I’M ON A TREASURE HUNT. I’m tired of hearing people say there are “no good books left.” Yes, the market is inundated right now, but I’m on a mission to find the best literary fiction out there provided by the “little guys.” I’m digging through the muck to find rare gems: meaningful and culturally significant literature that engages and says something more than vampire love.

Today the book market is dominated by Amazon and big publishing houses, so I want to give a nod to the small presses who are fighting the good fight. ALL the books I read here have been published by small presses and (whenever possible) purchased from local bookstores.

You won’t find negative reviews here. The market is too vast to waste anyone’s time with bad reviews. Rather, you will find that I am selective about the books I read, and if I don’t like something, I won’t review it. In other words, I won’t give you the dirt, only the plunder.

I will be posting quarterly book recommendations for writers, avid readers, and anyone who thinks good literature is dead. I will also have "Throwback Thursdays" to show some of my old book collection to promote the preservation of classic stories and the art of beautiful bookbinding.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Introducing…Oldies of the Month #tbt - Leaves of Grass

I'm a collector of old books. There's something about their smell, the sound of the hand-cut pages, the weight of their leather binding, that creates an unmatched beauty lost with ebooks and paperbacks. Book covers today can be awesome - I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I love a good one! A lot of time is put into their design and printing, but not like when they used to do it by hand.

Most of my books hail from the 19th century and early 20th…back in the day of steam-powered iron presses. Cloth bindings became more popular in the 20th century, and then paperbacks in the 21st, which is why I value a rare leather-bound book, its cover engraved by hand and its pages painted with gold.

It's remarkable that these books managed to stay so intact for 100+ years. Each page is jagged because they were cut by hand, each cover embossed with gold lettering.

This special segment is fitting for this blog because the old classics - Burns, Whitman, Longfellow - were first either self-published or printed by small presses. So I'm introducing a new type of #tbt…Oldie Books, where I'll share a gem from my book library to appreciate the old ways.

My #tbt today is Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. This book is a true encapsulation of the work inside! It is one of a kind, from 1900, with some incredible features. See for yourself:

 Title page, written by hand