*A Collection of Antiquarian Curios & Relics*
"So long ago was it in a dream, was it just a dream?
I know, yes, I know, seemed so very real, It seemed so real to me . . ."
--John Lennon, #9 Dream
Paper. Paper and ink. First there were wedge shapes on tablets of clay, brought to you in cuneiform from some backward burg called Ur and bound between two rivers. Papyrus practicality, illustrated by Moses / Mel Brooks walking down the Mount in the 'History of the World: Part 1', problematic tablets, he said, "The Lord Jehovah has given you fifteen . . . Oy! Ten! Ten commandments for you to obey!" And then like X-Files black oil, the ink snakes onto papyrus sheets, ensconced in hidey holes in the Alexandrian library; it's rolled into tubes and then morphed into pipes, pumping, pumping knowledge into eye sockets. Electrical cords masquerading as words. Finally, Gutenberg raises his ink-stained hands towards the sky and exalts, "Eureka!", and mumbles to himself, "What have I wrought?"
This! I've had two new favourite books this week, and they're both quirky. They were both originally web sites, and as sure as Giorgio Tsoukalos is convinced it was aliens, so they shall be quirky. The title says it all for Kat Su's Crap Taxidermy (9781607748205) 12.99. I could not help but think of Steve Carell in 'Dinner for Schmucks' when I saw that there is a chapter on How To Stuff Your Own Mouse. I also believe there were no wiser words written than: Do not rupture the poop sack. It won't be a bestseller; however, the other title, Randall Munroe's What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (9780544272996) 24.00 already is. This book was written specifically for most men (and probably a few women, too). What guy hasn't wondered, 'Is it possible to build a jetpack using two downward-firing machine guns?' (Spoiler alert: It is possible.) And since this title is already a bestseller, I may have to remove the 'quirky' appellation.
As obvious as Empress Theodora starring in 'Leda and the Swans', new celebrity children's books will hit the holiday bestseller lists. Keith Richard(s) and his daughter, Theodora, have written and illustrated respectively Gus & Me (9780316320658) 18.00. With a cigarette performing pirouettes on the tips of his fingers, Keef was on The Today Show and The Tonight Show yesterday. And fresh from playing David Foster Wallace in a movie that may never be released, Renaissance man Jason Segel had time to write the first book in his middle reader trilogy, Nightmares! (9780385744256) 16.95.
And finally, Ken Follett should heartily thank the Chinese for the invention of paper made from mulberry and bast fibres. I cannot imagine how many clay tablets it would have taken to hold his latest and final book in The Century Trilogy, Edge of Eternity (9780525953098) 36.00. Paper and ink. Paper.
Odds & Sods
Onyx, that lovable Coast Guard scamp is back! In the fourth book in The Adventures of Onyx series, The Angels in the Air (9780989284539) 14.99 by Tyler Benson, our beloved black lab is on a routine helicopter patrol out of Traverse City. Unfortunately, a sailboat has capsized on Lake Michigan and a mother and daughter are stranded in the water. 'There's no need to fear, Onyx is here!'
And the new Guinness Book of World Records 2015 (9781908843630) 28.95 was released this week. You know you will sell x-amount of this title every year, so check your stock. My lasting impression of this book is the photo of the two largest twin brothers astride two motorcycles. You know the one . . .