Monday, September 27, 2010

Shop Labels in Books : a Record of the Past -

One of the small pleasures to be had in booking is the discovery of what extraneous things are found in books ... placed there after the books have been released into the wild - so to speak. One of the most commonly found objects are the small labels affixed by retail shops. They are as myriad as the number of shops. Some of these labels are mundane and some are exotic. Some make one aware of a history that is adjacent to the world of books and every bit as complex and fascinating. Here is a small label affixed to the front paste-down of the old book from 1882 shown above. It is a book on diet for the sick as viewed by an Homoeopathic practitioner.

It would be delicious to pop back into Mr. Clapp's Pharmacy and snoop about his stock. What other interesting books might he have had on his shelves? People have placed their signatures in books on just about any page imaginable. It used to be a common practice - not universal, but common enough - to write one's name across the title page. Probably it is that the book is old that I am not gnashing my teeth at the audacity of someone so effacing the title page. Instead, I find it lends a charm of sorts to the book. An aura of use and history. Now if only the owner had been able to resist closing the book prematurely so soon after signing, we might easily read who he was, but as it is we know the book belonged to D. R. -----

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


My brother, Henry Stickpin Booknoodle, is an author, also set loose in time (It seems that if one member of a family is so released from the strictures of time, then other family members are also thus affected). Henry appears at my abode every once in a while, when our temporal dimensions happen to coincide.

Although an author of some considerable output, Henry does not share my enthusiasm for the book game. He disdains collecting. He considers such things as decorated bindings mere frippery, and insists that all his books be bound in a simple 1/4 cloth on board with lettering in black, on the spine only. In fact he so detests the whole phenomenon of First Edition Collecting that he insists that his publisher imprint Third Edition on all printings his books, whether it is the first printing or second. It tickles his fancy to think of frustrated collectors searching in vain for the scarce First Editions of his books.

I tried pointing out to him that an author's works must first be considered desirable by collectors before they will search out any edition of that author's work.

Henry's main opus is a massive ... nay, gargantuan novel in five volumes - not sequels, he insists, but a cohesive whole. The five volumes are titled individually, Telemachus Cogitatus, Telemachus Precipitus, Telemachus Conjuratus, Telemachus Liberatus, and Telemachus Infinitum.

Despite his public disdain for collecting and all things collected, Henry cannot help but think that his massive 20,046 page, five volume novel would, of course, be collected ... and prized. He considers it a masterpiece.

Indeed it may well be. The collecting jury is still out.

I ignore Henry's poor use of Latin. I have indeed read the entire five volumes, in manuscript .

Henry refers to his opus as Telemachus Completus ... I think of his opus as Telemachus Pentamental. When in a more exasperated mood, I think of his massive pile as Telemachus Concursus.

It was the read ad terminus per astera per annuum.

Definitely it is a book that goes on ad infinitum.

I am making a request here for any persons (if such should exist) who have read all or any part of Henry Booknoodle's massive Telemachus Completus, to write in and make commentary. I shall read these with interest, and pass on to Henry all comments that refrain from mean-spirited invective.


Professor Booknoodle's Brother

Henry Stickpin Booknoodle, A>P> (Author Proliferous)

Someone inquired as to the possibility of purchasing my brother's opus. A bookshop on the dark side of the moon, The Terminus Bookery, which of course exists only in a future mode, might have the Complete Telemachus;  in 2231 AD the entire novel was reprinted on antique paper and bound in real woven cloth taken from once-living plants, causing a small furor in the literary world .... and as well instigating a demonstration by PETA for the use of a Vegetal Entity (V.E.) in the construction of the volumes. As well as PETA, S.A.U.P.O. (The Society Against the Use of Physical Objects) joined in the protest. Become displaced in time and you, too, may well be able to witness this seminal event.