The Endless Bookshelf : simply messing about in books






May 2007
Buchnarr, 1494. Ware! Ware! Ware the Book-Fool!

Overdue Books

No apologies attempted, just back to regular posts, pictures, and small pieces of interesting news.

Old Books

Old Books by Howard Hodgkin

Went up to the Yale Center for British Art with the Anonymous Other some time back to see the retrospective of Howard Hodgkin, one of whose most recent paintings, more luminous in reality than this in digital form, was entitled Old Books.


New Books

The bindery project of late April was completed and delivered on time to the publisher, Small Beer Press : six copies of Endless Things  by John Crowley, specially bound in sleepless blue silk with Chena river marbled endsheets, and hand printed labels.
Here they are in the bindery (also known as the kitchen table) on 28 April :

Endless Things by John Crowley, edition of six copies, specially bound
20 May 07

A list of five favorite novels by PKD :
Time Out of Joint  (1959)
A Scanner Darkly  (1977)
Valis  (1981)
Transmigrations of Timothy Archer  (1982)
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch  (1965)

bonus :
Confessions of a Crap Artist  (1975)
This entry arose after talking with a friend who is reading The Man in the High Castle  (1962). I found the recent Library of America selection, Four Novels of the 1960s , to be inevitable and at the same time arbitrary. Far better to have selected five novels for their quality rather than cramming them into a shoebox (especially as the narrow focus leads one to think that another volume will follow). Oh well.

Genuine Fake Bookshelf wallpaper

The " Genuine Fake Bookshelf " wallpaper by Deborah Bowness.


The publication party for Tom Disch's new collection of poetry, About the Size of It  (Anvil Press), on 3 May, was a convivial gathering of old friends and new, at which Tom read an occasional poem that dealt with some of the eponymous issues of scale and knowledge ; other poems in the collection include some of his best "critical poetry" or formal examination of poets in verse.


2 May 07

Yesterday was publication day for Endless Things  by John Crowley. This is a book I have been awaiting for years. Great cover image by Rosamond Purcell :

Endless Things dust jacket by Rosamond Purcell

So I was up into the very early hours of this morning finishing the book, an advance copy I received from Small Beer Press publishers Gavin Grant and Kelly Link. (I had dinner with them Sunday evening ; and saw a woman reading Kelly’s book Magic for Beginners  on the subway the next morning.) Endless Things is the rich and complex fourth volume in the Ægypt  sequence. It ripples with allusions to the earlier books and to other novels by Crowley, but requires no prior experience. The novel conveys essences of Pierce Moffett’s past but always in new ways ; similarly with the historical strains : the novels within the novel —  of free-thinker Giordano Bruno and novelist Ffellowes Kraft —  take on new dimensions.  And surely pages 140 to 154 constitute one of the ablest passages in all of Crowley’s work : he brings the Golden Ass of Apuleius, the great Golem of Prague, the re-imagination of the world, and the outbreak of the Thirty Years War into play in a manner that is in turn witty and devastating.  Equally delightful are the unexpected turns of Pierce Moffett’s life and the way Crowley gets at a magical core of ordinary east coast American domestic life in the late 1980s. And that is all I will say until I read the novel again or review it in more deliberate fashion. But read the book for yourself.

Today I have been reading another Small Beer Press title, Generation Loss  by Elizabeth Hand, a compelling and abrasive book with an astonishing, detestable, and irresistible protagonist.  Cass Neary’s unflinching narrative has been pulling me along, looking into odd places.  I am about halfway through the book.  A great novel of Maine -ness as viewed simultaneously from inside and outside, right up there with The Maine Massacre  by Janwillem van de Wetering.

Tomorrow, 3 May 07, there will be a publication party for Tom Disch's new collection of poetry, About the Size of It  (Anvil Press), at James Cummins Bookseller, 699 Madison Avenue (between 62nd & 63rd streets) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Please R.S.V.P. to me at work : henry [at] james cumminsbookseller [dot] com. The poet Tom Disch may also be known to you as Thomas M. Disch, author of Camp Concentration , The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made of , etc.


The bindery project mentioned earlier was completed on time, and the books delivered. The office of Temporary Culture and the Endless Bookshelf was piled high with paper and cloth and unread books but order has been re-established. Pictures &c. &c. to follow in due course.


A friend sent pictures of her bookshelves (thanks, JR)  :


This creaking and constantly evolving blog of the endless bookshelf : I expect that some entries will be brief, others will take the form of more elaborate essays and eventually I will become adept at incorporating photos or comments and interactivity. Right now you’ll have to send links to me, dear readers. [HW]


electronym : wessells at aol dot com

Copyright © 2007 Henry Wessells

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