It's back!

You've been eagerly searching for it! You've been asking for it! You've been protesting outside until we got it in! Well, I am pleased to say that Chroniques de Jérusalem by Guy Deslisle is finally back in stock after being reprinted.

And don't forget, Drawn and Quarterly's English version, Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, will be out in April!

New York Diaries

The concept is so good I can't believe it hasn't been done before. One book. One city. 400 years. Hundreds of diarists. Excerpted and organized in a calendar format, over the 366 days a year can have. New York Diaries is Teresa Carpenter's unconventional portrait of a city. The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist combed through the diaries of visitors to and residents of New York City from 1609 to 2009, including some famous (Washington, Whitman, Warhol...) and some not. Carpenter handpicked entries that resonated with her and put them together, not chronologically but from January 1st through December 31st, so entries years, decades, even centuries apart to the day are juxtaposed, like on February 7th which shares entries from 1840 by George Templeton Strong, a well-to-do lawyer and hobbyist chronicler of the American Civil War; from 1906 by cartoonist and illustrator John Sloane; 1950 by Kurt Weill, the German/Jewish composer of The Threepenny Opera; and 1955 by American man of letters Norman Mailer.

I have decided to approach the book as one of my podcasters (I can't remember which one, someone on either the Slate Culture Gabfest or the NYTimes or NPR Book Review; all those great voices have blended into one cultural harmony...) recommended, which is to take in the book over the course of a year, reading only the entries of the day. This brings me to February 28th and page 77 of 427 and means I don't have too many highlights to share with you. The New York Times review of the book pulls out lots of goodies though. I suggest curious minds go read that.

It was, wasn't it?

"Oh wow. I read that book when I was a kid and it was, like, really important," said the customer in front of the cash, interrupting my reading. I was just going to dip into the book, to remind myself of the characters' names and hopefully recall some of what had made the book so important to me as a young person. Seventeen pages later, I was back in the kitchen of the Murry's on that "dark and stormy night" and no longer in the bookstore, doing my job as the attentive clerk I should be. The customer pulled me but partially out of the Murry's home with her comment and I replied to her, "It was, wasn't it?"

I was asked to blog about Madeleine L'Engle's YA sci-fi/fantasy classic A Wrinkle in Time as it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and, with it, a special commemorative edition featuring the same artwork as the original release. What makes a book important to a young person? I remember reading A Wrinkle in Time, and the four subsequent books in L'Engle's Time Quintet, over and again between the ages of 10 and 16. The first time around, the series was a thrill. Later on, it became a comfort. Revisiting it just now was like stepping back into childhood and into the place of the kind of person I aspired to be at that time, which is what I had found in A Wrinkle in Time.

The Time Quintet follows hero Meg Murry, an awkward young thing with little self-assurance who learns to embrace her exceptional self over the course of her adventures through space and time, alongside other members of the brilliant and eccentric Murry family. A Wrinkle in Time has been called a precursor to popular YA series like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games (with Meg Murry garnering many comparisons to heroine-du-jour Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games). What these series all share is that magic and indelibility that, for the right reader, will turn words on paper into a friend for life. 

I want to hug this book.
Time Quintet box set.
Look for the 50th anniversary special edition in our store soon!

New and Not New

Here are a few books collected loosely under the category of 'things I like but which we have not had in the Librairie until now for one reason or other'. They could also be filed under 'newly arrived at the Librairie and pretty darn great' if you want a more objective reason for this blog post to exist...

The Best of Archy & Mehitabel

From the jacket: "The Best of Archy and Mehitabel showcases the hilarious free-verse poems by Don Marquis's irreverent cockroach poet, Archy, and his alley-cat pal, Mehitabel. Marquis's famous fictional insect appeared regularly in his newspaper columns from 1916 into the 1930s and has delighted generations of readers ever since."

But don't just take it from them. From E.B. White (Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Elements of Style)'s introduction: the Archy poems "contain cosmic reverberations along with high comedy" and have "the jewel-like perfection of poetry." Oh hey, and did I mention? George Herriman illustrates:

Mehitabel in love

The Zuni Cafe Cookbook

A certain D+Q creative director told me he ate the best chicken of his life at the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco (the recipe's in this book). Apart from that, a friend who happens to be one of the best cooks I know has insisted that the Zuni Cafe cookbook is THE cookbook to have. The only cookbook one needs. Period. Don't mess with Judy Rodgers.

The Secret of the Old Clock

Carolyn Keene rescued me when I was a bored 9 year old who couldn't get to sleep. Nancy Drew mysteries taught me how to get free when your wrists are bound and how to look ladylike while changing a tire. All joking aside, for all her pretty dresses Nancy really was an inspiring proto-feminist role model decades before feminism existed. Furthermore, the books are real page-turners, making them a great way to get your pre-adolescent interested in reading. We've got a few of the 80th anniversary hardcovers which reprise the original illustrations. They're super-cute for the tween in your life!

On Keeping a Notebook...

"The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself," so writes Joan Didion in her 1966 essay "On Keeping a Notebook" (in Slouching Towards Bethlehem). In this essay Didion attempts to sort out what exactly pushes her to write down disparate bits of thoughts, events, and sauerkraut recipes through obsessive note taking. I admit, I am an ardent notebook observer. Though I am nowhere near as compulsive as I used to be, I tend write down endless to-do lists and thoughts of seeming importance, only to reread them later, unable to grasp the intended significance. The resonance of keeping a notebook is not immediate, argues Didion, but long term; as it is only when you read your notebook years later that you reach forgotten memories and begin to regain a sense of past selves.

In this spirit, whether you are a compulsive, casual, or wishful notebook keeper, check out our selection of spry notebooks from Chronicle Books, Field Notes, and Scout Books in shop.

A sneak peak, just for you...

Julia Rothman's Typewriter journal
Suzy Altman's Turtles and Toadstools Journal
Mike Lowery's Little Mountain Home Journal
Jeffrey Brown's Cat Companion Journal

Pantone 2012 Color of the Year Journal
Matte Stephens' Summer City Journal
The Great Lakes Goods' Stay Golden Journal
DwellStudio's Labyrinth Journal
Junzo Terada's Animals at Work and Play Journal

Field Notes, big and small

3-pack of Scout Books

The Femicide Machine

We are big supporters of Semiotext(e) here at the bookstore, and it's always really exciting whenever we get our hands on new books of theirs.

New this week is The Femicide Machine by Sergio González Rodríguez, journalist and novelist, author of Bones in the Desert, the most definitive research on a series of crimes still unsolved to this day - the murders of hundreds (thousands?) of women and girls in Juárez, Mexico. You might remember González Rodríguez from his cameo in 2666, Roberto Bolano’s bestselling novel about these female homicides (Ciudad Juárez is fictionalized as a city called Santa Teresa in the novel).

Written especially for Semiotext(e) Intervention series, The Femicide Machine synthesizes González Rodríguez’s documentation of the Juárez crimes, his analysis of the unique urban conditions in which they take place, and a discussion of the terror techniques of narco-warfare that have spread to both sides of the border. The result is a gripping polemic. The Femicide Machine probes the anarchic confluence of global capital with corrupt national politics and displaced, transient labor, and introduces the work of one of Mexico’s most eminent writers to American readers.

Speaking of Semiotext(e)'s Intervention series, look forward to the upcoming release (April 2012) of Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl, the English translation of an important Tiqqun text by the great Ariana Reines.

What matters now

We have been loading up on books from Sternberg Press. The imprint, an outgrowth of Lukas & Sternberg, focuses on writing on art contemporary art criticism and critical theory, fiction and artist's books. With typography centered design, Sternberg covers boast titles like A Thousand Eyes: Media Technology, Law, and Aesthetics, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Curating* *But Were Afraid to Ask, and (my favourite) Are You Working Too Much? Post-Fordism, Precarity, and the Labor of Art. High art theory like this is a privilege to read. Like dessert, it isn't necessary but how good does it taste!

Olle Eksell: Swedish Graphic Designer

Pie Books is a japanese publisher that puts out beautiful art books. Not only do they feature the most exquisite japanese artists, they also showcase under-published (at least here in North Amurca) geniuses from elsewhere, such as the brilliant Swedish designer Olle Eksell:

The book is all in japanese, with a bit of Swedish here and there, but we're not here to read, no ma'am, we're here to stare at the pretty art:

Bold! Elegant!

Adorable! Eye-tickling!

Look forward to another wonderful Pie Book, George Barbier: Master of Art Deco, out on March 13th!

Old books, new editions

These books aren't new but they are new to this store. Sitting face out on our shelves, these stunning editions were just asking to have their pictures taken and shared on the world wide web...

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. Illustrated by Edward Gorey. Published by the New York Review of Books.


Diaries by Franz Kafka. Published by Shocken Books. Cover design by Peter Mendelsund. (Look at those rough cut edges. They make for the most satisfying flip.) 

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. Grove Press. Cover design by Evan Gaffney Design. (This collaborative novel, based on a true crime, was written in 1945, years before Kerouac and Burrough's rise to fame, and finally published in 2008. The type on the cover is embossed inwards as if from a forceful typewriter.)

Of Walking in Ice by Werner Herzog. Free Association Press. (A reprint of Herzog's 1974 diary, initially published in 1978, which documents the filmmaker's foot journey from Paris to Munich to see his old friend, film historian Lotte Eisner who was ill at the time.)

Upcoming workshops!

Hey Montrealers! We are reprising both our ever popular silkscreening workshop and our new graphic novel course this March. As always, we encourage you to come reserve your spot with a deposit, as space is limited and these classes fill up fast!

March 19th, 20th and 21st from 6:30-8:30pm

This 3-day course with instructor Leyla Majeri will go over the basics of silk screening from start to finish. Participants (ages 15 and up) will go home with a completed project. The workshop costs $100 for the whole session - this fee covers all supplies needed. Workshop participants obtain a 20% discount on all books at the store for the duration of the workshop. The deposit to reserve your spot is $65.

March 27th, April 3rd, 10th and 17th from 6:30-8:30pm.

Tom Devlin, the Creative Director for Drawn & Quarterly, former publisher of Highwater Books, and guest editor of The Comics Journal, will be teaching an intensive 4-week graphic novel course at the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly. The course will provide an overview of graphic novel history, an explanation of the tools of the trade, techniques in storytelling and cartooning, and, finally, the proper way to approach to approach a comics publisher with your graphic novel. The workshop costs $200 for the whole session - this fee covers all supplies needed. Workshop participants obtain a 20% discount on all books at the store for the duration of the workshop. We encourage you to come reserve your spot at the store with a deposit of $130 as soon as you can, the number of participants is limited!

The Life and Death of Fritz the Cat

"I can express something [with animals] that is different from what I put into my work about humans... I can put more nonsense, more satire and fantasy into the animals..." — R. Crumb

Fantagraphics Books reprints the best, from beginning to end, of Robert Crumb's iconic Fritz the Cat comics. Collected here is a sampling from the life of the famous funny animal, the American everyguy, metropolitan college student Fritz whose wise words of 1960's rebellion win him attention from ladies of all species. It's hard not to be charmed by Fritz.   

Where the book begins, early Fritz: this strip was created in 1964 and first published in 1969.
Fritz meets his end at the hands of an ex-girlfriend in the 1972 strip Fritz the Cat "Superstar".

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