Today’s episode is all about unreadable books. What does it mean to read? How do we garner read meaning from text written in a language that we do not understand? Today we will talk about the process of reading, and I have some fun historical and contemporary examples of indecipherable books. We will go into the mysterious Voynich Manuscript, the surreal Codex Seraphinianus, and contemporary unreadable works by book artists Heather Peters and Timothy Ely.
Now that we are in October, we are getting into the Halloween spirit by talking about an infamous book called The Malleus Maleficarum, also known as The Hammer of Witches. A book responsible for fueling the heinous witch trials throughout medieval Europe for centuries.
We delve into book history and talk about the author and inquisitor Heinrich Kramer. Then we have a fantastic interview with rare books librarian Karen Wahl about her research on the printing developments of the Malleus Maleficarum, and a talk with writer and translator Valarie Williams about an 20th century supernatural scholar named Montague Summers.
For this episode, what I originally thought would be a fun witchy romp through book history, ended up being a little heavy, more than a little misogynistic, and a lot uncomfortable. So, I won't be getting into the gory details about the European witch trials on this podcast, but choosing to mainly focus on the Malleus Maleficarum itself and its author. There are plenty of gory details about the witch trials out there that you can easily find, trust me. Instead, I want to emphasize how powerful a book can be, for better or worse. The Malleus Maleficarum is after all, probably the most widely printed and bestselling book after the bible. It was the go-to witch hunting manual for centuries, and single-handedly altered the lore of witches forever.
Disclaimer: Although this a very tame version of the European Witch Trials and this episode is still very much safe for work and not explicit, there is some material that may be uncomfortable for very sensitive ears - I do mention parts of the human anatomy and talk about the inquisition of witches.Read More
What is book art exactly? What is an artist book? Are all art books book art? What do you mean by codex? Or livre d’artiste? Are you making these words up?
I have been getting questions like these for the past... seven or so episodes. So today I’m going to reel it in and start at the beginning with the book art basics. We have guests Ariel Hansen Strong and Faith Hale here today to play Book Art Trivia, and we have compiled the top 5 frequently asked questions which we will try to answer, and I got a new kazoo so you know we’re all in for a big treat.
For those playing along at home, I would love to hear your answers too, so feel free to comment on the episode post on booksinthewild.com or send me a message on Facebook or Instagram @BooksintheWildPodcast
Full Transcript of this episode here
Coyote Bones Press - use coupon code BOOKS at checkout for 10% off
Cloudship Creative - use coupon code BOOKS at checkout for 10% off
San Francisco Center for the Book - Degrees of Innovation exhibition opens October 13, 2017
Heidi Neilson's Outernet Library Branch (Yes, I know I said "Nelson", I'm sorry...)
Book Arts Web - great resource for all things book art!
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with book artist Lyall Harris. Unfortunately, due to some technical difficulties, I was unable to release the episode before the opening of Lyall and Patricia Silva’s exhibition at the San Francisco Public Library in June. It took some time and YouTube tutorials, but I managed to clean up the audio to make it somewhat listenable, and I do believe that the content in the conversation truly outweighs my shortcomings with recording. The other good news is that Lyall and Patricia’s exhibition is still going on view and there will be a panel discussion on creative collaboration on September 9, 2017.
Lyall Harris is a book artist, writer and painter who lives and works in Charlottesville, VA, and Florence, Italy. Lyall's artwork has been exhibited in more than one hundred solo and juried group shows and recognized with over twenty awards. She has been the recipient of fellowships at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, NALL Foundation in Vence, France, and San Francisco's Grabhorn Institute. Lyall is also the co-founder and co-editor of The Sigh Press literary and art journal in Florence, Italy.
Meeting Places/Luoghi d’incontro is the collaborative work by Lyall and Florence, Italy-based book artist and printmaker Patricia Silva. After having met in Florence, Lyall Harris and Patricia Silva embarked on a series of twelve collaborative book art projects since 2014.The artists set constraints for the process, both of materials and time, which forced them to work in an immediate, intuitive and exploratory way. The varied work addresses issues and histories from their shared and layered perspectives as artists, mothers, daughters, wives, and expats in a changing and complex environment.
Meeting Places is now on view at the San Francisco Public Library through September 14, 2017.
Links and Additional Info:
Meeting Places/Luoghi d’incontro collaborative work by Lyall Harris and Patricia Silva is on view at the San Francisco Public Library through September 14, 2017.
Today we are on the hunt for missing punctuation. Like many letters and even entire words, quite a few good punctuation marks have been lost to modern English. In this episode, we’re going to track down some forgotten and elusive marks, from the mysterious Pilcrow to the playful interrobang. Today I have a very exciting noir-themed audio drama filled with questionable acting and an unforgivable amount of punctuation puns.
Read full transcript here.
Links / Cast:
Coyote Bones Press Use coupon code BOOKS for 10% off
The Unicode Consortium - Secret Society of Emoji Makers
Childhood Remastered Podcast (Sean plays Octothorpe)
Squatcher's Lounge Podcast (Jeff plays Interrobang)
Varmints Podcast (Paul plays Octopus)
For his 90th birthday in February 1913, renowned British naturalist and evolutionary biologist Alfred Russel Wallace received a mysterious package containing a small booklet called Shall We Have Common Sense. This booklet, dated 1849, contained essays on evolution through natural selection and germ theory. If this booklet is authentic, it precedes Darwin and Wallace’s publications on evolution by a decade, and Louis Pasteur’s writings on germ theory by nearly two decades.
Is it a genuine remarkable discovery? Is it an elaborate and confusing hoax? Join in on the investigation as we explore some intriguing characters like the eccentric atheist George Washington Sleeper, British naturalists Alfred Russel Wallace and Edward B. Poulton, and a mysterious little booklet that could change the history of evolutionary theory.
For More Information Visit our Reading List
If you have additional information you'd like to share about the typeface for this booklet, George Sleeper, or The Linnean Society, please contact me!
Brought to you by Coyote Bones Press
A commonplace book is a compilation of information or inspiration - anything that one would like to remember or save to reference later. They differ from diaries or journals, in that it usually organized by topic instead of date, and culls information from many sources instead of being autobiographical.
For this episode, I wanted to create a "commonplace audiobook" about creative block. I have compiled some information about the creative process in general, a few famous examples of creative blocks, advice on rekindling inspiration, music and audio clips that might help to encourage some artistic inspiration.
This episode isn’t directly about books, but rather about the creative process itself that can be applied to all creative work, not just book artists. So this would probably be a great starting point for you to share this podcast with your friends (hint hint)
A complete list of additional reading material, and links for the music and audio clips can be found on Books in the Wild's Reading List
Every Moment in a Book: Three Decades of Work by Julie Chen is now on view at the Allen Library Special Collections at University of Washington through June 30, 2017. On March 16th, a reception and artist talk was held and I was lucky enough to attend and record the momentous event.
Julie Chen is a renowned book artist and professor of book art at Mills College. Thirty years ago, Julie founded Flying Fish Press, a publisher of limited-edition artists' books, in Berkeley California and has remained at the forefront of the book art world since. Julie's books are innovative and impeccably crafted, thoughtful and sincerely moving. She has been an inspiration, mentor, and generous educator to many - myself included. I am so very excited to have been present and have the opportunity to see Julie's retrospective exhibition in Seattle, and to hear her inspiring talk (which I am also excited about sharing with you!)
Note: There are moments in the talk that reference particular works of art. Because I felt that there were still many points that would be of interest to listeners. I have added images of works that were referenced (along with the time that they are referenced in the talk) to the Reading List page.
In early 1916 on an excursion through the ruined city of Ypres, Belgium, British soldiers came across a damaged letterpress machine in a bombed out print shop. Over the next two years, Captain Frederick J. Roberts and his men produced twenty-three issues of gallows humor, poetry, and prose. In this episode, we’ll delve into some of the history, the process, and production of The Wipers Times.
Today's episode is all about reading - what it means to read, how we read, and a brief history of reading. I'll talk about literacy rates, the alphabetic principle, phonetics, and nonsense poems by Lewis Carroll.
I am also very excited to announce that Books in the Wild has been awarded a Project Grant by the College Book Art Association ensuring that this podcast stays alive through 2017!
Originally published as Marginalia Podcast in November of 2016, this is our sample/pilot episode for Books in the Wild. In this episode we cover the gruesome book of John Horwood, a man whose punishment for his crimes didn't stop at just execution. We also go into the tall tales of Harry Oliver, self-proclaimed Writer, Editor, Publisher, Distributor, Artist, Owner, Mirage Salesman, Secessionist, and Press Agent for The Desert Rat Scrap Book, a single broadsheet newspaper printed quarterly from 1945 to 1967.