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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring Sale

Spring is here!  This is a very beautiful time of year in Seattle, with blossoming trees and flowers, bright green grass and new leaves, lots of bird activity, and alternating sun and rain, or both at the same time.

In honor of spring, and as a method of doing some spring cleaning to make room on our full shelves, Pistil Books is having a 20% Off Sale through the month of April for all books ordered directly from us.

We have many books on springtime activities like gardening, and outdoor recreation.  Our entire inventory is included in the sale, however.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Oulipo George Washington

Oulipo is a group of French writers (from the first letters of Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, "workshop of potential literature"), founded in the sixties, who use structural writing constraints to create their work.  The constraints used are often mathematical - for instance, in a poem written using the "snowball" technique, the first line is one word long, the second line has two words, and so on.

But wait, here is a presidential biography for children from 1893, far ahead of its time:

Life of George Washington in Words of One Syllable.

George is depicted on the cover standing in a very small boat with a couple other guys standing also, wearing funny hats and crossing some river full of very large chunks of ice.  
 First interior color plate shows a young pansy with a frilly neck-tie, axe at feet, a skinny tree half cut to his left, being scolded by a large man dressed in tights with a bow in his hair hiding a riding crop from boy's view. 
Almost the entire book is written in one syllable words; when they are more they are hy-phen-ate-ed, so you can learn the lies and whitewashed untruths of our beleagured nation one quarter word at a time.  

Nice cigarette burn on cover as mom refreshed her martini putting little Tommy to bed.  Cursive inscription inside front cover "... from Grammer, Sept. 1974."  Apparently the world was bathed in innocence at this time.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Found In Books

Usually I feature a number of items in my "Found In Books" posts, but this time my latest find warrants its own post.  This piece of ephemera is double-sided.  On the first side is a page from a grammar test, appropriately titled (from a bookseller's point of view), "Getting Words in the Right Order."  I know I sometimes have trouble with that.
Our intrepid test-taker seems to have answered all questions on this page correctly, as the green check mark attests, but his total score is only 70% (remember, we have only one page of the test).  Could you have answered this question:  "What is a nominative absolute, and does it have to be edited?"   Huh?

But it is on the reverse side of the test form that the true talents and skills of our student are revealed:

Sissies Rule!

Friday, January 24, 2014

"Land, Sea or Air-- springs take you there."

We recently came across a book of bound magazines for the spring (yes, like a slinky) industry from the 1940's-1960's, called The Mainspring  ("Published in the interest of a better understanding of the design and application of springs in mechanical progress." )

You wouldn't think that there's all that much that could be said about springs, especially over twenty years in a regularly published periodical.  Wrong!
The Mainspring features beautiful graphics with vibrantly colored backgrounds, and often shows spring humor.
A spring cocktail?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

As Seen on 60 Minutes

On the Abebooks' booksellers' forum there's been a discussion of the recent announcement by Amazon that they plan to use drones to deliver packages.  One person posted this: