's two lost Borges manuscripts turn up tucked into another item.
Volbracht's Myko Libri

Every so often a bibliography comes along that's not just a handy tool. The great books on books can be beautiful objects in themselves, beautifully designed and a pleasure to pore over. Jurgen Holstein's recent survey of modern dust jacket design, and the multi-volume collection of juveniles, The Children's World of Learning 1480 -1880, published by Antiquariaat Forum come to mind. My new favorite bibliography is Christian Volbracht's new catalogue of his own collection of books on mushrooms, Myko Libri, Die Bibliothek der Pilzbucher. Volbracht has gone to great trouble to create a publication worthy of his great collection. Published by the author in a signed, limited edition of 750 copies, the book contains more then 2300 entries, and is illustrated in color throughout, with a mixture of title pages, plates and decorated book covers. A number of indices provide quick lists of various subject areas, from early works (Pliny's 1481 Historia Naturalis is the first) to regional publications, books on mycogastronomy, hallucinogens and iconography. The quarto-sized tome is handsomely bound in brown cloth with an illustrated dust jacket.