All photos © Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
As the last post should have made blindingly obvious, we love beautiful books and magazines. Digital publications are wonderful too, but the feeling of a well crafted object in your hands when reading is a truly different experience.
At the extreme end of the beauty scale are this year’s entrants to the International Designer Bookbinding Competition, aka the Sir Paul Getty Bodleian Bookbinding Prize. These are books you might be afraid to touch, never mind read. At this point they have become plain ol’ art.
The theme this year was Shakespeare, and the winner was Dominic Riley, for his goatskin binding which depicts the story of Pyramus and Thisbe. Head below the fold to see some of our favourites. Continue reading
Photo (CC BY 2.0): Structo
More Sawn-Off Tales is a collection of short stories, each exactly 150 words long. It’s a striking idea, and forms the follow-up to David Gaffney’s 2006 collection Sawn-Off Tales. The fact that a follow-up has been published at all should give you a clue to the quality of his writing.
In another life the Cumbrian author might have written his Sawn-Off Tales in verse, and their format is a fascinating aspect. Very short stories are hard to write well, and this is a master class, every piece a satisfying and (mostly) coherent whole. The stories manage to work structurally while at the same time being funny, or sad or disturbing—often all at once.
You might not believe yourself to be particularly interested in flash fiction (or microfiction or whatever it’s being called these days). You will be after this.
More Sawn-Off Tales was published in June by Salt Publishing.
Photo (CC BY-NC-ND): Robert Burdock
I’m honored to be writing this, my first column for a magazine that has been great to me over the past year or so. I’ve had the pleasure of writing a couple of reviews for the website, and I’m excited to be a part of Structo as it continues to grow. When I was first asked to work on a regular column, I began thinking about what I, as an American writer, would have to say to the audience of a British magazine. Our two literary worlds have much in common, but the interest lies in the subtle differences.
So many great presses, writers, and magazines come out in the US every year, yet even the greatest of them have virtually no audience, especially abroad. My goal is to introduce Structo’s readers to some of these unknowns. Melville House is an independent publisher based in Brooklyn. It was formed in 2001 by writer Dennis Johnson and sculptor Valerie Merians after Johnson’s popular and vociferous publishing blog, MobyLives, grew in popularity. The press’s first release was Poetry After 9/11, a collection of some of the most popular posts on MobyLives.
After seeing their books gain steady popularity in the UK (and publishing several titles by British authors), Melville House publishers Johnson and Merians have recently opened a British version of the press. In the press release, Johnson said “It’s not a branch, nor an office. It’s a distinct, British company.” Melville House hopes to not just sell their existing books, but to publish new titles that help give this new company its own voice and appeal. Continue reading