Monday, November 10, 2014

The Brothers Grimm, Princeton University Press Edition Does Not Impress


The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm:The Complete First EditionJacob & Wilhelm Grimm, Translated and edited by Jack ZipesIllustrated by Andrea Dezsö

Last week I stumbled upon yet another new illustrated edition and new English translation of the Grimm tales.  I have an interest in the Brothers Grimm in line with my love of world tales and their origins, the number of interesting new illustrated editions that have appeared over the past few years and that dear friends are blood relations to the Brothers.  I immediately ordered the new edition published by Princeton University Press, linked above.

I was originally interested in the promise of the new edition, a complete and new English translation of the actual First Edition of the Grimm tales.  This first edition was where the tales are recorded for posterity and not edited for children, their parents, or to satisfy some newly minted social custom.  The real stories as collected, unvarnished, for my reading pleasure.  I happily clicked to buy and started writing a blog post that would list my favorite edition of the Brothers Grimm and how they all differ to find the one that is right for you.

Just now, the new edition from Princeton University Press arrived and I can honestly state that Princeton University Press should be embarrassed by this terrible effort to publish a new edition of the Grimm tales.  The paper is terrible, the font is terrible, the printing of the illustrations is terrible.  If not for the content, I would simply return this edition.  It is a terrible edition from a fine book perspective.  It is not a fine edition at all and really seems to be an example of the worst production decisions from paper choice, color choice, font choice.... Only those interested in the actual First Edition of the Brothers Grimm in English translation needs this new edition.  Since that market must be extremely small, it appears no surprise why Princeton decided that there was NO REASON TO INVEST ANY MONEY IN THIS PUBLICATION.

Perhaps Princeton University Press is unaware that print book publishing is under stress from digital outlets and that digital only publishing will bankrupt most traditional publishing houses.  The economics of book publishing does not translate at this time to eliminating print and moving to all digital.  The ONE bright spot that publishers are embracing is that a print product will sell if it is well done and creates a physical artifact that someone would choose to save and display as a piece of art.  This new edition of Princeton University Press may have interesting content but the artifact is a complete insult to the organic matter that was pulped to make the paper it was printed on.

I often forgive many features of the book world, I am a book junkie!  However, in this case, I am not going to forgive anything.  The color of the thumbnail cover of the book that appears above is from the Princeton University Press website.  The actual color of the cover is BLACK, not Purple.  Again, do not buy this book if you are interested in an edition of the Grimm tales that you will enjoy owning.  I'll keep my copy to remind me of this example of publishing self-destruction but wish I had simply bought the e-book to read.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Take a break, read a real book!

The WSJ reports on the benefits of READING A REAL BOOK!  Take a chance, sit down, open that book and read.  The upside is real.  Maybe behind the dreaded pay-wall but take a chance.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lost Libraries and Hope

A great story of a scholar, his books and private library,  lost in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  This story from Harpers by John Kaag captures with one tale, the fear I live with that I am surrounded by lost libraries arising from the halls of New England academies awaiting re-discovery, cataloging, care, and safe haven but I really can't figure out a way to get to those libraries before they become lost in time and place.  Enjoy the read.....

The Philosopher and the Thief

Trespassing in the library of a dead genius

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Taschen Hieronymus Bosh. The Complete Works, edited by Stefan Fisher

Yesterday brought a big Amazon box with the just published Taschen title,   Hieronymus Bosch.  The Complete Works, edited by Stefan Fischer.  The packaging alone brought a smile to my soul.  The book, an oversize folio, 18" x 12.5" x 2.5" boxed in a wonderful cardboard briefcase preprinted with Bosch's masterpiece, The Garden of Earthly Delights.  Of course, try as I might, I accidentally tore the cardboard while opening the briefcase.  My collector's heart advises me to acquire a second copy and never play with it but my long-term sense is that I can live with just the book on my shelves and the cardboard briefcase is simply a packaging item that was made to be recycled and is not equal to a clam-shell box for storing the book!

I have paged through and am initially very impressed with the reproduction of the art.  The commentary will be a challenge to read, black backgrounds and light type are rarely a winning combination, but likely, worth the effort.  The collection of preparatory drawings is fascinating and I am thrilled to add this to my library.

An earlier title, Bosch: The Garden of Earthly Delights by Jacqueline Guillaud, Clarkson Potter (1989) remains a favorite of mine due to the paper stock, reproductions and the fact that rice paper is a great feature with this title. While out of print, a few copies appear on ABE, here with 1 a real steal the the rest with increasing prices.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bonham's Fine Books and Manuscripts February 10, 2014--Dali Casanova

It is just difficult to keep up with the fine books and manuscript auctions but I am trying to pay closer attention, track some lots and better understand the world of book auctions.  The upcoming Feburary 10 Fine Books and Manuscript Auction at Bonham's Los Angeles holds numerous treasures and a few books that I would love to own but will simply enjoy tracking the bids and seeing the results.

[DALI, SALVADOR. 1904-1989.] CASANOVA DE SEINGALT, GIACOMO GIROLAMO. 1725-1798. Dali illustre Casanova. Paris: Au Cercle du Livre Precieux, [1967].

The first title to capture my attention is Lot 102, Dali, Salvador. 1904-1989, Casanove De Seingalt, Giacomo Girolamo, 1725-1798, Dali illustre Casanova, Paris:  Au Cercle du Livre Precieux, 1967 carrying an estimate of $4000-$6000.  Folio (377 x 276 mm). 14 full-page aquatint engravings in color and illustrations throughout the text by Dali. Loose as issued in pictorial wrappers, beige cloth chemise and beige cloth slipcase with embroidered panels to each side. Light shelfwear, else fine. LIMITED EDITION, SIGNED by Dali, no 307 of 390 copies with original numbered bookmark laid in.

I loved Casanova's Memoirs and still recall the year or so spent riding a stationary bicycle 30 minutes a day, reading about 20 pages at a time, and marveling at the experiences, adventures and insights to be discovered.  While I'd love to add this to my library I'd be doing so just to have access to the illustrations. I am not a true fan of Dali, while I do appreciate his vision and illustrations, especially associated with fine, world class literature, I can live without this.  I would love to view all the illustrations and I imagine this will sell for less than the estimate, perhaps $2500-$3,500---a somewhat refined guesstimate on my part!

A couple of past auctions results provide some guidance as copy sold at a Chirstie's auction in February 2010 for $4, 713  and a copy sold in 2008 via LiveAcutioneers(Leighton Galleries, Inc)  for $3,300.  There are three copies available via ABE and are listed here priced between $6,337.83, $6,500 and $7,500.  Assuming the retail option would be realized at 80% of the asking prices the range would be $5,000 to $6000.  I will be tracking this auction and will be interested in the the selling price, if buyers appear.