Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Paraphernalia: Liquid Bookmarks from Designbloom

OMFG!!! Somebody spilled blood and ink all over my books! Murder! Bibliocide! Help!
Oh no, wait. We're cool. It's just an awesome $24 bookmark.

If I had the red one, I would use it only for my Stephen King books. That would certainly impress the kind of people who are impressed by bookmarks.
People like me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Poems From France by William J. Smith

In the scenic town square of McDonough, GA, there is a used bookstore called Bell Book and Candle. I used to visit there once a week to spend a few dollars. It was the first time in my life that I was able to actually *buy* books I wanted and I couldn't believe my luck. Tucked in the basement of an antique furniture store, they also sold incense, handmade candles and comic books. It was a pretty big store, with lots of nooks and crannies to tuck yourself into.

In one of these nooks, I found a book of classic French poems for $3. I still have it and I thought I'd blog about it for Paris in July.

The book is an old faded hardcover with a battered dust jacket. The back cover is sprinkled with fleur-de-lis and roses. It was printed in 1967 and each poem is printed twice: once in English and once in French. It begins with a medieval poet named Eustache Deschamps and ends with Jacques Prevert. Along the way, it includes Guillaume Appollinaire, Charles Baudelaire and Paul Eluard.

One of Eluard's poems became my favorite because of it's passion and repetition.


Sur mes cahiers d'écolier
Sur mon pupitre et les arbres
Sur le sable de neige
J'écris ton nom

Sur toutes les pages lues
Sur toutes les pages blanches
Pierre sang papier ou cendre
J'écris ton nom

Sur les images dorées
Sur les armes des guerriers
Sur la couronne des rois
J'écris ton nom

Sur la jungle et le désert
Sur les nids sur les genêts
Sur l'écho de mon enfance
J'écris ton nom

Sur les merveilles des nuits
Sur le pain blanc des journées
Sur les saisons fiancées
J'écris ton nom

Sur tous mes chiffons d'azur
Sur l'étang soleil moisi
Sur le lac lune vivante
J'écris ton nom

Sur les champs sur l'horizon
Sur les ailes des oiseaux
Et sur le moulin des ombres
J'écris ton nom

Sur chaque bouffées d'aurore
Sur la mer sur les bateaux
Sur la montagne démente
J'écris ton nom

Sur la mousse des nuages
Sur les sueurs de l'orage
Sur la pluie épaisse et fade
J'écris ton nom

Sur les formes scintillantes
Sur les cloches des couleurs
Sur la vérité physique
J'écris ton nom

Sur les sentiers éveillés
Sur les routes déployées
Sur les places qui débordent
J'écris ton nom

Sur la lampe qui s'allume
Sur la lampe qui s'éteint
Sur mes raisons réunies
J'écris ton nom

Sur le fruit coupé en deux
Du miroir et de ma chambre
Sur mon lit coquille vide
J'écris ton nom

Sur mon chien gourmand et tendre
Sur ses oreilles dressées
Sur sa patte maladroite
J'écris ton nom

Sur le tremplin de ma porte
Sur les objets familiers
Sur le flot du feu béni
J'écris ton nom

Sur toute chair accordée
Sur le front de mes amis
Sur chaque main qui se tend
J'écris ton nom

Sur la vitre des surprises
Sur les lèvres attendries
Bien au-dessus du silence
J'écris ton nom

Sur mes refuges détruits
Sur mes phares écroulés
Sur les murs de mon ennui
J'écris ton nom

Sur l'absence sans désir
Sur la solitude nue
Sur les marches de la mort
J'écris ton nom

Sur la santé revenue
Sur le risque disparu
Sur l'espoir sans souvenir
J'écris ton nom

Et par le pouvoir d'un mot
Je recommence ma vie
Je suis né pour te connaître
Pour te nommer


Paul Eluard
in Poésies et vérités, 1942


On my notebooks from school

On my desk and the trees

On the sand on the snow

I write your name

On every page read

On all the white sheets

Stone blood paper or ash

I write your name

On the golden images

On the soldier’s weapons

On the crowns of kings

I write your name

On the jungle the desert

The nests and the bushes

On the echo of childhood

I write your name

On the wonder of nights

On the white bread of days

On the seasons engaged

I write your name

On all my blue rags

On the pond mildewed sun

On the lake living moon

I write your name

On the fields the horizon

The wings of the birds

On the windmill of shadows

I write your name

On the foam of the clouds

On the sweat of the storm

On dark insipid rain

I write your name

On the glittering forms

On the bells of colour

On physical truth

I write your name

On the wakened paths

On the opened ways

On the scattered places

I write your name

On the lamp that gives light

On the lamp that is drowned

On my house reunited

I write your name

On the bisected fruit

Of my mirror and room

On my bed’s empty shell

I write your name

On my dog greedy tender

On his listening ears

On his awkward paws

I write your name

On the sill of my door

On familiar things

On the fire’s sacred stream

I write your name

On all flesh that’s in tune

On the brows of my friends

On each hand that extends

I write your name

On the glass of surprises

On lips that attend

High over the silence

I write your name

On my ravaged refuges

On my fallen lighthouses

On the walls of my boredom

I write your name

On passionless absence

On naked solitude

On the marches of death

I write your name

On health that’s regained

On danger that’s past

On hope without memories

I write your name

By the power of the word

I regain my life

I was born to know you

And to name you


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Porn: March of the Penguins

Book porn: (n) Photographs and descriptions that exploit the nerd's natural lust for the physical beauty of reading material. Such material is deemed highly dangerous to one's sanity . People under the influence have been known to max out their library cards, spend their food money on paperbacks and exhaust their friends and loved ones with "wish lists"
If someone you love suffers from book porn addiction, understand that there is no cure.
Just give them what they want.

First, a brief history lesson, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Penguin books is today a publishing imprint of Penguin Group. It was founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane, who launched the company by selling 63000 Penguin books to Woolworth's. Up until then, the paperback format was used for pop literature, the kind of books with gaudy covers and simple, formulaic plots. Penguin books came with a simpler design made better literature available to the public.
Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its high quality, inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence. Penguin's success demonstrated that large audiences existed for serious books. Penguin also had a significant impact on public debate in Britain, through its books on politics, the arts, and science.
-Wikipedia, "Penguin Books"

Penguin books, with their distinctive design and logo are familiar to readers. I have a few of them on my shelf:

But my humble stack is nothing compared to what you are about to see. Feast your eyes, bibliopervs:
This collection belongs to blogger Karyn of A Penguin a Week. She lives in Australia, collects vintage penguins and according to her comment on this post, her husband built these shelves for them.

If you think this photo is awesome, check out her photostream on Flickr. Each of her blog posts is a review of a Penguin she has read. Many of the vintage Penguins she reviews are classic works and many are obscure books that are out of print.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Paraphernalia: The iPhone Bookshelf Skin

Someone, somewhere is determined to replace paper books with stupid little screens full of text. This person is my sworn enemy, but I have to admit, he/she comes up with some bad@ss ideas. Like this:It's a bookshelf iPhone skin. It's one of those things you spend money on because it says something about you. This says "I can afford an iPhone and I am literate."
Haven't you always wanted to say that?