Monday, May 26, 2014

S13: The Miraculous Birth of Language

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a truly terrible book come out of the Biblio-Mat so it was almost a relief to find this book. Almost.


Title: The Miraculous Birth of Language

Written by R. A. Wilson and published in 1941, this book is as nondescript as you can get with a plain blue cover and the title on the spine. Having taken a few linguistics classes in university, I’m quite aware of how in-depth books on the history of language can get, as well as how dry they can be. Reading through the first chapter of this, The Miraculous Birth of Language is no exception.

As plain as it gets.

The preface, though, was rather enlightening.

Evolution beyond that of languages.

While it doesn’t read like a textbook, it does study the birth of language in depth with a questions and answers tone. Not quite a lecture, but also not quite storytime.

Mixing science and linguistics history...

...doesn't always end well.

But drawings of animals always do.

Definitely not as sleep-inducing as some of the linguistics books I’ve read since it has a lot of diagrams and images, but I think it would be safe to say the highlight of the book is the 28 page preface from George Bernard Shaw.

Monday, May 19, 2014

OT8: Victoria Day 2014

The last Monday before May 25th is celebrated as Victoria Day in Canada in honour of our dominion’s first sovereign, Queen Victoria. Luck was not with me this time and I didn’t receive any tomes pertaining to this monarch from the Biblio-Mat so I dug up the next best thing I had.

Victorian-esque. Kind of.

While not related to Queen Victoria, Self-Reliance was written in Victorian times. The kicker is that this copy was printed in 1902, one year after the end of the Victorian Era. Not quite dead-on but it’s the closest I’ve got to a Victoria Day related book.

The straight man to Thoreau's tree-hugging land-squatting hippy.

I picked this up from the Monkey’s Paw a while ago and it was an instant buy as soon as I saw it on the shelf for two reasons. The first being that Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance is one of my favourite essays and it was actually the subject of the last paper I ever wrote in university. The second was that this copy is an amazingly preserved specimen from the Roycroft press, which was one of the earliest art collectivesfor printing. The sheer history of it was too great to pass up.

Light reading on a long weekend.

The Roycroft press was essentially an artisan press, focusing on craftsmanship over mass production. The cover to Self-Reliance appears to be rough cut leather with a satin lining. The interior pages are very much handcrafted and naturally uneven. There’s a gorgeous inscription on the inside cover that is interesting in that it’s in raised ink, which combined with the penmanship would lead me to believe it was created professionally either by the press or another print shop.

Because it's more fun to stylize an X than a C.

Beautiful pages and layout designs make this a gem to hold and read. Considering it was printed just after the Victorian Era, the condition is impeccable.

As artisan as it gets.

Monday, May 12, 2014

S12: The Field Book of the Horse

This week's book submission is a throwback to one of the books I received during last year's project.

Book: The Field Book of the Horse
Submitted by: Michelle L.

Less catchy title, though.

Published in 1955, The Field Book of the Horse appears to be a book on show horses with a few images of fox hunts sprinkled in. With a vintage cover and black and white photos, it does date itself a bit but embraces the retro look of a text meant for the wealthy back in the day.

Monday, May 5, 2014

S11: Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study

This week's Biblio-Mat book submission comes from a sender who didn't care to have their name published.

Black on black is always an interesting choice.

Book: Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study
Submitted by: Anonymous

It looks to be an interestingly designed book, opting to leave the embossing on the cover colourless. From the submitter:

"The books looks like it's been used a lot but is still intact. The black on black cover has the price of 19 cents pressed into it, as well as a seal saying it's 'Authorized by the Minister of Education'. Inside, the publish date is 1915 - almost a hundred years old! The rest of the book looks clean and it contains a bunch of study guides."

From what I can tell from the pics, there's slight a fixation on trees. Would be interesting to see how relevant the information is nowadays.