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“By the Book” Short Story Collection by the Blank Page Writing Club–Available Now!

Eleven stories written by eleven authors in a collection centered around the theme of books. The tales range from dystopian to contemporary, filled with every emotion on the spectrum from humor to horror (and of course romance).

By the Book _ Cover (Front) 3-3 (small)

As the editor for this collection, I read every story and really enjoyed every single one of them. The Blank Page Writing Club is a very eclectic group of people who all bring something unique and interesting to the table, but if there is one common denominator between them, it is their passion for storytelling. This is the fourth collection that we have put together, and I am so honored to have such talent come together.

Check out the authors and their other works!

Buy it now at Lulu.com!

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Aside

All the Punks.

I am having mixed feelings about these sub-genres that end in -punk. Steampunk is the most popular, but I’ve since discovered other off shoots. Dieselpunk (e.g. Mad Max, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow). Atompunk (e.g. Fallout, Buck Rogers). Raypunk (Flash Gordon, Star Wars). Cyberpunk (Blade Runner, Robocop). Dreadpunk (Penny Dreadful, The Woman in Black). Just to name a few.

There are just… so many of these -punks I can’t tell if it makes things harder or easier. Case in point, I enjoy science fiction, but only certain kinds. I have always gravitated towards the retro stuff like Flash Gordon, Star Trek the Original Series, and Forbidden Planet. So, knowing that those particular franchises fall under either Raypunk or Atompunk (there’s a difference trust me, I’ll get into it) helps me to more easily find what I like in a world of specific tags and categories on the Interwebs. So, that’s the pro.

And yet.

And yet.

Sometimes it hurts the brain to sort out what is what. I have seen heated debates in Facebook comments about what is Atompunk or Raypunk, since the difference is a thin one. Consensus seems to say that Atompunk is science fiction based more on science that follows the possible future or alternate existence of the real world. Everything that is fantastic about it is based on science, like in Star Trek. On the other hand, Raypunk leans a little more towards the fantasy side of it, which accepts magic and less believable worlds and creatures, like Flash Gordon.

At least that’s how I’ve come to (more or less) understand Atompunk-vs-Raypunk. If there are simpler, better definitions (as I’m sure there are) please let me know!

In any case, the most recent one I discovered is Dreadpunk, which seems to have some backlash from those who are against another splintered sub-genre. This one has me conflicted. It feels a little redundant, since it’s basically Supernatural Victorian Horror. That particular genre is also my jam. It’s the genre that two of my books would fall under–Tarkington Wolf and The Brethren Souls.

Maybe the world is such that we need these little genres, for people like me who are selective in what they like. And search engines and tagging make it that much easier to narrow things down. Could “narrowing down” be limiting us too much, though? Could it keep us from discovering something new by accident?

What do you guys think about all the -punk genres?

The ISBN Number and Why It’s Important to Me

So, I’m a bookseller at an independently owned bookstore. We don’t have the luxury of scanning barcodes in any form, we hand price everything with a good old fashioned price gun, and manually type in the prices of each book as they are rung up. It allows a lot of freedom when it comes to dealing with second-hand stuff, so that we can price things as fairly as possible, but it also requires a little paying attention.

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the value of the vintage books, using the internet and the little bit of knowledge I’ve accumulated on the subject as a humble book clerk without formal training. I’ve probably learned a thing or two incorrectly, but what I do know and apply is relevant to where I work and the customers who frequent our store.

The vintage books are only a small portion of what we carry, they probably make up 5% of what we carry in-store, but they draw a lot of people in. Less often do we get the serious collectors, so pricing has to make sense for what will help them sell.

Sometimes these priceless antiques are deliberately under-priced for the sake of getting it off the shelf, which is a little tragic, but practical when you’re hurting for shelve space for the new stock. That’s retail for ya.

This brings me to ISBN numbers. I use it as one indicator to know at a glance whether or not a book could or should be classified as “vintage.” The definitions vary, so I had to find my own true north, so to speak, so that the classification (in our store at least) isn’t completely arbitrary. Here it is:

Any book (with reasonable exceptions) that does not have an ISBN and is obviously older than 50 years is “vintage”.

This is because of the history of the ISBN number itself. In a nutshell, ISBNs  were implemented in the late 1960s with the early days of computer technology so that everything could be cataloged and recorded.

 

That isn’t to say there aren’t books of immense value during or after that period, but we’re talking antiques and vintage tomes here, things that could possibly be haunted and super rare. (Okay, maybe not haunted, but it would be cool.)

Honestly, I don’t know if anyone who is certified or carries a degree in book history would agree with my chosen distinctions, but it’s served me well thus far. I’m still learning and striving to learn. It’s also worth mentioning that I work in the heart of retail while trying to maintain a respect for the books themselves, and I tell you, painful compromises have to be made on a daily basis.

But that’s a post for another day.

 

Vintage Books – The Kingdom of Books (1927)

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Title: The Kingdom of Books

Author(s):  William Dana Orcutt

Illustrator: Various

Publisher: Little, Brown & Company

Year: 1927

Description: Brown cloth, gold gilt cover, top edges gold gilt.

As a bibliophile, I couldn’t get away from this book. It was also written by a bibliophile about the history of printing, publishing, binding, and reading. Basically all the things that fascinate me!

The book itself is also just pretty to look at, if you can’t tell in the images. For being 90 years old, it’s in pristine condition and still has the tissue guard over the title page. If there is, like, an ideal size/weight/texture of a book, this one is pretty close. You know when you hold a book in two hands and it just feels right? It just fits comfortably? This one is like that.

The text inside is also nice and big for easy reading, not to mention it’s chock full of illustrations to demonstrate book things, such as the “Prime Ministers To the Book” like Aldus Manutius (pictured) and their contributions to book printing and publishing.

There are also detailed descriptions of the different types of designs and where they originated. The Grolier binding, probably the inspiration for this book’s cover, is pictured here, too. Though there are more and more pages of other ornate book covers over the centuries, all of which are brilliant. (I may revisit this post to share more pictures of these, since I doubt they can be found online anywhere.)

One of my favorite, albeit tiny, things is the font throughout the book. I’ve seen this before in vintage texts, but I don’t know the reason or the name for it (yet). It’s the style of the Cs and Ts when they’re next to each other in a given word. For example, the words “Distinctly” and “Abstract” and “Exacting” in the photo I took of a random page. You can see the top of the T curling back to the crown of the C. If anyone knows anything about the why’s or when’s for this, I’d love to know!

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$0.99 Kindle Download for Historical Novella, “That Dame” by Di Roach

It’s the Prohibition Era and a young woman secretly divides her time between two men– a young detective and a notorious gangster.

When the one man who serves as a link between her two lifestyles turns up dead, she becomes the prime suspect.

What will be the consequences of her double life when the two men of her affections find out about each other?


Get the $0.99 download for your kindle!

Help support by leaving a review on the Amazing Kindle page.

Amazon Kindle – That Dame by Di Roach

That Dame 2nd Ed (Cover-Front) Digest Print (small)

Vintage Books – Don’t Worry Nuggets (1899)

In light of the collective anxiety in the world this year, I felt this book was appropriate to share. It is neat.


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Green cloth with gold gilt. Dimensions are about 5.5″ x 3.25″

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Title: Don’t Worry Nuggets

Author(s):  Epicetus, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Eliot, Robert Browning; Compiled by Jeanne G. Pennington

Illustrator: N/A

Publisher: Fords, Howard, & Hubert

Year: 1899

Description: Green cloth, top edges gold gilt

The title caught my eye, but I was biased to buy it when I saw two of my favorite authors included in it (Emerson and Robert Browning). The book is also tiny. It’s 5.5″ x 3.25″, ideal for keeping in your pocket. You know, in case you need a nugget of don’t-worry to nom on when you get brain hungry.

There is a great “Notes” section at the beginning from the compiler, Jeanne G. Pennington, where she explains her reason for compiling it and emphasizing the positive messages that we still need to be reminded of even 118 years later.

A quick (and admittedly lazy) Google search on Pennington didn’t yield much other than the fact that she did a few of these “Nugget” books on varying topics. Maybe I’ll come across more and get a collection going!

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Title page features Mr. Emerson himself, the big brain behind the “Transparent Eyeball” and “Self-Reliance.”

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Towards the end of the book is this page of reviews and description of the book itself. It was worth a whole 40 cents.

Aside

A Plethora of Vintage Books

Welly, welly, well!

The last time I posted about vintage books I mentioned that I had bought it at an independent bookstore. Since then I have been hired into and working at said bookstore and it has changed my life. My love of the vintage books has been enabled and I get to handle and sell these things with my own hands.

Inevitably I’ve come across and even purchased a lot of these antique beauties. I love them so much I just have to share them here. I’m not necessarily here to educate or click-bait, I just need a place to gush. While first editions and old copies of popular and known authors are always awesome, I have a passion for those little known and generally worthless books that time and collectors don’t care about. I can’t save them all, but every once in awhile I come across one that I feel compelled to save and keep safe. (I feel like I run a “book shelter” sometimes.)

I’m going to make an effort this year to post more regularly on here, to showcase some of these cuties and beauties of paper and ink. Even if no one sees, I can always look back on this as my own digital scrapbook.