Out of print

Remember when I was all gung-ho about trying to do BTT every week? Well that stopped quickly. Anyway, last weeks Booking Through Thursday question was a good one:

This week’s question is suggested by Island Editions:

Do you have a favourite book, now out of print, that you would like to see become available again? (I have several…)

There are a few books out of print that I own, so in a way I'm content even though they are out of print because I can go over and pet them and hug them and laugh to myself that they are mine as much as I want. On the other hand, I wish more people knew about and owned them so it would be nice if they were still in print. Also there are some books that are out of print that are so expensive I don't own them and I'm not sure I ever will. I'm not sure these are favorites, but they do make me yearn/burn for them to be reprinted. So two sections:

1) Out of print, but still available used at prices normal non-crazies can afford:

The Adventures of Holly Hobbie – A novel, by Richard Dubelman  (about $10?)- ok. I don't know if this book is any good anymore, but I read this when I was 12 or so and it's about that Holly Hobbie girl with the big bonnet around her face who is on a lot of kids toys and illustrations. In this book a girl - Liz, whose parents are archeologists, meets Holly through some time stepping magic type thing, and they go find Liz's missing dad. It involves Mayan pyramids and I remember it being fascinated by the descriptions of that ancient civilization and its beliefs. I vaguely recall some magic involving either light or an eclipse which I thought was very cool at the time. I went to the whatwasthatbook community on LJ to figure out what this book was.

Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (I got it for about $15-$20? but it sells for around $30 on up, eck) – I thought I posted about this book but looks like not. Sherwood Smith, author of Inda and Crown and Court Duel has recommended it on livejournal (http://community.livejournal.com/athanarel/111008.html) and describes it very well, I suggest clicking on that link for a better description than I can give. This was growing pains type of book. You see the silliness of youth and moving away from that and becoming more comfortable in your own skin. It's basically a well written young adult novel. Shannon is the main character – a girl who isn't sure if she wants to go to college instead spends the summer helping her uncle with a case with a will. She spends all summer pretending to be someone she isn't, playing detective, and trying to glean information about the people specified in the will, and along the way she comes out of her shell and also learns a thing or two about relationships.

Nameless Magery and Of Swords and Spells by Delia Marshall Turner (about $3 each?)- I bought one of these in college and didn't get the second book till a year or two ago. They can be read in either order but Nameless Magery goes first. Both are in the same universe and involves a futuristic, sci fi world/s where people can also do magic. There are robots and a mage school and smart young women protagonists and hyperspace drives and all kinds of meshing of sci-fi and fantasy and trickery. I don't think I've read anything else like it that blends those two genres so well together. And I think they're the only two books this author has written.

The Merro Tree by Katie Waitman (about $3-$5)- This is an author who has 2 books (I own both), and every year or so I will go and check if she's written anything else. And then I'll cry to myself because the answer is no. I also do this with Delia Marshall Turner but I think she's definitely not writing anymore, I feel more open ended with Katie Waitman. This book is a sci fi-ish story centering around the life of an abused boy (Mikk) who becomes the galaxy's master performance artist. In some ways it feels like a fantasy novel even though it's more sci fi. The description of the alien species, the performing arts school, Mikk's life, growing up, dealing with censorship and the stigma of his lovelife.. it's all great. The book says "discovery of the year" across it, but then.. no more books by her! I sob to myself.

The Night World Series by L.J. Smith (about $1-$10 each? Depends on how well you do on ebay) - ok this is a silly teen series with vampires and true love and whatnot. But I bonded with people who are now my closest friends over these books so I'm adding them here for nostalgia's sake. If I read over these books now, they're not bad but they aren't fabulous. I had to have them all (and maybe extra copies of certain ones) just because. And is book 10, Strange Fate, the last of this series ever going to be printed? I don't know.

2) Out of print and super expensive, maybe I can win the lottery or sell my car/left leg/kidney/soul to afford:

Anima Mundi by Mark Ryden ($300-$1000+)- An art book that has popular low brow art for those who have no idea who the hell Mark Ryden is. Lots of pictures of cute kids, animals, and meat products reminiscent of a child's picturebook. Really detailed work and often on album covers. This was on my wishlist when it was $25 on Amazon. Then three months later it went out of print and went up to $300+ dollars. After that if I saw a pamplet by this artist that I wanted, I got it without waiting around. I have his Bunnies and Bees book that I bought for $20? $25 when it came out which is now going for $90-$150 or so. Josh and my sister have a copy too. My attitude - "ok I know this is going to go up.." - *buy*. I also have Blood (one copy sealed, one unsealed) which I got for $25 each and which is selling for over $100 and it's this TINY thing really. Maybe these prices are less on ebay… Maybe not. OK I think telling Josh this is making him want to sell his Bunnies and Bees book.

Wagner's Trilogy – Tannhauser, Parsifal and Lohengrin by Willy Pogany (from $300 to $2000+ each depending on edition and condition). Pogany was a prolific illustrator in the early part of the last century, mostly of children's books. Some of his best work is in this set of three books. I found illustrations of Lohengrin online several years ago and since then I've been looking for copies that aren't expensive. All I can find for "cheap" aren't first editions, and even those go for $200-$300. I have Tannhauser (reprint), but not the other two. Like this on ebay. I don't remember how much I paid, but it was not over $150 and that was a few years ago. Every book in the trilogy have lovely pages bordered with illustrations and pictures, both black and white and in color and the boards for these books are often gilted and pretty. I once saw pictures of the whole set for sale online bound in white leather going for about the price of a car.. $10,000.. I coveted. I saved the pictures for that sale on my computer but they got lost in hard drive crashes. Oh well. Here's an image heavy link to many gorgeous Pogany illustrations. P.S. I also like his version of Alice in Wonderland.

Masques by Patricia Briggs – This book goes for at least $60 on ebay, $120 to over $600 elsewhere. Which I think is CRAZY. I find that Briggs's earlier work isn't as good as her recent books, but yes there is the compulsion to own everything by an author you like. Masques was her first published book I think. Right now, she's very popular because her Mercy Thompson series is one of the best urban fantasy series out there (in my opinion). Sigh. $60 is too much for an old used paperback book that may not be that good.

Mushroom Girls Virus by Deanne Cheuk – Another art book. This one came out in 2005. I saw this, loved it at first sight and bought it from the author. I'm glad I did, now it's out of print and selling for at least $150. Sheesh. I bought it for $45. Mine's not "mint" because I actually wanted to look at it, but I keep it in a plastic wrap because its got a lovely embroidered cover and I don't want anything to mess it up. I hope it gets reprinted, its lovely and girly and pretty. Click here for illustrations in the book. Also here.

There's more but I'm tired..

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Pop-up books by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda












I wanted to post about these pop-up books for a long time now but I was waiting till after Hanukkah because of certain people who read this blog (who I bought copies of these pop-up books for as gifts). Basically – I like pop-up books, their construction is a big complex puzzle – let's make something 3D out of 2D parts and let's make it squish down back to 2D when the reader turns the page. That's awesome – engineering + art. And these books are on the high end of the pop-up book – they boggle my mind. First of all – how are they only around $20 each? Because the construction – there must be 3 or 4 dozen slots and tabs and things that needed to be glued down to create each page – can a machine do that? Is this all hand done?! For $20?! And when I look at it – I see that often things are printed on both sides of a pop-up, so in the Alice pop-up when I see a giant Alice stuck in the White Rabbit's house, I can peer through the windows to see her inside. And I see wallpaper in there. On top of that, there isn't just one pop up per page, oh no, each page has one giant pop-up in the middle, then little mini books on the side with mini-popups in there too! What…my head just imploded. In the Star Wars pop-up book there are light sabers which light up when you open the pages that shut off again when you close them. I think the dinosaur book has a page where one dinosaur pop-up "bites" the other dinosaur. That's some cool beans.


If these books ever go out of print they are going to start getting expensive in the used book market. I think they're collectibles you'll want to keep for a long time. The only thing I see that people could complain about is that you have to be gentle with these books. So they're more for adults and older children who know how to treat their books. You have to make sure nothing gets caught or torn to preserve them. So far ours are still pristine and both of us (I got the Alice book, the rest I got for the boyfriend) put our books back into the plastic sleeve the books came in after we're done looking at them.

Even Martha is a fan - these two pop-up guys were on her show. And I want to make the pop-up reindeer card that's on the martha stewart website.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Art Forms in Nature by Ernst Haeckel

And now a different kind of book from what I usually blog about. Actually I am a little bit in love with collecting art books so I thought I'd post about some art books I've been drooling over and which would make good christmas/hanukkah gifts for science geeks/illustration lovers/art students.

Ernst Haeckel is a big name in biology. According to wikipedia he named thousands of new species and "coined many terms in biology, including phylum, phylogeny, ecology and the kingdom Protista". He also was an artist and his book "Kunstformen der Natur, "Artforms of Nature") has over 100 detailed pictures of animals, especially sea creatures. Even if you aren't into biology – it's gorgeous.

I am not sure how I came upon this book. I think it was random surfing from one blog to a site about bird illustration to googling Haeckel to some other website to looking it up on amazon. Anyway, somewhere in there, I stumbled upon a german site which had a lot of his illustrations scanned and viewable as jpgs along with a pdf file which I think is the whole book in german. Then, randomly a day or so after finding out it was on Amazon (see link to the left), I found this book at anthropologie of all places, and I was surprised because all the illustrations are very nicely done in glossy paper and they are all in one place after a nice introduction about Haeckel and his life, but also the book itself is also a little oversized, which is good - you can really see the detail in the pictures. It shall be mine.

P.S. For more biological books online (including Haeckel's) go to www.biolab.de where you can find cool stuff like this.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend