Tuesday, June 12, 2007
When I was 14 I bought a pack of bookplates (see above) for my fledgling book collection. I thought it would be nice to insert something special into the inside of the books that I truly loved and let all who looked inside of them that they where holding something that I was proud to own. Some of the books that I have read I would like to recommend to you. If not for their uniqueness in story and design. Most of these books that will feature in a weekly post are the kind of books that did not come recommended to me. They where ‘finds’. I love these kind of books because there is something about them that feels like unearthed treasure and essentially that is what they are to me. Although the publications have sold in the hundreds and thousands , in the middle of reading such a great read I almost feel like I am privy to some wonderful secret between the author and I, the authors knowing wink perhaps but its an exclusive feeling to which the world of the author has created and quite often tailor made. The escapism redolent with fresh paper or mustiness of yellow dog ears and strained spines. Certainly as my Vintage Mary Engelbreit bookplate says ‘Books fall open, you fall in’.
Griffin & Sabine
An Extraordinary Correspondance
Author Nick Bantock
I had never heard of Nick Bantock before in any context, I was 15 and had just started to correspond with penpals, the internet was a world away then and being a creative sort illustrated my envelopes with watercolors, marbelling and different themes such as 'the mummy envelope' which was made using thick ribbons of cream colored paper for bandages with two red eyes salvaged from a movie magazine peering from the 'bandages', a corset envelope, spider web envelope etc etc. One day , looking for inspiration I was in the bookstore looking up craft books when I found Nick's Book nestled between origami and paper mache books. I picked it up and fell in love with the whole concept and story. Nick was inspired to do the story from his daily visits to the post office each morning. Living on a small island off the canadian coast, the residents would pick up their post and quite often there would be an exotic looking postcard or stamp on the mail and Nick would sigh to himself , curiosity coursing through his veins wondering what was its contents and story was behind such missives. Being an illustrator by trade fired him up for a story and interestingly enough Bantock also drew some inspiration from a poem by Yeats, lines of which are buried in the text or pictures, like clues in a detective story for which I will not disclose for obvious reasons but the story goes a little like this.
Griffin Moss and Sabine Strohem are two artists who live half a world apart. He is an isolated, hesitant English postcard designer who resides in London, while she is a confident illustrator of postage stamps and denizen of the South Seas. A very strange phenomena causes Sabine to contact Griffin- Somehow she knows his art as well as he does, although they have never met;And in an era just prequiling the internet explosion, the two engage in a correspondance that quite quickly turns into sublime love letters, both are unaware that their profound connection will draw them into a surreal realms of madness and love in this 'Extraordinary Correspondence'. The format of this book is integral to the story as with each page contains a post card, or a letter complete with envelope. You remove the letter from the envelope some are 'handwritten' and some typed complete with spelling mistakes and the reader has the delightful, forbidden sensation of reading someone else's mail in otherwords you become the ultimate voyeur. With each page with a postcard ,or the unfolding of each letter, studying the psychology of Griffin's Artwork or the free spirited language of Sabines words, you cannot help but feel that,In a very real sense, Griffin and Sabine exist. This wonderful story is part of a triology and what actually happens is open to interpritation on so many levels. It is beauty, intrique, madness and thought provoking in the realms of personal mythology and will keep you coming back for re-examining to render the story 'finished' as there is a personal conclusion for the reader itself, and you dont get many of them in the literary world.