Sunday, June 06, 2004

Early June in New York City is heavenly. My day of fun was a joy, and my business day was fruitful, so I'm happy. I've been back to the grind since Friday, with only a few hours off today for a cookout spent indoors, all lights aglow, with the closest of friends.

Had a super time talking about books and the book trade with Hilary Thayer Hamann, author of Anthropology of an American Girl, and Christine Vecoli, who is currently working with Hilary on a new book for Vernacular Press. It was fun seeing their spacious, open office space and witnessing the creative team in process; I was given a birds' eye glimpse of the book, which is in production now.

Categories on the Beauty of Physics by Stephen Markacs introduces young people to physics. Instead of a bone-dry, technical manual, Categories presents the principles of physics which are accompanied by appropriate selections from literature that challenge the mind and extend the concept being introduced. (How's that for a run-on sentence! I'll try to fix it tomorrow.) Each principle is also illustrated or, to be more accurate, illuminated by artist John Morse's vivid, brilliantly colorful collage art.

Having a front row seat to the creative process in action inspired me. Bookmaking is a definite trip. And talk about trips! Hilary placed into my hands a copy of Anthropology of an American Girl. On the way home on the train, I clasped it and couldn't let go. I kept stroking the book cover and the remarkably smooth cover art, a pure tactile pleasure. Definitely a book for those who appreciate fine book art. Beneath the book cover, the book is bound in the highest quality linen, a deep shade of olive green, with silver inlaid lettering. The end papers are covered with a blue and green text, and are short one-liners from the book. The pages are made of a paper that is a delight to touch. I realize I'm waxing on here, but it's so rare to read a book that's a physically sensual experience!

I've had to work my head off since getting home from New York, or I would have much more to say about the novel. I have had not a moment to read! This is dire, people.

But I will give you a glimpse of the opening of the novel.

"That night we are at a party. I cannot look at the people, all the people are like stand-up pigs, like pigs in suits. The eyes are dead and round in faces that are not real faces, but compilations of parts--teeth and noses and millions of hairs blown and combed and lips that liberate opinions through tangles of smoke, sideways disclosures about mentions in Variety and the luminescence of diamonds. I stay by my seat. I know it is mine because there is a card with my name. The card is the color of spoiled cream or curdled cream, and the ink is a sort of ochre." Hilary Thayer Hamann, Anthropology of an American Girl.


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