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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Sleeping Princess: Camera Studies By Gordon Anthony

This adorable kitty photo is from a book called The Sleeping Princess, which is a photographic record of Sadler's Wells Ballet's 1939 production of Tchaikovsky's ''Sleeping Princess'' based on ''The Sleeping Beauty'', under the direction of Nicolas Segueeff and starring Margot Fonteyn and Robert Helpmann.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pistil Books Annual Outdoor Book Sale - August 26

Saturday, August 26
10 am to 4 pm
1415 E. Union, in the alley

on Capitol Hill in Seattle

More books than ever - around 2,000 books in all categories including fiction, science, history, art,
music, nature, do-it-yourself, poetry. Many like new.

Paperbacks $1, Hardbacks $2

Free lemonade!

(Will be re-scheduled if raining.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Plants and Their Children

This lovely book from 1896 is a child's reading book about plants.

According to the author, "A child's reading book , it seems to me, should secure for the child three things,--practice in the art of reading, amusement, and instruction."

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pleasing Pastedowns

Here are some more visually appealing endpapers:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Engaging Endpapers

Endpapers are the leaves of paper fixed to the inside of the front and the back cover of a book.  Often endpapers are blank, sometimes they are colored, but best of all they are decorated.  A common decoration is a map.  Marbled endpapers are often seen in older books, especially those with decorative bindings.  Or endpapers may be illustrated with scenes from the book.

Here are a few examples of engaging endpapers that have passed our way recently.

From "The Fantasy of Pieter Brueghel."
From "The Friendly Beasts", illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov.

From "The Red Pony."

From "Bedtime Stories", a 1951 Junior Elf book.

Map endpapers from "Moonraker or The Female Pirate and Her Friends."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Making an Orchestra

This week, your correspondent cut up a first edition signed copy of 1931's Making an Orchestra by Dorothy Berliner Commins.  How could he do it? Only because someone in the 30's had already begun the cutting!  He was simply completing a work in progress.  And what a work-- kind of a cross between an obsessive-compulsive disorder (not that there is anything wrong with that) and a Kafka novel (ditto).

Printed on good-quality paper that hasn't been seen since the war, this book features drawings of all the members of a standard symphony orchestra, and a few outliers, meant to be cut out and pasted onto a diagram, where they stand up with the maestro at their head.

Delightfully, every string section is made up entirely of clones.  Also, there is only one horn player, though even Haydn used two, and Mahler generally required eight.  But, there is one of every percussion instrument.  There is even a basset horn, which apparently is an alto clarinet, and is certainly arcane by today's standards.  But then, so is the orchestra getting to be.

Noteworthy is that there is not one woman, not even playing harp (a notoriously feminine instrument-- or perhaps of undetermined gender, like the angels that traditionally play it).

Ms. Commins was a pianist and the author of several books.  She lived until the ripe age of 102. Times may have changed since the 1930's, but Making an Orchestra lives on, now in 3 dimensions.

--written by Kam

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Museum of Weird Books: The Poodle

It is no surprise that man's best friend has many volumes devoted to him/her/it.

Nonetheless, with the passage of time, certain tomes achieve the status required for incorporation in Pistil's Museum of Weird Books. To wit:  Poodle Books.

The Poodle, 1984 incarnation:

Has the poodle had its day?  In 2017, your correspondent judges that the soi disant Labradoodle is more   popular than his sire.

To contemporary eyes, the poodle of 1971 looks like a marshmallow confection (and that goes for the moustaches of the poodle handlers as well).

The poodle of 1966 looks like certain big-haired celebrities we can all call to mind.

The future of poodle books?  It is too early to speculate.  Maybe the poodle will have a comeback, sporting the sophisticated, digital- and laser-cuts of the 21st century.

Au revoir, Fifi!