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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Interesting Endpapers

Endpapers are "the double leaves added to the book by the binder that become the pastedowns [because they are glued to the back of the covers] and free [not glued] endpapers inside the front and rear covers." (Definition from IOBA Book Terminology.)

Most endpapers in modern books are blank white pages, but they can be decorative, colored, or printed with something having to do with the contents of the book, as in the endpapers pictured here from  a book called Spiders by Michael Chinery.  The images of a multi-eyed beast marching across these pages depict "movements from the balletic courtship dance of a jumping spider."  The author goes on to explain the spider's sex life, but you'll have to read the book for that.  I'll just give you this little tidbit:  "With both palps charged, the male is ready for action." Yow.

Here are some more examples of endpaper design:
From Mother West Wind's Neighbors by Thornton W. Burgess (1913).
From A New Path to the Waterfall by Raymond Carver (1989).

From Trees, Shrubs and Flowers to Know in Washington by C.P. Lyons (1956).
From The Devil Wagon in God's Country by Michael L. Berger (1979).
From a German book called Michelangelo by Fritz Knapp (1907).

From Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski (1946).

Reading Notes

As usual, I've been reading about five books at once, but I actually completed two of them.

The Last of the Live Nude Girls:  A Memoir by Sheila McClear (Soft Skull Press, 2011), as the title states, is the story of a stripper in New York City's Times Square peep shows  in 2006.  It's a fast read, kind of like Retail Hell for bookstore clerks, in that it describes interactions with annoying "customers", but naked.  And so worse.  One thing I noticed was how our narrator often refers to other strippers as being "old" when they are over thirty.  I guess it's all a matter of perspective.  The back of the book has a twelve page history of peep shows in NYC.

I also read The Living (HarperPerrenial, 1992), an epic novel by Annie Dillard set in the Northwest in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.  This book took me about three weeks to read, in part because it was 445 pages long, but also because I only wanted to read two or three of the short chapters at a time, as it was otherwise overwhelming.  The Living has lots of characters to keep track of - there's a handy list of characters at the front of the book - and covers a good deal of time and events.  I particularly enjoyed the local history, such as Native-white relations, the booms and busts of the frontier towns, and how to fell giant trees and make cedar shingles.