Wednesday, January 21

Rolling Paper Graphics

I love this quirky book, a visit to the wide wide world of Rolling Paper Graphics! (subtitled El papel de fumar.) This book by Jose Lorente is beautifully designed and produced by Gingko Press. Lorente has collected Spanish rolling paper (cigarette rolling paper) graphics for more than 20 years, ultimately collecting 4500 dated products from the mid-1800's to today. Only a portion of the collection is included, in chapters on nature, places, objects, people, typography, textures, and advertising. Graphic papers from other countries, from the collection of A. S. Dalmases, are also included. I've included a couple of slide shows from Flickr photo collections which feature graphics from the book. The second slide show focuses on the work of one artist, Julius Klinger of Austria.

Here are several graphics by Julius Klinger (Austria, 1918-1919) which are featured in "Rolling Paper Graphics." These are drawn from, and his flickr photostream.

If you like reading about graphic design, check out How magazine. Here's their Typography blog, which is so exuberant and creative! and here's the home page for all the How Design blogs. You will enjoy this!

Thursday, January 15

Money Talks

"Money talks, but it don't sing and dance!"

File under "Things that make me happy:" Neil Diamond. I'm taking notice of things that make me happy, little antidotes to feelings of gloom and fear aroused by our cold winter and deep recession. I heard Neil Diamond on the radio this morning, and that made me happy. So does his idea that while money talks, "it don't sing and dance." But we do!

Today's non-profound words of hope.

Kickin' Chunks

Kickin' chunks. Ice chunks, that is, the frozen chunks of slushy mush that build up on your car's mud flaps. Kicking chunks of ice off the mud flaps is one of my winter amusements.

To pass the long winter, I've become an urban phenologist, keeping track of winter's progression: "firsts" such as the first day the sun sets after 4:30, and the conversational slide from "we need the moisture" to "isn't the snow beautiful" to "My God, will winter never end!" When I rang the Salvation Army bell this Christmas, I was able to track the progressive addition of layers, ending up with three pairs of socks, long underwear and pants, a shirt and two sweaters, coat, fleece-lined ear-covering hat, 6' scarf, liner gloves, mittens, and choppers, and three layers of cardboard (to stand on)!

Today I have a new entry in my phenology list:

it's too cold to kick the snow off the flaps! It's frozen solid!

It's -20 degrees, a great day to reread Shackleton's Endurance, Jack London's short stories, or Robert Service's tall tales of the Yukon. Click to read my booklist in Hennepin County Library's Bookspace.

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Robert Service

Monday, January 12

Book Reading Stats Up

For the first time since 1982, "the proportion of adults 18 and older who said they had read at least one novel, short story, poem or play in the previous 12 months has risen [to 50.2%]," according to a National Endowment for the Arts study being released today, reported by the New York Times.

The increase was most notable among 18-24 year olds and involved novels and short stories more than poetry or drama. Literary reading also increased among Hispanic Americans.

For the first time, the study included Internet reading, which some thought might have helped boost rates, although the AAP's Pat Schroeder suggested that some people don't count reading online or on e-readers as "book" reading.

Other possible explanations for the jump: one community, one read programs; the popularity of the Harry Potter and Twilight series; and "individual efforts of teachers, librarians, parents and civic leaders" to promote literature and reading. Booksellers, too, we'd think.

The study is called "Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy" and is based on data from the Census Bureau compiled last year.

--from Shelf Awareness: Daily Enlightenment for the Book Trade, the free e-mail newsletter dedicated to helping the people in stores, in libraries and on the Web buy, sell and lend books most wisely, January 12, 2009