The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Friday, March 28, 2008

High-Five Fridays #11

#1. Bookthink reports on the Wikipedia effort to include first edition points for collectible books together with the author entries.

#2. There may be some kind of meme implosion here but Collector's Quest had a great "Thursday 13" post on retro kitsch items that you want to collect but can't because they were too damn fragile. I want a hobby wall panel.

#3. Stunning bookshelf, the "Library Dechirico" from studio Made 75. Happily (unlike most of the bookshelves I've seen talked-up recently that hold about two volumes or place books in gratingly inappropriate places like the bathroom) this shelf unit is functional and interestingly modular. Unfortunately I'm less enthusiastic about the flash heavy website so I can't say if/where the shelf is available for purchase. Link via The Blog on the Bookshelf.

#4. Bookseller and blogger J. Godsey sells a wide variety of book restoration supplies and, through the Sic Press, the essential Unbound: Book Repair for Booksellers which has become my new 36-page saddle-stitched Bible. I almost can't wait to find up a book with uneven dyeing, crayon scribbles or a loose signature.

#5. And because I'm tired of thinking, a sexy film montage of classic starlets in silk stockings. Vintage Girly Mags.

Find out how to give your High-Five Fridays here!

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!
Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).

Find more High-Five Friday folks here!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pulp is flowing once again

I beat my scanner into submission and cleared my backed-up covers. Lots of great new additions to the Pulp Fiction Cover Gallery. (Including the ultra rare Charles Willeford pictured above).

Plus here are some artist links into the cover set, my inventory and a bio page (where available) to provide another way of browsing:

James Avati: Flickr - Bio - Buy
Rudolph Belarski: Flickr - Bio - Buy
Gene Bilbrew: Flickr - Bio - Buy
Robert Bonfils: Flickr - Bio - Buy
Rafael DeSoto: Flickr - Buy
Ed Emshwiller: Flickr - Bio - Buy
Jack Gaughan: Flickr - Bio - Buy
Mitchell Hooks: Flickr - Buy
Ray Johnson: Flickr - Buy
Robert Maguire: Flickr - Bio - Buy
Barye Phillips: Flickr - Buy
Paul Rader: Flickr - Buy
Harry Schaare: Flickr - Buy
Eric Stanton: Flickr - Bio - Buy
Ron Turner: Flickr - Bio - Buy
Wally Wood: Flickr - Bio - Buy
Stanley Zuckerberg: Flickr - Buy

These are mostly permalinks for me but I thought I'd make them a public resource. I'll put this post in the "popular posts" section at right if you want to see new additions from these artists.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Indiana "Harmful to Minors" Bookstore Registration Law

By Rachel Deahl -- Publishers Weekly, 3/25/2008 8:39:00 AM

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) has blasted a new Indiana law that requires bookstores to register with the government if they sell what is considered "sexually explicit materials." The new law, H.B. 1042, was signed by Governor Mitch Daniels on March 13, and calls for any bookseller that sells sexually explicit materials to register with the Secretary of State and provide a statement detailing the types of books to be sold. The Secretary of State must then identify those stores to local government officials and zoning boards. “Sexually explicit material” is defined as any product that is “harmful to minors” under existing law. There is a $250 registration fee. Failure to register is a misdemeanor.

ABFFE spokesman Chris Finan said the law is the only one of its kind currently on the books in the country. Calling it "clearly unconstitutional," Finan said ABFFE will urge the Media Coalition to challenge the law at the organization's next meeting on April 9. H.B. 1042 does not go into effect until July, by which time Finan is hopeful the lawsuit will be filed and an injunction issued by the court."

Again with the Google Reader

Since I posted my proposal for a DIY Google Reader Webring I've had 5 bloggers take up the gauntlet: bookn3rd, Book Trout, Bibliophile Bullpen, Exile Bibliophile, and Condalmo. Worthy reads all.

Laura at bookn3rd was having issues with the method I described, so she found this Wordpress Google Reader Widget that does the same thing.

I still have more slots if anyone else wants to participate. I'm trying to figure out how to squeeze stats on this from Google Analytics but no luck yet.

Padded Case Bible Restoration, Part 1

A customer was recently referred to me who needed restoration done on a family Bible. I told him I would take a look, but I don't have the equipment to do a complete rebind so I might have to refer him further.

The Bible in question is a padded case, faux-leather job from the 50s-early 60s. The cover was completely separated with two large secondary chips. The endpapers are made of vinyl and printed with biblical scenes. They can't be separated from the boards without destroying both. I told him I would attempt to reattach the cover and if it didn't take he would be in pretty much the some situation with the Bible requiring a full rebind.

I lived with the book for a few days not sure how to start. It weighs 7-8 pounds and just reattaching the free endpaper to the text block and closing up the split wouldn't make for a strong enough repair.

I finally had a 4am "Eureka!" moment.

I cut 3 thin strips of Tyvek (the tearproof fibrous material used for priority mail envelopes) and, using binders adhesive, I made small pockets on the ends where I could insert my microspatula. Then I coated bottom couple of inches with more adhesive and pushed the tyvek down into narrow slits that I had made in the hollow tube behind the spine.

Now I had three tails that I could use to anchor the cover. So I applied more adhesive, carefully aligned the sections, and inserted the free tabs between the split layers of the cover, adherring them to the board.

This makes for a very strong repair. I'm not sure of the archival properties of tyvek, but--to be honest--not much about this particular Bible was built to last, so I couldn't do any harm.

The next step is to carefully "knit" the split back together, disguising it as much as possible. Here's the start:

Once it's closed there will still be some unsightly missing chips/flakes, so I ordered an assortment of leathers dyes to color the exposed seam.

But that's for Part 2.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Book CSI: Crunchy Goodness

I've been a champion for the use of recycled packing materials for a while now. As long as it's clean and provide the necessary protection, I appreciate thrift and resourcefulness in packaging.

It had to happen though...I just received books in the proverbial cereal box

While undoubtedly nutritious "Go Lean CRUNCH!" provides little to no impact or crush protection.

Thankfully when I buy books I usually only want one or two of them and the rest of the lot is padding by proxy.

Wee Hang Fire Banner

Just made a teeny 106 X 34 Hang Fire banner if anyone feels like plugging me. I think Blogger is blowing it up a bit but it'll download at the proper size.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A little hicksploitation

We don't have cable so I'm always a bit behind the curve on the pop culture phenoms. This isn't so bad as without MTV, I can still enjoy songs that are probably thoroughly played-out.

So lately Alice and I have been obsessed with R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet on (okay, well I've been obsessed and I browbeat Alice into watching it with me). There's some guilt involved though as IFC makes it into a freakshow . . . but I'm telling you Kelly is hip-hop's Ed Wood in the best possible sense.

Anyway, this Kanye West video squares it for me karmically....And it co-stars Will Oldham of Palace Music and Matewan!

...and more hicksploitation.

Bourgeoise Dreams

I woke up this morning thinking I'd heard a loud dripping all night.

I remember getting up and trying to turn it off but I couldn't and figuring that another of our faucets must have mysteriously blown out.

This is the most mundane nightmare I've ever had. Alice says that now I've become part of "the problem" and soon I'll wake up with night sweats over the prime interest rate.

Friday, March 21, 2008

DIY Google Reader Webring

I just added a Google Reader widget to my sidebar to promote select headlines from bookish blogs. If other bloggers want to add the widget as well, I'm thinking it could be a good way to get some cross-promotional mojo going.

If you're interested:
  1. Sign up for Google Reader
  2. Add a handful of RSS feeds to your blog subscriptions
  3. Click "share" in the footer of any post you'd like to promote (I did 1 from each blog)
  4. In the "your shared items" tab select "Put a clip on your site or blog" and paste the code into your blog template. There are some customization options you can play with (number of posts featured, text color) but please check the "show item sources" box so the posts have a credit line
  5. Once it's active, invite other bloggers and periodically go into Google Reader and refresh your shared items (I plan to do it every week or so).
--I Think-- this is relatively easy to set up but I've heard the code doesn't work with every template.

I've already suckered convinced Book Trout to share headlines and I've got room for another 9 (or more if I rotate content).

So do you write about bookstores, pulp fiction, vintage smut, zombies? Want to exchange headlines? Let me know. I reserve the right to refuse a link exchange if I don't feel it's a good match.

Some of you might recognize this as similar to the Blogrush model, but after experimenting with Blogrush for 3-4 months I found I was barely getting any hits and the headlines it served to my blog (even in the "books" category) were so non-specific that they didn't inspire clicking. This Google Reader method is a little more labor intensive but I think hand-picked material will work better.

Check out my shared headlines at the right and read and subscribe to the worthy blogs.

If you run into any glitches or have questions, please leave them in the comments field of this post.

High-Five Fridays #10

Back on the horse after a week of creeping Windows issues. My scanner is still acting like it doesn't know me but at least I can blog.

Here's some things I was lucky enough to be able to read this week.

#1. Discovery of the Original Mile High Collection: Chuck Rozanski's multi-part epic about his acquisition of the "Mile High Comic Collection", an extremely hi-grade collection of nearly every comic published between 1938-1958. He includes lots of personal detail like living in his '63 Chevy Impala while traveling between comic conventions make money for college tuition, Mile High Comics, link via BoingBoing.

#2. Disturbingly, eerily, brain-burningly cute dog picture: Trust me on this. I don't do "cute" very often, Flickr user Marcus.

#3. Do It Yourself Pasties and the Burlesque Handbook at School of Burlesque.

#4. Some Tips for Ad Image Design: Banner design philosophy and how to catch eyeballs with correctly timed animation. Great information. Use it only for good. Nora O'Neill at The Bookshop Blog.

#5. The 9 Most Annoying People I Always See at the Bookstore: Grating types that always turn up at the chain stores. Must admit that I'm frequently guilty of "couch sitting". I spent way too many years wearing the paper hat at B&N. They owe me. Bookgasm

Find out how to give your High-Five Fridays here!

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!
Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).

Find more High-Five Friday folks here!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Victorian Flirting Crib Sheets

Hopefully both the flirter and the flirtee had a copy of this decoder sheet or such gestures as balancing your fork on the edge of a cup while holding your napkin in three fingers could get a girl in serious trouble.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Possessed: Documentary on Hoarding

POSSESSED from Martin Hampton on Vimeo.

An eloquent twenty-minute documentary on hoarders. Explores the lives of four people through their obsessive relationship with possessions (mostly grocery bags, used cotton balls, old porn and empty toothpaste tubes).

Depressing but fascinating. I partially depend on these people to accumulate inventory for me (which I eventually purchase from overwhelmed relatives). I also know that I would only have to be tuned a couple of degrees to go down this road myself.

Link via BoingBoing

In honor of our pulp fiction ex- Governor

and more additions to the Pulp Fiction Cover Gallery.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Trunk Stories #4, Part II

Here's the second installment of Trunk Stories #4. TS is the Hang Fire Books virtual reading series and the digital resurrection of my 'zine of literary fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

A short story about a mysterious--yet orderly and polite--infestation of tiny men in suits. (pdf)

William Mingin has published eighteen short stories, with more forthcoming, in such magazines as Talebones, Tales of the Unanticipated, Black October, and Zahir; one was included in Year's Best Fantasy 3 (Hartwell and Cramer). He has also published over 200 reviews, essays, and articles, and currently reviews for AudioFile Magazine and Strange Horizons. He attended Clarion West in 2000 and is a member of the Garden State Horror Writers. He's married and lives in central New Jersey, where he runs a small book-export business.
Timothy Dedman is a writer and illustrator living in Brooklyn, New York.
Read the first story from issue #4 here: "Dame Morehead's Sea of Tranquility" by Tobias Seamon

Back issues of Trunk Stories can be purchased in the side-bar (Issue #1 is OP and available as a free download).

Friday, March 7, 2008

High-Five Fridays #8

#1. Buying and Selling Civil War Ephemera, Part I: Photographic Images: An info-rich introduction to collecting, appraising and selling Civil War-era photographs. The first installment on a series about Civil War ephemera, Michele Behan for Bookthink.

#2. Long discussion thread on "shocking" or "controversial" content in a young adult novels by a writer who's been asked why she includes such material one too many times, Justine Larbalestier and continued on Oached Pish.

#3. Flying off the Shelves: Piece on the agony and ecstasy of chasing shoplifters from an ex-clerk in an independent bookstore. The Stranger, link via Gwenda Bond at Shaken & Stirred.

#4. Can You Tune in Tokyo?: Cute cheesecake/pin-up style vintage radio with nipples for dials, Silent Porn Star.

#5. Ross MacDonald and Liberation: A post from Tor's Art director on using letterpress printing to capture the look of 19th-century runaway slave posters for the cover of a new novel by Brian Francis Slattery, The Art Department.

and one extra because I couldn't trim the list.

#6. There Are No Morals in Bookselling: Account of a bookseller who was seriously burned on an eBay purchase and the overwhelming desire for vengeance, Tom Nealon for The Bookshop Blog.

Find out how to give your High-Five Fridays here!

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!
Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).

Find more High-Five Friday folks here!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

New Bookplate and Ephemera

Here's a few newly acquired pieces of ephemera. No theme, I just accumulated a pile.

First this personalized 1939-1940 school library pocket from the Boulevard School (likely in Gloversville, NY but I'm not sure).

I wonder if the aloof-looking girl sketched on the pocket was the crush object of one of the boys on the check-out slip.

Next this beautiful plate that was one of the few prizes collected at the FOL sale I bitched about recently.

I found this using the Bookplate Junkie's tip of looking through foreign language sections because they generally contain a heavier concentration of plates. I guess since the owners cared enough about their libraries to transport them overseas, it's more likely that they would attend to niceties like bookplates

The plate's signed but I don't recognize the mark. This is the best it will scan. It was in a volume from 1931.

Lastly this fairly plain ticket from Almy's Book Shop, Salem Massachusetts, found in a 1921 volume.

Can't find much about the store, except that at some point it may have been replaced by a Burlington Coat Factory (or maybe that was the department store of the same name).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Quick Reviews: Something in the Shadows by Vin Packer (Marijane Meaker) and Already Dead by Charlie Huston

I've been on a serious reading tear recently; whittling down my monolithic nightstand pile, advancing through my unread shelves (systematically reading one book from each author A-Z), and playing the interlibrary loan system like a punk.

This is a great feeling. Frequently I stare at my books and feel only bored dissatisfaction (a common complaint for those in my profession) but right now the chemistry is perfect so I'm running with it.

Here are a couple of titles I really enjoyed.

Something in the Shadows by Vin Packer (pseudonym of Marijane Meaker, aka: M. E. Kerr, Ann Aldrich, et al)

SITS is a quirky, early-60s, horrors-of-suburbia novel about a mismatched couple whose marriage is disintegrating. The wife is in advertising and brings her work and extramarital flirtations home with her; the husband is a curmudgeonly folklorist who wants nothing to do with people and whose affection is completely focused on his cat.

When said cat is killed by a stranger in what seems like an entirely gratuitous act of cruelty, the husband embarks on vicious and asymmetrical revenge plot.

Despite their differing personalities, Meaker convinces the reader of this couple's one-time connection that has faded to habit. The drunken advertising brainstorm sessions are bitterly funny and the husband's alienation from his wife's world is palpable. The characters are all subtly developed through their relationships--kindnesses and cruelties--with animals and the line between wild and domestic, hunter and prey is aptly explored.

Great stuff. Reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith and Richard Yates.

A couple of in-jokes/references: The couple's last name is "Meaker" (of course the actual name of the author) and the husband describes his wife as a Jane Greer lookalike (who starred in the classic film noir Out of the Past). This is the same actress that the doomed mother in Meaker's earlier The Evil Friendship (reviewed here) is mentioned as resembling. Not sure the significance of that. Maybe the author just has a thing for Jane Greer.

In this she is not alone.

Next up is Already Dead by Charlie Huston

This is the first book in a noir/horror series starring the mostly-dead PI, Joe Pitt. Pitt is infected with a virus that will eat him from the inside out and drive him insane unless he consumes human blood on a fairly regular basis. Lots folks in Manhattan suffer from this virus and they've divided into gangs and societies (more or less along Manhattans standard socio-economic lines) to fight for control of territory. There are vamps in Brooklyn and Staten Island as well but they're f***king barbarians.

Pitt is a rogue Op in this particularly Red Harvest and he's out to find the missing daughter of an amoral power broker who was last seen running with a goth zombie.

Huston balances the needs of the genres skillfully. Vampirism works well as a noir trope--fitting right in with the slipped mickeys and saps to the skull--and Already Dead pulls off what Joss Whedon's Angel tried-for (but frequently failed at for lack of cojones). Also he makes one zombie into a sad, tragic, (and kind of sexy) femme fatal. No mean feat.

I'm excited to read the two follow-ups: No Dominion, and Half the Blood of Brooklyn.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bookseller's Gazette #3

The third installment of the Bookseller's Gazette is up at The Bookshop Blog. The Gazette is an on-going feature collecting references to specific rare or out-of-print books that pop-up in national media (magazines, radio, top o' the pile blogs, etc).

The Gazette is (in theory) tip driven but so for--with a few exceptions (for which I'm grateful)--it's been all me...and this is of limited value (especially to me).

So please keep an extra sharp eye out and send your tips/links here (change "(at)" to @). I'll give credit and/or a link to the first source for any tips I use (please include your desired credit info with the tip).

BOOK CSI: Love in the Burn Ward

The color beneath the cover laminate of this copy of Her Private Passions, aka: The Glass Heart by Marty Holland (Avon 181) has bled in such a way that it looks like the cover models had some kind of disfiguring rash.

I'm glad they found each other.

Book CSI is a continuing record of the sins against books committed by readers, the elements and time. I'm posting interesting cases as I find them. Please report any noteworthy crimes to our desk man.