Wednesday, November 14, 2007


It is not surprising that poets who are passionate lovers of words should also be passionate readers as well. It follows in turn that their poetical muse should occasionally lead them to reflect and write on the subject of books and reading. Two highly proficient B.C. poets who have done so are Susan McCaslin and David Zieroth. Susan, a Fort Langley based poet, has authored eleven volumes of poetry, seven chapbooks, a children’s book and is the editor of two anthologies. David, a North Vancouver poet, is the author of seven books of poetry, two chapbooks and a memoir. Both, of course, have appeared in numerous literary magazines. More information is available about Susan on her website at and at Alan Twigg’s ABCBookWorld website at More information is available about David at his website at or at the ABCBookWorld site.

Susan’s poem “Bookishness Banished” first appeared in the literary journal A Room of One’s Own in December 2002 (Vol. 25, No. 4). It was also published in her volume of Poetry A Plot of Light published by Oolichan Press in Lantzville, B.C. in 2004.


Book bag woman
nose in book

in the grocery line up
or on the toilet

after making love
or with a flashlight, tenting.

Fiction, biography,
classics or trash,

print rolls my head around.
I read in my sleep.

Words, my profession,
words, my accusers

and champions.
Word-haunted woman

word heated and chilled.
Itinerate wordsmith’s

open shop and season.
Zen feats of mindful

eating and reading.
Libraries relax me

more than boudoirs.
Secrets on vellum.

Heart is a hand press.
Letters set me dancing.

Alphabets fall from my ears
like from God in the beginning.

I am crazed with codes.
No wonder my Maker

is a silent word.
No wonder this opening

behind purple drapery
is to sumptuous silence.

David’s poem entitled “How Wise” will be newly published as one of seven heroic sestets in an upcoming issue (Vol. 36 No. 3) of Event magazine which will be ready in January 2008. Hopefully it will also take pride of place in a future book of poetry.


How wise to give away your books!
To keep yourself free from boxes
when you move, paradoxes
in every one: those words look
light and lovely on the page but turn out
leaden when you have to mess about

schlepping old classics up new stairs.
Better to hand them off one by one,
the novels to your sister, John Donne
to anyone who still says prayers.
Keep back a few, the special heroes
of your heart who soar past the common Joes

like yourself – like me – and make a life
we couldn’t make. One box of words will do,
to fill your need for guidance into
the new home, along with knives,
pillows, pants and postures, lamp and bed.
Sad tales of the old place stay behind (to live unsaid).

About Trading in Memories by Barbara Hodgson

Found Art: A photo, a memory, a story. Writer and designer Barbara Hodgson captures perfect moments in time from her travels around the world in her new book Trading in Memories (Greystone Books, 978-1-55365-199-4).

She cherishes the little things: the angel in a cemetery, the street vendor in a crowded market, the package of letters bought for a few dollars.

Trading in Memories is Barbara Hodgson's collage of souvenirs and travel stories about lost and found art picked up off the street, treasures discovered at flea markets and documents uncovered from between the pages of other finds.

Visit the site:

  • Enter Barbara Hodgson's world of found art, scavenged treasures and mysterious travel tales.

  • Look inside the book.

  • Read excerpts

  • Find out how Trading in Memories can be used as a book club selection.

About Barbara Hodgson

Trading in Memories, the latest book by Vancouver designer and writer Barbara Hodgson, is a collage of memories and souvenirs from around the world.

Her books are published by Greystone Books, an imprint of Douglas & McIntyre Publishing Group.

Travel Story Contest

Do Barbara Hodgson's works inspire you to tell your own story?

Submit your travel story for a chance to win a collection of travel books from Greystone Books, publisher of Barbara Hodgson's Trading in Memories: Travels Through a Scavenger's Favourite Places.

Contest closes November 30, 2007:

Friday, November 09, 2007

Who Said the Book is Dead! – Part Two

Though long, overdue, libraries are finally starting to get the respect they deserve. Despite reports of their demise, they have not only survived the onslaught of civic poverty and computerized knowledge, they have thrived.

Cities around the world are investing in libraries as never before. In some instances, new libraries have created their own ‘Bilbao effect,’ changing the very image and perception of the community. The most celebrated example is that of Seattle, which famously hired Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to design its new branch. The result is one of the most original buildings of the 21st century. Most remarkable, it isn’t just another pretty face; it actually functions.
This blog item is excerpted from an article by Christopher Hume in the Toronto Star entitled “Librarians at the Gate.” The full article may be accessed here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Who Said the Book is Dead!

The first years of the 21st century have not been good ones for traditional media.

As more and more people, especially young people, flock online to get their information and their entertainment digitally, real-world TV and radio outlets, filmmakers and distributors, newspapers and the record industry have lost droves of clients and millions, if not billions, of dollars of business.

Case in point: digital piracy is shaving off 12 to 13 per cent of the United States’ total movie industry revenue, a real-world value of $20.5 billion, writes Andrew Keen, author of the Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture.

Yet, this Web 2.0 revolution has yet to totally savage the oldest of old-school media: books.

Spending on books in Canada actually increased by 23 per cent between 1997 and 2001, translating into an impressive $1.1 billion annually. Statistics are also showing that people in their teens, 20s and 30s – the folks quickest to jump on the Web and/or new media bandwagon – are still getting out there and buying books, graphic novels and other book-like media.

Furthermore, young North Americans are continuing to be fascinated by the whole spectrum of book culture, says Robert Demarais, Assistant Special Collections Librarian with the University of Alberta’s Bruce Peel Library.

‘Book-arts programs (courses in everything from book design, how to make paper, and how to run a letter-press) are enjoying a renaissance all over the place, even in high-tech centres like Seattle,’ he says.”

This blog item is excerpted from an article published in the Edmonton Journal by Gilbert Bouchard entitled “Ink on Paper is Just the Beginning of the Printed-Word Experience. For the full article please check here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Workshop: Making Chapbooks

Federation of B.C. Writers Workshop
Making Chapbooks: Book Art with Mona Fertig
Sunday, November 18th, 1 to 5pm.

Registration deadline: November 10
Class size limited to 14 - register early!
Cost (includes materials): $75 for Fed members, $90 for non-members.
Location: Alliance for Arts & Culture,
938 Howe Street, Vancouver.

Participants will create and produce four chapbooks, from simple chapbooks with a spine and French flaps to a more complex non-adhesive book art piece. These chapbooks can be used for self-publishing ideas, future limited editions, artist's books, journals or gifts for friends and family. No previous experience necessary but an ability to work with your hands an asset.

Paper, thread and needles supplied but participants will need to bring the following items to class: Exacto knife, scissors, glue stick, metal ruler, bone folder or letter-opener, self-healing cutting board or piece of thick cardboard to cut paper on.

From the Federation of BC Writers Website.

Alcuin Society Exhibit at the 2008

The Alcuin Society is very pleased to announce its participation at the upcoming Book Fair in Munich, Germany. The primary focus of this Fair will be Canadian books and publishers. The Society will supply the curator of the Fair's exhibition, Dr. Thomas Kraft, with copies of the winning books from both its 2005 and 2006 competitions, The Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada; these books will be displayed in a special exhibit at the Fair.

For a complete list of these books, and more information about The Alcuin Society and its competition, please check here.

The Alcuin Society is a Vancouver based non-profit society for the support and appreciation of books. In addition to the annual Book Design Competition, the Society publishes a quarterly journal, Amphora, and organizes workshops, lectures, exhibitions and field visits on various aspects of the book. For more information, please contact Leah Gordon, Alcuin Society Design Competition Committee Chair,, 604.732.5403.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Alcuin Citations Book Auction and Lunch

Each year we auction the previous year's submissions to the Alcuin Society's Competition for Excellence in Book Design in Canada; the funds raised help to finance next year's competition. This is an opportunity for some book buying bargains. Start your Christmas shopping early or buy something just for yourself, and while you're at
it, have an interesting and entertaining afternoon. You are encouraged to bring fellow book lovers, and everyone is welcome to participate in the auction even if you don't come for lunch.

This year's selection of books is exceptional, especially the children's and pictorial books. And don't forget: these are the books that Canadian publishers have selected as the most beautiful that they produced last year. As well as the 2006 books, we will also be auctioning our prizewinners published in 2005, all of which were displayed as the best of current Canadian book design at the recent international exhibitions in Frankfurt and Leipzig, Germany. There will also be a small number of this year's prizewinners. All of this takes place on:

Saturday, November 3, 2007

University Golf Club
5185 University Boulevard
Vancouver, British Columbia

Books will be available for viewing from 11:00 am

A Pasta Buffet Lunch will be served at 12:00 pm

$30.00 per person inclusive

Gary Sim Prints on Exhibit at Bob Prittie Library

(BURNABY, BC) – On display at the Bob Prittie Library, from September 17 to November 18, the Burnaby Art Gallery is very pleased to exhibit the linocut and vinyl cut prints of Gary Sim in this outreach exhibition: Coastal Range. The fourteen prints are the result of an early interest in printmaking revived in 2004 by illustrating for Amphora, the journal of the Alcuin Society.

An architectural technologist, art historian, writer, and illustrator, Gary Sim is an active member of the art community. He chairs the AIBC Gallery Advisory Committee, and is a member of Malaspina Printmakers Society and Federation of Canadian Artists. Living in Vancouver, where he was born, Gary pursues various interests in the art world including curating, and compiling material for his very comprehensive and ambitious ongoing publication Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890-1950. To learn more about Gary’s work and interests you can go to his website at

This fall you can take classes at Burnaby Art Gallery to learn the techniques involved in printmaking. The programs are designed to interpret works in our exhibitions with hands-on activities that focus on developing creativity and technical knowledge. Visit our webpage at or call 604.205.7332 for more information.

Bob Prittie Library, 6100 Willingdon Avenue, is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Call for holiday hours 604.436.5410.

The Burnaby Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. Call for holiday hours 604.205.7332. Admission is free.

Monday, September 03, 2007

But You Don’t Look Like a Librarian!

Speaking of librarians my good buddy Guy Robertson who has worked for years as a librarian and a disaster planner was recently denied access to the United States on the grounds that he “didn’t look like a librarian!” But let Guy explain:

“Shortly after Remembrance Day, I arrived at Vancouver’s bustling airport three hours before my flight to Jacksonville. I checked in at the airline counter and confirmed my seat. Then I strolled through the doors of U.S. Customs to apply for my work visa. Having spoken at length with the U.S. consulate in Vancouver, I did not anticipate problems in getting a visa, boarding my flight and delving into Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi as the aircraft took off. I carried with me what I believed to be adequate paperwork, including my old work visa, a new passport and a fat file of documents pertaining to my Jacksonville project.”

“The Customs officer who examined my paperwork seemed to distrust me immediately. He asked me a number of questions about my activities in the U.S., and scoffed at my answers. I couldn’t say anything to satisfy him. Then he said, ‘You tell me you’re a librarian. You don’t look like a librarian. No, you don’t. I’m refusing you entry to the United States.’ He sent me back to the airline counter, where a frazzled attendant told me that these days many people are turned back at the border.”

“ ‘It’s all about 9/11, you know. If the Customs boys don’t like you, they won’t let you through. I’m sorry sir.’ She sounded as though she often said the same thing to flustered, middle-aged men whose crime it was to look like something other than a librarian.”

This accords with one of my own recent experiences at the border. I was traveling down to my favorite used bookstore, Henderson's, in Bellingham, Washington. The border guard asked me the purpose of my trip. “I am going to Henderson's, a used bookstore in Bellingham.” “Why,” he inquired, “don’t they have used bookstores in Vancouver?”

One of Guy’s students in the library technician program at Langara College suggested that he might try the following the next time he attempts to board a plane to the U.S.:

“ ‘You’ve got to wear glasses,’ said Jessica. ‘Get a pair with a broken bridge between the lenses, and wrap the break with masking tape. Look dorky, but not dumb. And get some dandruff. It helps.’”

The full text of the article in online and may be accessed here, or just Google “Feliciter: Keeping Up Appearances.”

Are You Geeky Enough to be a Librarian?

Take this simple test to determine whether you have the stuff to make a potential librarian:

(1) You enjoy acronyms.

(2) You own a cat.

(3) When you are confronted with a pile of books you think, “Hmm…first I would sort by author, then by title?

(4) You are obsessive enough to appreciate the difference between 345.065 and 345.605.

(5) You possess a useless undergraduate degree.

(6) Being surrounded by books makes you lather with delight.

(7) The idea of someone preventing you from reading Orwell because they don’t like it strikes you as Orwellian.

(8) You are comfortable with the Internet.

(9) If your house caught on fire, one of the things you would grab is your favourite book.

(10) You possess a useless graduate degree.

(11) You can “daisy-chain a herd of Ubuntu boxes” faster than you can say “FreeBSD.”

(12) These kids today, you swear. If they would just read a damn book once in awhile, they wouldn’t be blowing each other up so much.

(13) You could find out the middle name of someone’s high-school boyfriend in just ten minutes on the Internet.

(14) You could find out the first line of A Tale of Two Cities with just ten seconds on the Internet.

(15) You know the first line of A Tale of Two Cities!

(16) You are a disenfranchised intellectual.

(17) The idea of arming the public with knowledge appeals to you more than, say, arming them with pitchforks and torches.

(18) You would rather do something cool than get rich.

(19) You possess a useless doctoral degree.

(20) You can say “Colon classification” without laughing.

--From Richard Hopkins

Saturday, July 21, 2007

In Memory of Chris Stern

In Memory of Chris Stern:
"You Told Me Once You Only Printed in Natural Light"

Maralyn Crosetto, Day Moon Press, and Mare Blocker have combined to produce a new limited edition broadside. It is being sold as a fund-raiser to help with the medical bills for the late Chris Stern. Chris Stern was a nationally-known fine press printer and teacher. He passed away last November. The image on the broadside depicts Chris and Jules' printing shop in the Skagit Valley, The Printing Farm.

Chris was a dear friend. We are honored to have copies of this wonderful broadside and to help with sales and distribution. The price of the broadside is $75. (A larger donation is, of course, welcome.)

Checks are preferred, made out to Jules Remedios Faye. Donations, along with a shipping address, can be sent to either:

  • Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers - 208 First Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104 - (206)682-3545, or

  • Day Moon Press 3320 Beacon Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98144

The broadsides can also be picked up at either location.

Maralyn Crosetto:
“I have some wonderful memories of sitting with Chris Stern on one porch or another, drinking coffee, eating his famous scones and talking about books, or printing or anything else in the world. Most of my memories, however, are of Chris at work. At work is where I could find him. Whether it was noon or midnight, that is where he would be.

The inspiration for this broadside comes from those many, many nights when Chris would be out in his and Jules' shop, working his magic with type, ink and paper. When I told Mare Blocker of my vision of the Printing Farm, glowing in the dark, she most graciously wrote the poem to accompany it.”

Maura Shapley, Day Moon Press:
“When Maralyn approached me with the idea of printing this piece, she hadn't started drawing yet. We decided early on certain practical matters: first, her comfortable image size and style determined which presses to use; then, parent sheet size led to finished size; proportions narrowed down type choices.

After scanning her pencil drawing, Jack used filters to translate it into a mezzotint-like image. A magnesium engraving was then made (locally, at Evergreen Engravers). Maralyn then cut the linoleum blocks for blue-grey and yellow, registering to the black proof. In one week, we had all three main presses tied up at once - the large Vandercook on black, the SP-15 on grey, and the 12 x 18 C&P on yellow - then again for both type passes - while Maralyn set type and remixed inks for the color balance, and I tweaked fit.

Maralyn and I have worked together on letterpress projects of all kinds for nearly thirty years, and somehow this was the smoothest and most satisfying of all.”

Jules Remedios Faye:
“When I learned that Maralyn Crosetto, Maura Shapley and Mare Blocker were collaboratively creating a broadside in Chris' memory, I was deeply touched. But when I visited Maura's shop to see this broadside for the first time, the tenderness of the image and the heartfelt words of the poem broke my heart open. The love and genuine affection this collaboration represents is deeply healing and inspiring.

After the hospital gave us a generous 80% charity deduction on the bills we incurred while Chris was in hospital, I am left with close to $30,000 in medical bills. 100% of the sales of this loving tribute to Chris will go toward paying those bills. This broadside is limited to 70 copies. The first 65 people who send $75 or more will receive one of these beautiful broadsides, which were lovingly letterpress printed by Maura and Maralyn and include an original image by Maralyn, accompanied with a poem by Mare. “

Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers is located in the historic Pioneer Square district of Seattle. Shop hours are Monday thru Saturday, 11-6pm.

Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers
208 First Avenue South
Seattle, Washington 98104
206.682.2391 (fax)
888.383.3631 (toll free)
Members ABAA, ILAB

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Announcing "Helvetica: The Film" -- August 7th

The Society of Graphic Designers, BC Mainland Chapter, and Metropolitan Fine Printers welcome you to the evening gala screening of the critically acclaimed documentary film Helvetica".

This special evening includes the film screening, after-party and post film discussion with Director Gary Hustwit, Douglas Coupland, and Jim Rimmer (hosted by VFS Digital Design).

Tuesday August 7th, 2007
Empire Granville 7 Cinema, 855 Granville Street

6:30 to 7:00 pm
Check-in & Admission

7:00 to 9:00 p.m
Film Screening and Q&A with Director and Special Guests.

9:00 to 9:30 p.m
Gala After-Party Hosted by GDC and Metropolitan Fine Printers (beer/wine/snacks)

$15 GDC members/students
$20 non-GDC members

For ticket information visit on
Wednesday, July 11 at 9am.

Barbara Hodgson talk

This just came across my desk from Rollin Millroy, proprietor of the Heavenly Monkey Press and editor of Amphora:

The very cool Barbara Hodgson will be giving a talk this Thursday 12 July at Emily Carr (north building, room 245, 7:30 pm) as part of the summer book arts program. She will be talking, with lots of slides, about her upcoming limited edition book, The Temperamental Rose. This is a book about color wheels. With her collaborator, the binder Claudia Cohen, the book reproduces versions of color studies from the past five centuries, and offers new and fanciful ways of seeing color. An introductory essay briefly explains the history of color, and each of the color charts is accompanied by explanatory text.

The text and color wheel outlines were printed letterpress from polymer plates by David Clifford. He completed work at the end of June, and Barbara is now immersed in all the hand coloring, embroidering and pop-up construction for the wheels.
The edition of 30 copies will be uniformly bound in a profusion of color and issued in a matching box, created by Claudia for this project, along with a set of six dry artists' pigments in small glass vials. It will be published this fall by Heavenly Monkey Editions, and has been fully subscribed for some time already. Barbara's talk will be a unique opportunity to get a personal tour through the book, and gain insights to her process for designing what will be her most ambitious book construction yet. She's an excellent speaker, and I urge you to attend. Afterwards we'll all retire to Ann Vicente's studio on the Island for drinx.

On Tues 17 July Paul Mazzucca, a typography instructor at EC, will be giving a talk. I don't know much about his work, but I believe he recently issued a letterpress book, and I saw a very cool digital color collage 'zine of his at Magpie Books on Commercial.

As a mark of how desperate they are this year, I will be sweeping up after Barbara & Paul at the same place, same time the following week (July 19). I will be talking about Iskandariya, the HM collaboration with EC alumna Briony Morrow-Cribbs and poet Brigit Pegeen Kelly. This "little" project has threatened to overtake all our lives, but we seem to have gained control in recent weeks, and through poor planning the the book probably will appear at about the same time as Barbara's. (Look for both at this fall's Alcuin Wayzgoose, Nov 17.) The talk will be about the very convoluted design process, over 18 months, that we all endured. With lots of slides, it will cover issues of design, construction, combining printing techniques and papers, and binding. It will also offer some insight to how a publisher/printer, artist, author, and binder - each in a different city - collaborate on a publication like this. (This talk will be based on the pamphlet being issued exclusively with the 15 deluxe Artist's Issue copies of the book.) You can see some details Iskandariya and Barbara's project here. I realize it's summer, and hopefully you're all busy with your own book projects, but FYI Briony did ask me to note down the names of those she knows who do not show up, so fair warning.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

If a Well-Designed Bookmark Doesn’t Work, Try Burning Your Bookstock

Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse [in Kansas City, Missouri] during the past 10 years he has run his used bookstore, Propsero’s Books.

His collection ranges from best sellers, such as Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October and Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, to obscure titles, like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn’t even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.

So on Sunday [May 27th, 2007], Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society’s diminishing support for the printed word.

‘This is the funeral pyre for thought in American today,’ Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.

The fire blazed for about 50 minutes before the Kansas City Fire Department put it out because Wayne didn’t have a permit for burning.

Wayne said the next time he will get a permit. He said he envisions monthly bonfires until his supply – estimated at 20,000 books – is exhausted.

For the rest of the story, by Associated Press writer David Twiddy, please see this site
or simply Google “Kansas City Book Burning.” For a picture of Tom Wayne in action please check here.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Read the Book, Contribute to the Cause

Masha Hamilton’s novel The Camel Bookmobile tells the story of a restless American librarian searching for more meaning in her life who travels to Africa to help start a library carry books to remote settlements on the backs of camels. The bookmobile divides the semi-nomadic people it intends to serve: Scar Boy, the village teacher Matani, and others embrace it, seeing it as a much needed taste of the outside world, while Matani’s wife, her father and others fiercely oppose it, viewing it – and the librarian herself – as a dangerous and corrupting force. The settlement disintegrates under these pressures, while the librarian learns that cultural chasms can confound the best of intentions and doom an unexpected love.

Masha Hamilton, is a journalist and the organizer of The Camel Book Drive, a real-life campaign to get books to Kenya’s mobile library. Though the subject of Hamilton’s novel The Camel Bookmobile, the camel-borne library actually exists. It operates from Garissa in Kenya’s isolated Northeastern Province near the unstable border with Somalia. With the publication of her novel, Hamilton decided to organize the Camel Book Drive, creating an easy process for booklovers to send their books to the real camel bookmobile in Northern Kenya.

Best-selling authors, agents, librarians, publishers, booksellers, businesses and readers have joined the drive both donating to the cause and helping to spread the word. More than 195 writers have signed up to participate in the Camel Book Drive including Michael Chabon, Isabel Allende, Maeve Binchy, Jeanette Winterson, Amy Tan, Neil Gaiman and Susan Cheever.

The camel bookmobile brings books to semi-nomadic people in Northeastern Kenya who live with the most minimal of possessions, suffering from chronic poverty and periodic drought. I visited the region during a period of drought and made several runs through the African bush with the bookmobile,” says Hamilton. “I cannot describe how moving it was to see the people, particularly children, crowding around as the traveling librarians set up a straw mat under an acacia tree and spread out the books. The excitement is palpable.
To learn how you can donate to the drive visit and

(From Richard Hopkins)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We’ll Have To Wait For The Movie I Guess

The bibliophilic musical The Rosenbach Company was presented as I understand it only four times in 2006 and then for one night only in 2007 at the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street on April 20th.

The musical, written by the graphic novelist Ben Katchor and composer Mark Mulcahy, is a “multi-media ‘chamber rock opera’ about the pleasures and perils of bibliomania,” according to press notes. Katchor created the projections and wrote the text and directed, while Mulcahy wrote the music and played one of the lead roles of Abe Rosenbach.

The musical chronicles the life of the brothers Abe and Philip Rosenbach, who were the famed dealers of rare books and antique artifacts. The piece was commissioned by the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia, a research center that holds the brothers’ personal collections of rare books and manuscripts. The brothers’ collection ranges from James Joyce’s Ulysses to John Tenniel’s original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland.

Some of the flavor of the production may be gleaned from two excerpts from a review by Seth Rogovoy:
There was a moment in the second act of The Rosenbach Company, probably about halfway through, when the clouds parted, the sky opened up, and it suddenly became crystal clear that this story ostensibly about two businessmen brothers in the early twentieth century in Philadelphia was about a lot more than the brothers: it was really a paean to the love of books – their look, smell, feel, even their taste. And more: the sense of love that books can inspire, the sense of the need for possession of a cherished object. But not just any object – books alone can truly inspire the sort of obsession that this show talked about, as bibliomania, because they combine an irrational obsession with something totally rational – a book , the printed words of an author, bound on pages between cloth covers. . . . Call it what you will – performance art, musical theater, avant-pop musical, or rock opera – The Rosenbach Company, which unfortunately will not be repeated, was undoubtedly one of the surprise hits of the summer season, transporting the small audience on hand to see it to another world full of laughter and genuine sentiment.
To read the rest of this excellent review please visit this site.

So its limited run very well means that we will all probably have to rely on a movie version eventually being produced. Any thoughts as to who would play the Rosenbach brothers, the more serious-minded, scholarly Abe Rosenbach and his more business-oriented, “dandyish” brother Philip? How about Mandy Patinkin for Abe and Elliot Gould for Philip?

(From Richard Hopkins)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Good Grief, More Bibliochic: High-Design Texts Or “Trophy Tomes”

As well as interior designers using books as objects of décor,
Publishers are also producing trophy tomes. These luxury limited editions are often massive, invariably encased in special boxes and bags, bedizened with baubles and dreamed up by high-profile fashion designers, architects and artists.

Last year, Penguin released a series of five Designer Classics to celebrate its diamond anniversary in Britain. Designers such as Paul Smith and Manolo Blahnik were invited to embellish their favourite Penguins. The limited editions of 1000 cost 100 [pounds each] – and sold out.

Mr. Smith’s version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover features a white silk slipcover, and lovingly embroidered floral pubic hair. Mr. Blahnik’s cover for Madam Bovary
is a sketched confection of frothy peignoir, fabulous footwear and a pair of groping hands reaching around the spine to goose Emma’s pert derriere.
The remainder of this readable article by Laura Penny and entitled “Guttenberg [sic] Goes Glam” may be found here.

(From Richard Hopkins)

Libraries Manage To Remain Progressive Even In Today’s Fast Changing World

Recent events in two leading world libraries show that libraries are indeed able to evolve successfully to meet current changes in the world. The first event was at the Bodleian Library at Oxford:

One of the remaining bastions of male domination has come crumbling down as one of the oldest libraries in Europe prepares to get to grips with the demands of the 21st century. For more than 400 years, the Bodliean Library – the main research library at the University of Oxford and the second largest in the UK after the British Library – has had a man at the helm. It has also never been run by anyone born outside these shores. But both of those taboos have been broken (Feb. 21, 2007), with the accession of [American] Dr. Sarah Thomas to the post of Bodleian Librarian.
For the remainder of the article please visit this site.

The second event was at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., an institution that turned 207 years old on April 24th, 2007. However, with the addition of the first-ever blog to its award-winning Web site, it quite possibly has never looked younger. Long a pioneer and leading provider of online content, with a Web site at that makes 22 million items available at the click of a mouse and receives 5 billion hits per year, the Library of Congress has launched its new blog at

For more information please click here.

(From Richard Hopkins)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Canadian books recognized at Leipzig competition

For Immediate Release
April 17, 2007

Frankfurt, Germany – The Stiftung Buchkunst, based in Frankfurt, Germany, and curators of the international exhibition “BEST BOOK DESIGN FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD” at the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs, selected the 2006 award-winners in an international competition in Leipzig in February, 2007. Those awards were presented at the Leipzig Book Fair on March 23, 2007.

The Stiftung has just released their short list of competitors for the awards. Of 545 books submitted by 34 countries, 63 titles were shortlisted, and 14 prizes selected. In addition to the Canadian winner of a bronze medal (ANOUK PENNEL and RAPHAËL DEAUDELIN (Feed), designers of L’Appareil (Les Éditions de la Pastèque)), three additional Canadian designers were honoured to be among the remaining 49 shortlisted books:

JESSICA SULLIVAN, designer of Crows : Encounters with the Wise Guys of the Avian World by Candace Savage (Greystone Books, Vancouver, BC)

APOLLONIA ELSTED, designer of Emily : Opposites Attract : Poems of Emily Dickinson, by Emily Dickinson (Horse Whisper Press, Mission, BC)

CRISPIN ELSTED, designer of Il Bosco dei tamarindi = The Tamarind Wood = Le Bois des tamariniers by Carlo Toselli (Barbarian Press, Mission, BC).

The 36 Canadian books on exhibit, which were participants in the international competition, were submitted by The Alcuin Society to the Stiftung. These books were the winners of the 2005 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada, held in April, 2006. This entire collection has now been donated to the German Book and Type Museum in Leipzig, where it will be available for consultation and exhibitions. The 34 winners of this year’s Alcuin Society competition will be forwarded to the Stiftung later this summer.

For more information, please contact Leah Gordon, Alcuin Society Design Competition Committee Chair,, 604.732-5403.

Monday, April 09, 2007

ABEBooks 2006 Year in Review

Check out the AbeBooks website for a number of interesting features that reflect back on book sales over the past year. Click on ABE Books Year in Review:
  • Most Expensive Books Sold – Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince was 7th on the list
  • Most Searched for Books – The Da Vinci Code was 2nd – what in the heck was first?
  • Most Searched for Authors – Stephen King and Ernest Hemingway were 1st and 2nd
  • Bestselling Used Books – A signed, first edition of the Da Vinci Code will set you back a cool $4,000
  • Overall Bestselling Books – The Da Vinci Code raises its persistent little head again!
(From Richard Hopkins)

Bibliochic with the “Bibliochaise”

"If you read a lot of books and your house is full of them, the Bibliochaise is an extremely useful item, and a good asset for your living room." So says the advertising blurb for this bibliophilic chair. "The Bibliochaise is a different kind of chair, designed for people who love to read and want to keep their favourite books close at hand. This Italian designed armchair library was first shown at the Salone del Mobile 2006 in Milan. The Home model measures 40.16 X 33.46 X 28.94 inches and has 16:40 feet of space to store your books and manuals. the chair can be customized with your favourite colours, and the replaceable cushion covers also have six different colour options, so you can match the style of your house. The Contract chair is a bigger model, and is made out of your choice of wood, with leather cushions. If you have thousands of books in your house, the Bibliochaise is not only a great way to keep them close, but it also looks comfortable enough for you to read them while you are sitting on it. Not to mention that this chair is going to be a huge success with your friends when you throw your next party, especially for those who are also book lovers."

To see pictures of this curious gadget please go to here or here.

Can this be the answer to public library seating and shelving problems? Can it be the long-looked for answer to your own decorating and book storage issues? Will you become the chic-est member of your book club?

(From Richard Hopkins)

Alcuin Society picks best-looking books of 2006

For Immediate Release
April 3, 2007

Vancouver, BC - The Alcuin Society has announced the winners of its 25th annual Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada. The judges (Alan Brownoff (University of Alberta Press, Edmonton), book designer, artist, and teacher; Jan Elsted (Barbarian Press, Mission, BC), letterpress printer and teacher; and Glenn Goluska (Imprimerie Dromadaire, Montreal), book designer, typographer, and letterpress printer) selected 34 winning titles from 252 entries; 96 publishers from 9 provinces participated.

The winning books will be exhibited internationally at the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs, and, in Canada: in Halifax; Wolfville (NS); Montréal; Ottawa; Toronto; Edmonton; Vancouver; and Victoria (BC).

First prize: ROBIN MITCHELL [Hundreds and Thousands], designer of When You Were Small by Sara O’Leary (Simply Read Books)
Second prize: ANDRÉE LAUZON, designer of L’Envers de la chanson by André Leblanc (Les 400 Coups)
Honourable mentions: KAREN POWERS, designer of Casey at the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer (Kids Can Press); ROBIN MITCHELL [Hundreds and Thousands], designer of One Winter Night by Jennifer Lloyd (Simply Read Books); and ANDRÉE LAUZON, designer of Philou, architecte et associés by Sophie Gironnay (Les 400 Coups).

First prize: JIM ROBERTS & ROBERT MAJZELS, designer of Apikoros Sleuth by Robert Majzels (Moveable Inc.)
Second prize: DAWNA ROSE, designer of Smoking With My Mother by Dawna Rose (JackPine Press)
Third prize: JASON DEWINETZ, designer of Residual by Souvankham Thammavongsa (Greenboathouse Books)
Honourable mention: LAURENT PINABEL, designer of La Nature humaine en 36 états by Laurent Pinabel (Les Éditions de la nature humaine).

First prize: GEORGE VAITKUNAS, designer of B.C. Binning by Abraham J. Rogatnick, Ian M. Thom & Adele Weder (Douglas & McIntyre)
Second prize (tie): TOMASZ WALENTA, designer of L’Ombre du doute by Lino (Les 400 Coups); and JESSICA SULLIVAN, designer of Manawa : Pacific Heartbeat by Nigel Reading & Gary Wyatt (Douglas & McIntyre)
Third prize: PETER COCKING, designer of Arthur Erickson : Critical Works by Nicholas Olsberg & Ricardo L. Castro (Douglas & McIntyre)
Honourable mentions: GEORGE VAITKUNAS, designer of Arctic Spirit by Ingo Hessel (Douglas & McIntyre); and ROBIN MITCHELL [Hundreds and Thousands], designer of SweaterLodge by Christopher MacDonald & Greg Bellerby (Simply Read Books/BlueImprint).

Second prize (tie): TIM INKSTER, designer of The Book of Were by Wayne Clifford (The Porcupine’s Quill); and BILL KENNEDY, designer of Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists by A. Rawlings (Coach House Books)
Third prize (tie): ANDREW STEEVES, designer of Fathom by Tim Bowling (Gaspereau Press Limited); and ANNE-MAUDE THÉBERGE, designer of L’Oiseau, le vieux-port et le charpentier by Michel van Schendel (L’Hexagone)
Honourable mention: ZAB DESIGN & TYPOGRAPHY, designer of Good Meat by Dani Couture (Pedlar Press).

First prize JESSICA SULLIVAN, designer of A Good Death by Gil Courtemanche, translated by Wayne Grady (Douglas & McIntyre)
Third prize: KAREN KLASSEN [cover] & HEIMAT HOUSE [interior], designers of Sugar Bush by Jenn Farrell (Anvil Press)
Honourable mention: CS RICHARDSON, designer of Fabrizio’s Return by Mark Frutkin (Knopf Canada).

First prize: ANDREW STEEVES & ROBERT BRINGHURST, designers of The Tree of Meaning by Robert Bringhurst (Gaspereau Press Limited).

First prize: PETER COCKING & NAOMI MACDOUGALL, designers of Saltwater City by Paul Yee (Douglas & McIntyre)
Second prize: ROXANA ZEGAN, designer of Mars et Avril, t.II by Martin Villeneuve (Les Éditions de la Pastèque & Diesel)
Third prize: NAOMI MACDOUGALL & PETER COCKING, designers of A Canadian Saturday Night by Andrew Podnieks (Greystone Books)
Honourable mentions: ROBERTO DOSIL, designer of A Road for Canada by Daniel Francis (Stanton Atkins & Dosil); GEORGE VAITKUNAS, designer of Unsettling Encounters, by Gerta Moray (UBC Press); and ELISA GUTIÉRREZ, designer of Towards an Ethical Architecture by Alberto Pérez-Gomez, Christopher Grabowski, Helena Grdadolnik, Jim Green & May So (Simply Read Books/BlueImprint).

First prize: NAOMI MACDOUGALL & PETER COCKING, designers of Vij’s : Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine by Vikram Vij & Meeru Dhalwala (Douglas & McIntyre)
Second prize: SHARON KISH, designer of Piano, Piano, Pieno by Susan McKenna Grant (HarperCollins)
Third prize: INGRID PAULSON, designer of Faces on Places by Terry Murray (House of Anansi Press)
Honourable mention: JESSICA SULLIVAN & PETER COCKING, designers of Hiking the West Coast of Trail by Tim Leadem (Greystone Books).

* Some prizes not awarded in these categories.

The Alcuin Society is a Vancouver based non-profit society for the support and appreciation of fine books. In addition to the annual Book Design Competition, the Society publishes a quarterly journal, Amphora, and organizes lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and field visits on various aspects of the book.

For more information, please contact Leah Gordon, Alcuin Society Design Competition Committee Chair,, 604.732-5403.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lemon Hound’s Sina Queyras Visits West Coast for Two Great Readings

March 15 – 17 — Vancouver Goes to the Dogs:
Lemon Hound’s Sina Queyras Visits West Coast for Two Great Readings

In mid-March, the Vancouver literary scene is going to the dogs. Sina Queyras, author of the acclaimed book, Lemon Hound, visits Van City for two readings as part of her West Coast tour. On March 15, Queyras teams with satirist and MAC Farrant, author of Darwin Alone in the Universe and the new The Breakdown So Far (Talonbooks) for a night author of stellar literary entertainment at the UBC Robson Square Bookstore (800 Robson Street). Then, on March 17– St. Patrick’s Day – celebrate the luck of the Irish with the decidedly non-gaelic Sina Queyras, as she reads as the featured author in the Kootenay School of Writing’s reading series at Spartacus Books (319 West Hastings).

Sina Queyras and MAC Farrant at UBCRobson Reading Series
Thursday, March 15, 7:00 p.m.
UBC Robson Square Bookstore, 800 Robson Street

The Kootenay School of Writing presents Sina Queyras
Saturday, March 17, 8:00 p.m.
Spartacus Books, 319 West Hastings


About Lemon Hound:

This is a poetry not of snapshots or collages but of long-exposed captures of the not-so-still lives of women. One The Wavesby attempting to untangle its six sequence imagines Virginia Woolf’s childhood; another unmakes her novel The Waves by attempting to untangle its six overlapping narratives. Yet another, 'On the Scent,' makes us flâneurs through the lives of a series of contemporary women, while 'The River Is All Thumbs' uses a palette of vibrant repetition to 'paint' a landscape.

Queyras’s language – astute, insistent, languorous – repeats and echoes until it becomes hypnotic, chimerical, almost halluncinatory in its reflexivity. How lyrical can prose poetry be? How closely can it mimic painting? Sculpture? Film? How do we make a moment firm? These ‘postmodern,’ ‘postfeminist’ poems pulse between prose and poetry: the line, the line, they seem to ask, must it ever end?

A lovely balance between lyricism and experimentalism, all the whlie unfolding a fierce intellectual and imaginative 'engagement with the work of Virginia Woolf ... She takes a hypnotic, almost hallucinatory approach, and succeeds.' –The Globe and Mail

Sina Queyras is the author of the poetry collections Slip and Teethmarks. Recently she edited Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets, for Persea Books. Queyras is also the co-curator of Manhattan’s belladonna* reading series, series featuring experimental women’s writing. She lives in Philadelphia and teaches creative writing at Haverford College.

LEMON HOUND | SINA QUEYRAS | APRIL 2006 | 112 PP | $16.95 | ISBN 1 55245 167 4

For review copies or media requests, contact Evan Munday at 416 979 2217 or

(From a Coach House Books press release)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Canadian book wins award at Leipzig competition

Frankfurt, Germany – The Stiftung Buchkunst, based in Frankfurt, Germany, and curators of the international exhibition "BEST BOOK DESIGN FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD" at the Frankfurt and Leipzig Book Fairs, selected the 2006 award-winners in an international competition in Leipzig in February, 2007. These awards will be presented at the Leipzig Book Fair on March 23, 2007.

The Stiftung has just released the names of the winners. Of 545 books submitted by 33 countries, 14 titles received prizes (the "Goldene Letter", one gold medal, two silver medals, five bronze medals and five Honorary Appreciations). Two Canadian designers were honoured for their book with a bronze medal:

ANOUK PENNEL and RAPHAËL DEAUDELIN, designers of L’Appareil (Les Éditions de la Pastèque)

The 35 Canadian books on exhibit, which were participants in the international competition, were submitted by The Alcuin Society to the Stiftung. These books were the winners of the 2005 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada, held in March, 2006. This entire collection has now been donated to the German Book and Type Museum in Leipzig, where it will be available for consultation and exhibitions.

For more information, please contact Leah Gordon, Alcuin Society Design Competition Committee Chair,, 604.732-5403.