Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Art of the Book: Kingdom Books Celebrates!

With the passing of the Stinehour Press this spring, and thus the local gathering place for typographers and book designers each summer, Kingdom Books has been at a bit of a loss on how to schedule the usual Fine Press Appreciation Day! But I don't want to give up our tradition, which was designed to overlap the gathering anchored by Rocky Stinehour. So -- we'll celebrate online this month, with some pieces to recognize this year's achievements in the field, as well as ongoing work by artists of the book.

For readers who are new to the notion, the term "book arts" refers to the visual and tactile object of the book itself -- the way that the structure, pages, and exterior are designed to complement the interior text and illustrations. The idea is to "see" the book itself as worth attention.

Nicholas Basbanes has been writing about books and their collectors through many volumes now; Dave's and my favorite is A GENTLE MADNESS, which wanders irresistibly through the shelves and lives of bibliophiles. Basbanes is currently working on a history of the Yale University Press, and simultaneously on a book on paper -- the distinguisher between the Kindle's electronic presentation, and the objects we my still love to trundle along with us on vacations, into armchairs, and at last to bed for the subtle relaxation of reading before sleep.

Even Basbanes and his work cross over into the newly globalized electronic world, though, and here's a marvelous example: There's a long, delicious article on him this month in THE HINDU, the online edition of India's national newspaper. It's in English, and well written: http://www.hindu.com/lr/2008/08/03/stories/2008080350390800.htm. Do take a look!

Kingdom Books continues to add Basbanes material, which can be easily seen by following our web-site link to our listings at ABEBooks.com and placing "Basbanes" in the author slot. Even more fun: use the web site link here, click on "Browse & Buy Books" to get the ABE portal, and place "fine press" in the keywords slot.

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