Bookshelf

XXXIX

14-14 BY PALOMA WOOL

My first entry in this journal was about Paloma Wool back in 2015 and my love for the brand continues to grow and grow. So effortlessly cool, unique and creative. Every season there is something that I covet. Recently they released their first book and I, as an avid book collector, need it as soon as possible. Real beauty here.

All images via Paloma Wool. Book can be ordered here.

XXXVI

ON MY BOOKSHELF

Came across this photo series and book, Casa das Sete Senhoras, by photographer Tito Mouraz. I really loved the concept and black and white photography which were taken in an area of Portugal, Beira Alta. . Must add this book to my collection.

“It is still said around here that the house is haunted. At the house there lived seven women, all maiden sisters. One of them was a witch. On full moon nights, the ladies in their white garments would fly from the balcony to the leafy branches of the chestnut across the street. From there, they would seduce men who passed-by.”

“I started by doing some portraits of people. They interested me because they have always lived here and are attached to land just like trees. They speak about time, about their memories; their losses… many of them already dress in black,” Tito remarks. “This series gives an account of a persistent return to the same place, so as to scrutinise its differences – the slow deactivation of agricultural practices, the gradual transformation of the territory, ageing – in spite of listening to the same owl, to the same fox, to the same stories.”

All images via Tito Mouraz. Click for more info/purchase book.

XXXIV

ON MY BOOKSHELF

The Stairway To The Sun and Dance of the Comets by Paul Scheerbart

I picked up this book at Farewell Books while in Austin. Every time I go to that book shop I always make sure to pick up something by an author I have never read or heard of before. Paul Scheerbart was one I hadn't been familiar with but picked up because I cannot pass up on a book of strange fairy tales. (Recently I read Michael Cunningham's A Wild Swan: And Other Tales.) I've been reading about his life and interests. Definitely someone I would be interested in, fascinating really. This is what I like best about book shops. Discovering some thing or someone new. I am enjoying this one slowly.

"The Stairway to the Sun & Dance of the Comets brings together two short books, originally published in 1903, by the antierotic godfather of German science fiction, Paul Scheerbart. The Stairway to the Sun contains four fairy tales of sun, sea, animals and storm, each set in a different, fantastical locale, from the giant palace of an astral star to a dwarf’s underwater glass lair in the jellyfish kingdom. Scheerbart’s sad, whimsical tales provide gentle though unexpected morals that outline his work as a whole: treat animals as one would treat oneself, mutual admiration will never lead to harm and if one is able to remember that the world is grand, one will never be sad.

Dance of the Comets, though published as an “Astral Pantomime,” was originally conceived as a scenario for a ballet, which Richard Strauss had planned to score in 1900 (and which Mahler accepted for the Vienna Opera). Though the project was never realized, Scheerbart’s written choreography of dance, gesture, costume, feather dusters, violet moon hair and a variety of stars and planets outlines a sequence of events in which everyone--enthusiastic maid, temperamental king, indifferent executioner, foolish poet--seeks, joins and, in some cases, becomes a celestial body: a staging of Scheerbart’s lifelong yearning for a home in the universe.

Paul Scheerbart (1863–1915) was a novelist, playwright, poet, critic, draftsman, visionary, proponent of glass architecture and would-be inventor of perpetual motion."

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Purchase the book directly from Wakefield Press. Support small indie publishers.

XXXIII

ON MY BOOKSHELF

Silent Sound Books

 

I am spending my Friday night visiting some of my favorite small press publishers and adding books to my to-read and wish lists. Silent Sound Books, based in LA, is one of my favorite small press publishing art books. These need to be added to my collection as soon as possible.

Deeper Than Night by Coley Brown

Time of Nothing by Jim Mangan

Self Titled by Olaf Breuning

All images via Silent Sound Books

X

ON MY BOOKSHELF

A Selection of Japanese Writing

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The Japanese Film by Joseph L. Anderson and Donald Richie with a Foreward by Akira Kosemura. Grove Press, 1960. 

A vintage copy I came across at a used bookstore. As much as I adore Japan and make it a point to study its culture, literature, art and history, I am not very familiar with its films. I think that that's because, in general, I'm not very interested in film. I don't doubt its contribution as another medium of art (films of a certain disposition), but for me, sitting in front of a screen and watching something for an hour or hours isn't appealing to me. I'd rather be doing something. Sitting in front of a screen is the last thing I want to do. It seems strange but I'm sure I'm not the only one. So, I don't know very much about Japanese film. This book seems like great reference material so I don't think I'll ever read it from start to finish. The first half is the history of Japanese film and the second half goes into techniques, directors and actors. I plan to browse through it and find a few films to watch. I had been thinking and I think it will be better to take the time to sit down and watch a few good movies and do something I normally don't. I have a started list already. :)

The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa

Translated from the Japanese by Sawako Nakayasu. The first comprehensive collection of one of Japan's foremost modernists to appear in English translation, THE COLLECTED POEMS OF CHIKA SAGAWA is an essential book. The project received a grant from the Japan Foundation, and poems from it have appeared in Poetry, Asymptote, Fascicle, and elsewhere.

One of my favorite Japanese poets and an incredible woman. She was an avante-garde poet in the 1930s, influenced by surrealism. Read this great article about her from The New Yorker. This book has gotten some really great press and is a wonderful book to own. This particular copy is special to me because it came with a good memory. It was kindly given to me in Marfa. I went to Marfa Book Co. because, you know, I must. It's such a beautiful place, such a great bookstore. Absolutely. I walked around browsing for books to buy for my collection. I ended up choosing O Bon: Poems by Brandon Shimoda and the two books in this photo, The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa and the following book. I went to go pay and he told me Brandon Shimoda, the author of one of the books I was about to buy was, in fact, working in the back and that I should go over and talk to him and have him sign my book. So even though I'm very timid and nervous about speaking to people I don't know, I walked over to the back and he was there unpacking boxes. He was very kind and signed my book. ("To Mari - in exchange for your kindness in the desert") We ended up having a great conversation about Japanese books and translation. He started recommending me books and the first he recommended was The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa and said he loved it so much and thought I would too and that I could keep it for myself. I laughed and thanked him profusely and told him I actually had picked out that same book to buy myself. We talked a bit more and then I was on my way with a bag of good books and the memory of having a great conversation about something I'm passionate about with someone whose writing I admire. That is what's so special about Marfa, things like that happen. 

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide 

A wonderful sui generis novel about a visiting cat who brings joy into a couple’s life in Tokyo.

A bestseller in France and winner of Japan’s Kiyama Shohei Literary Award, The Guest Cat, by the acclaimed poet Takashi Hiraide, is a subtly moving and exceptionally beautiful novel about the transient nature of life and idiosyncratic but deeply felt ways of living. A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo; they work at home, freelance copy-editing; they no longer have very much to say to one another. But one day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. It leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. Soon they are buying treats for the cat and enjoying talks about the animal and all its little ways. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife ― the days have more light and color. The novel brims with new small joys and many moments of staggering poetic beauty, but then something happens….

As Kenzaburo Oe has remarked, Takashi Hiraide’s work "really shines." His poetry, which is remarkably cross-hatched with beauty, has been acclaimed here for "its seemingly endless string of shape-shifting objects and experiences,whose splintering effect is enacted via a unique combination of speed and minutiae."

 For the cat people, or the people who love beautiful writing. I read this one lazy weekend in bed and it was perfect.

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