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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Pistil Photo Essay

Here's a look into a small online book business.


Our entrance off the alley.
Meet Whiskey, our new bookstore kitty, age 5 months.



Stacks waiting to be shelved.











Sean's stack of books to read on his desk.




Recycled blank books and toaster boy.

Artwork by James Koehnline, R. Crumb, and Jon Strongbow.
Bookmark collection and tiny books.
Plenty of reading material in the throne room.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Found in Books - Spring 2020 Edition

It's spring cleaning time, and time to empty our "Found in Books" folder and start anew.


This time we have some of the old standbys--  bookmarks, invitations, photographs, boarding passes, transit tickets, receipts, drawings--  plus some new book inserts that we haven't seen before:  computer programming cards, an information request card for "Nuclear Diodes, Inc."






Postcards, early computer printout, bar mitzvah invitation, drawing of train on tracing paper, and pamphlet for the Sixth International Congress of Radiation Research.



There was also a pink note stuck into a book titled, Mud Pies & Other Recipes that said, "I always thought it was a waste of good pie in a  pie throwing but I would enjoy seeing this one, wouldn't you?"

A note on the back of this owl/deer/heart artwork says, "For the best couple ever."



"After seeing children in grammar school at play, doing very active activities, I've come to the conclusion that childrens wear can be very simple and still have that 'darling' look."  This paper titled  "Field Trip to Grammar School" received an "A".

This Dodge Dart was serviced regularly with detailed record-keeping.



Someone had a very large and carefully-kept Agnes Moorehead clipping collection.



Agnes, Baby!  She was Endora on "Bewitched."


Friday, March 20, 2020

Pistil's Recycled Blank Books and Filmmaker Sam Green

I  have been busy making blank books and journals out of old library books and school books.    The first step in the process is to take apart the old book, using an exacto knife to carefully remove the text block, then comes cutting blank paper to make pages of the same size and thickness.  The fun part is choosing pages from the deconstructed book to leave interspersed among the blank pages - these are often illustrations, or pages with cool ex-library marks like a perforated name stamp.

After the paper has been cut, I glue the blank pages together (perfect binding) using a metal brush to rough up the paper fibers before applying PVA bookbinding adhesive.  I also drills holes along the edge of the binding and sews the text block for added strength, adding decorative headbands and ribbon bookmark.

Finally, I glue the newly formed blank text blocks back inside the old bindings.

One of our most loyal customers for our sketchbook-sized recycled blank books is filmmaker Sam Green.  


Here's Sam with his most recent re-bound blank book.


Sam says,

I have been buying rebound blank books from Pistil Books for years now. I am a huge fan and always tell everyone I know how great they are. I am a documentary filmmaker and I use these books to organize my life. I am decidedly analogue - I know - but it works for me. Every day, I start a new page and list the emails and calls I have to make on one side of the page and a schedule for the day on the other. I also put notes in the books. My monthly financial accounting. Photographs. I paste a calendar in the back. I have dozens and dozens of finished books, and long after the cloud is gone and all your cell phone photos have evaporated, I will still have a record of my days thru these books! They are super sturdy and wonderfully made, and totally unique. I love Amy's books and hope to be able to buy one every couple of months for the rest of my life!


A filmmaker's notebook.
Sam Green's working calendar.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Pistil Books Presents an Evening of Film and Music with Lori Goldston

Cellist Lori Goldston accompanies the surrealist film
The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928, France)




The Seashell and the Clergyman is an early experimental silent film, directed by queer radical feminist Germaine Dulac in 1928. At the time of its release it was banned by the British Board of Film Censors, who declared it was  "apparently meaningless" but "If there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable”. 

Presented with an original live score by cellist/composer Lori Goldston, who has performed live soundtracks around the world as a soloist, and with ensembles including old-time Seattle fixture the Black Cat Orchestra.

"Germaine Dulac was involved in the avant garde in Paris in the 1920s. Both The Smiling Madame Beudet (1922) and The Seashell and the Clergyman are important early examples of radical experimental feminist filmmaking, and provide an antidote to the art made by the surrealist brotherhood. The latter film, an interpretation of Anton Artaud’s book of the same name, is a visually imaginative critique of patriarchy – state and church – and of male sexuality. On its premiere, the surrealists greeted it with noisy derision, calling Dulac 'une vache'."  [British Film Institute]

Saturday, December 14 on Capitol Hill
$10 suggested to musician

RSVP to pistil@pistilbooks.net
and you will receive an email with address and time on 
the day before this event.
(Space is limited to 40 people, with 25 chairs, 

the rest standing/sitting on floor.)

You are invited to bring a beverage and/or snack to share.
 Hope to see you here!

Amy and Sean
206-323-9370
Pistil Books Online

Holiday Sale - 20% off all books, now through Dec. 15.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Concrete Poetry

Concrete poetry is a form of poetry in which the visual typographic display of words and letters on the page make up the meaning of the poem, rather than the verbal significance.  We recently acquired this anthology of concrete poetry, inscribed by the editor, Richard Kostelanetz:

Imaged Words & Worded Images (Outerbridge & Dienstfrey: 1970)    


This poem doesn't have words or even letters.

The Getty website has an introduction to concrete poetry with examples, including an audio recording.

Friday, November 8, 2019

R.I.P. Filthy


Filthy “Bossy” Cloud-of-Fur Carlson-Candiotti,   
April 2002 - October 22, 2019

On the prowl for action in the 'hood.

It is with heavy hearts that we note the passing of our beloved cat of hearth and bookstore, Filthy, a.k.a. Mr. Filth, The Filth, and Keeger-Catz.  

Filthy arrived in our home seventeen and a half years ago, brought to us in a Fiat X19 convertible all the way from Cannon Beach, Oregon by Pistil Books’ photographer Kam, where he was born to his all-white mother and lived with his calico sister.  Filthy’s early kittenhood was spent at his birth home with a sixteen year-old girl who named him Sugar, not realizing his true dirty nature.

The majestic Dr. Filth was a commanding presence

In a presentation to the Prince of Punjabi












Upon his arrival at our home in Seattle as a kitten, Filthy settled into life with us quickly.  He earned his true name by climbing around parked cars, decorating his white fur with spots of grease.  He sometimes liked to wear pink stripes of food coloring.  His first book was a Random House Collegiate Dictionary, the corners of which he gnawed.  He also liked archy & mehitabel, The Life of Pi, and The Jungle Book.  He enjoyed graphic novels, but not Maus.


Waiting at the bookstore bathroom sink

A genuine Renaissance kitty, Filthy not only had a career as a bookstore cat, but he was also a healing arts practitioner.  A master at balancing auras and aligning chakras, he conducted his Treatments free of charge next to the fireplace where he would position himself carefully upon the chest of the reclining patient and take mental and physical possession of their torso.  Filthy’s relaxing energy transference Treatments opened the heart centers of his patients and restored vitality.  He was also skilled at claw acupuncture.

Filthy loved water and could often be found meditating next to the sink, in the sink, in the bathtub, and practicing the running-water-staring-ritual.

A true leader, he commanded his followers and servants with gentle force.  He was a natural teacher and never gave up in his attempts to train even the most dense students in the ways of door opening, faucet turning, and food presentation.


Filthy always welcomed guests and home exchangers into his/our home and was known for his intelligence, humor, affection, and gracious hospitality:

Their cat was as friendly as can be and I would stay here again just to say hi to Filthy (that's the cat's name) -- Kyle

Filthy, the cat, visited me every day, and we became friends I think by the end of my stay. -- Yuliya

A beautiful home, beautiful hosts, and a loving cat! -- Ariana

We enjoyed our visits with Filthy the cat! -- Kerry

We spent most of the time in this place wondering how we'd lucked out with this décor, these bookshelves, this kitchen, this freaking cat (who is much cleaner and cuter than the name "Filthy" would lead you to believe).-- Yossef

Expect a cat to be hanging around.-- Peter

A noble soul, he will remain with us.
After a long and happy relationship with his human friends, Filthy went on to his second or ninth life.  He is buried in the front garden in his old hang-out spot next to the front porch where he napped in summer and regularly greeted us upon our return home.  According to a condolence card the vet sent to us, “Filthy will always be watching over you so remember to smile and think positively.”

Filthy is survived by the feline neighbors, Max and Zoe, and by his many human friends, Sean, Amy, Troy, Kam, Barbara, Andrew, David, and Jackie, to name just a few.

Portrait of  The Filth by Barbara Pronsato.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Pistil Books’ Annual Outdoor Book Sale - This Saturday

Pistil Books’ Annual Outdoor Book Sale
Saturday, August 31
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1415 E. Union on Capitol Hill
Hundreds of books in all categories, including fiction, science,
history, poetry, art, how-to, biographies, and more.  Many like new.
Paperbacks $1, Hardbacks $2
Free lemonade!
Will be re-scheduled in the event of rain.