19 December 2011

10 December 2011

Have yourself a bookish little Christmas

I have come across a few neat alternative Christmas tree ideas in my web wanderings over the past week or two, but there was only one that really caught my interest. And let me add: I am not really one to decorate my house for the holidays. Growing up, it was great fun and I've always loved the cozy, warm ambiance it creates. But as an adult, I really don't have the energy or inclination to drag out a bunch of seasonal decorations every year, assemble it all, plug it in for a month, and then tear it all back down. All that for just me and the cats and the dog? I can hardly bring myself to sweep the floors once every couple months. But a Christmas tree made out of books? (or this one!) That's a project for me. 

So, while working a slowish afternoon at the library, I scanned through the shelves of discarded and donated books, and grabbed all the green-covered ones I could find, in various sizes, plus a tiny one (color unimportant) for the tippy-top. I even managed to collect some green books with actual Christmas-ey titles. I decided to build a tree that was a combination/variation of the two shown in the previous links. After brushing glue on the outsides of the textblocks to keep the tree sturdy and together, I stacked the books in order of size, catty-cornering them to create that impression of layers of foliage. Then I shot hot glue between each book (I used a decorative box I had laying around as the trunk). 

Then for the final touch, I took the tiny book I had snagged earlier and splayed open its pages until they created the triangle shape I wanted, and hot-glued it in place at the top of the tree. I also thought the title of the book was perfect for the treetop: The Little Book of Magic Tricks! I am quite satisfied with the final result and decided it would look perfect on top of my gorgeous card catalog (genuine vintage library artifact). I was right. Now I'm beginning to feel a bit more festive.

07 December 2011

LibraryThing Early Reviewers: Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey & Peter F. Neumeyer

As excited as I (always) am to receive free books through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, I am ecstatic when I am lucky enough to snag whatever is newest from Pomegranate Books (especially when those books are Edward Gorey written/illustrated). I was particularly happy to have won a copy of Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey & Peter F. Neumeyer.

This book offers a privileged glimpse into both the writing and illustrating process, and the personal relationship between two extremely witty men who hold each other in the highest esteem. I enjoyed reading about their collaborative work in creating the Donald books and learning how much each influenced the other's parts in the projects. 

The juxtaposition of their whimsical ideas, words, and drawings with the humdrum realities of their everyday lives is captivating and comforting. I was glad to have the inclusion of facsimiles of a few of the wonderfully rambling letters and postcards, especially the fabulous envelopes that Gorey illustrated before mailing off to his friend. And the stoej-gnpf, that hybrid creature on the front cover that Gorey decided was part himself and part his friend, and became a secret symbol between them of their like-mindedness and collaborative magic. 

But how does one review the personal correspondence between two friends, who just happen to be writers and artists? One doesn't. I have been merely eavesdropping, but the things I overheard were fascinating. I only wonder why they ever stopped. Thank you so much, Mr. Neumeyer, for sharing these letters with the rest of us.

While reading this book, I was reminded of another book I read (and loved) about two years ago, Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. I think I may have a new favorite book genre: collected correspondence (or whatever more eloquent title it may have). 

Letter-writing must be in the air! If you are also a fan of reading and writing letters (be they addressed to you or someone else!), you must have a look over at my friend Annie's blog Scribbling Glue. You'll quickly get back in the habit.