Solde de livres 2019

abm_2019_affiche_vf_tgpComme tout les ans, les Amis de la Bibliothèque de Montréal organisent leur solde de livres pour offrir à petits prix aux Montréalais les livres dont les bibliothèques ne veulent plus (mais qui sont encore en très bon état). Vous y trouverez tout les genres de livres (plus de cent milles romans, documentaires, bandes dessinées, magazines, pour adultes, pour enfants, en français, en anglais et même parfois dans d’autres langues!) à très bon prix: 0,50 $ (livres jeunesse et magazines), 1,00 $ (livres adultes), 2,00 $ (BD et manga), et 3,00 $ (Dictionnaires, encyclopédies et « beaux livres »).

Le Solde de livres 2019 se tiendra du samedi 25 mai au dimanche 2 juin, de 13h00 à 19h00, à l’aréna Martin Brodeur (300, boulevard Robert, Montréal, juste à côté de la bibliothèque de St-Léonard). Les quantités sont limités sur certains types de documents (BD, dictionnaires). Le paiement doit être comptant seulement; il y a pas d’échange ou de remboursement possible. Et, S.V.P., veuillez apporter vos propres sacs. Pour plus d’information vous pouvez visiter la page Facebook.

Le but de cet événement est “de prolonger la vie utile de ces livres, d’aider à répandre le goût de la lecture et de permettre aux citoyens de Montréal d’enrichir leur bibliothèque personnelle à faible coût.” De plus, les revenus de la vente serviront à financer des activités d’animation dans les bibliothèques. Les documents invendus seront ensuite offert à des associations sans but lucratif et organismes communautaires, puis à Renaissance et finalement à la Fondation des parlementaires / Cultures à partager (qui les expédie dans des pays en voie de développement — comme en Afrique francophone et en Haïti). Ultimement, les livres qui restent après tout ça sont recyclés pour le papier. Rien ne se perd! Quelle entreprise louable…

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“Natural History” – final research


My mystery book

Recently, the interest for one of my old books was rekindled when I found some new information about it on the internet. Since the prefatory pages of the book are missing the author and date of publication are unknown. I had only the title, Natural History, and the publisher:  William Milner of Halifax. Further investigation on WorldCat revealed more details allowing me to identify two possible authors for the book. Finally, I was able to compare my book with a microfiche copy at the University of Montreal, definitively identifying it as Richard COPE’s Natural History, which lead me to order a monograph about the work of William Milner in order to (hopefully) learn even more on this particular edition.

IMG_4437A little less than three weeks after filing the Inter-Library Loan (PEB) request, the Bernard BARR’s document about William Milner arrived at the National Library (BAnQ). Unfortunately, the whole process was utterly disappointing. The NYPL refused to lend its copy, so the book came from the University of St-Andrews’ library in Fife, Scotland, therefore the loan incurred a fee of $C 42.00 ! Not only the book was just a self-published monograph of sixty single-side pages with a simple plastic spiral binding, but the lending library requested that it had to be consulted on site, at the BAnQ. The book was on hold at the National Collection, a secure place where you have to check your coat and bag in a locker room before entering and you have to put all the material you need (notebook, pen, laptop, wallet, etc) in a basket that you carry with you. It was the first time I was visiting that place and it was all quite unexpected. Luckily, the staff was very nice and helpful. Instead of spending hours reading the book, I was allowed to digitize a copy on the photocopier (its control menu was not user-friendly at all and source of many frustrations). 

IMG_4441The book title is: “William Milner of Halifax: printer and publisher. Checklist of a collection of books printed by William Milner and his successors and imitators.” The only publishing information is “York: Ken Spelman”. No author is listed on the cover, but the notice from the University of St-Andrews’ library is helpful on that subject: the author is NOT Bernard BARR (who simply wrote the foreword) nor Ken Spelman (the “publisher”, but who was given as author by Amazon) but Peter MILLER and T. FOTHERGILL (who compiled the information).

Disappointingly, the book is of little use to me. It is far from exhaustive; its main source of information seems to be the Spelman’s bookshop collection as well as a few articles in Yorkshire’s newspapers and historical magazines (the bibliography also list a few references that briefly mention Milner, like Victor E. NEUBURG, The Popular Press Companion to Popular Literature, pp. 132-33 or Leslie SHEPARD, The History of Street literature, pp. 104-106). I was expecting a complete list of all titles published by Milner but it seems that such reference doesn’t exist. A search on Google doesn’t yield much either. In fact, the most useful tool in this research was probably WorldCat

IMG_4440William Milner of Halifax: printer and publisher mentions Richard COPE’s Natural History only ONCE (“Cope (Richard) Natural History … New Edition, Improved and Enlarged. Roy 8vo. 730 pp. 425 ills. Maroon cloth”) in what the book calls the “Imprint 7”—which falls into the third incarnation of the publishing company, Milner & Co, located in London between 1883 and maybe 1900. “Maroon cloth” seems to describe well the cheap cover of my edition (and “Roy 8vo” means that it is a Royal octavo format, i.e. 10″ by 6¼” or 253 mm x 158 mm, therefore about the same size than my copy) but my book was clearly printed during the “Imprint 1” period (Halifax: William Milner, 1834-1851). Also the copy that I have seen at the University of Montreal unmistakably falls into the same imprint as it is dated from 1846 (while mine unfortunately has no printing date left—or never had one as it happened often with this publisher). This fact confirms that the Miller/Fothergill monograph is obviously incomplete.

I was not able to acquire more precise information on my book. However, it was not a complete waste of time since it has allowed me to learn more about the printing industry in nineteen century England. It seems that William Milner was a pioneer of cheap literature and remains an unsung hero of the poor Englishmen as he provided them with affordable literary classics (selling for as little as a shilling or even a sixpence) that would have without any doubts further their education and culture. Several other publishers, like William Nicholson, followed his example. 


The Spelman’s collection ?

They printed books not only in great quantity (printing titles by the ten of thousands with total circulation often amounting over a hundred thousand!) but also in variety as they covered a large array of subject matter (from BurnsPoems, to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Arabian Nights, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Richard Johnson’s The Seven Champion of Christendom, etc.) and offered a “range of plain and variously ornamented styles to suit differing tastes and pockets” [cf. Bernard Barr’s introduction to William Milner of Halifax and Shepard’s History of Street Literature]. The life of those publishers (and particularly of William Milner) and their cultural missionary work would certainly make quite an interesting subject for a historical TV series. 

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A new beautiful era of harmony

ReiwaThe Japanese government has announced last night that the name of the new Japanese era will be Reiwa (令和).

Each time that there is a new emperor, Japan’s calendar start a new era (時代 / jidai) or period (元年 / gannen). The era name (年号 / nengō or 元号 / gengō) is always selected carefully and has a great cultural significance. However, today it is mainly used only on government official paperwork (driving licenses, official calendar, etc.). Everyday use generally follows the Gregorian calendar. The previous era of modern Japan are Meiji (Prince Mutsuhito, 1868-1912), Taishō (Prince Yoshihito, 1912-1926), Shōwa (Hirohito, 1926-1989) and Heisei (Akihito, 1989-2019). Reiwa will be the 248th era name of Japanese history.

This change usually happens upon the death of the emperor, as his son ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne. However, this time, the emperor Akihito chose to abdicate for health reason on April 30th and he will be succeeded by his elder son, Naruhito, on May 1st. Another departure from tradition is the fact that, in the past, the name was inspired by Chinese literature. This time, the panel of experts selected to choose the name took the idea from Japanese classical literature, as it is derived from the ancient poem anthology Man’yōshū. 

The first character of the name, Rei [], means good fortune (the “auspicious wave of energy of the plum blossoms carried by the wind”) and the second character, Wa [], means   gentle, harmonious or peace and tranquility.  It could therefore be translated as “fortunate harmony” or “auspicious harmony” (although some seems to translate it as “redolent harmony”).

The announcement was well received by the Japanese as they expect the name to embody their hope for a better future

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Latest acquisition

A couple of years ago I’ve talked about my collection of ancient books. Well, I just made a new acquisition. I never thought I would find more interesting (but affordable) books to add to this collection…

This week-end I went to the Westmount Book Fair at the Green Center in Westmount. I’ve been hearing about this bi-annual antiquarian book fairs for a while and always wanted to have a look but was always too busy. When I saw another one advertised on facebook, I thought now was the time. Although I was rather apprehensive that I would find a very interesting (and expensive) book.

The Westmount Book Fair was organized by Wilfrid M. de Freitas, who is himself a bookseller. It was the 27th edition of what is advertised as “the smallest ancient books fair in Canada, where booksellers from Quebec and Canada will help you discover a wide selection of books, brochures, maps, printed matter and small papers”. It was indeed a small venue with a little more than a dozen stands.

I took a quick look and identified all the books the would interest me and fit into my unfortunately small budget: the Caesar commentaries (in French, 1763, $125), the work of Tacitus (2 vols in latin, 1772, $350), and the work of Valerius Maximus (1659, $275). More affordable but out of my subjects of interest for this type of books (ancient authors, 16th to 18th century editions) there was also a Short French Dictionary (in English, 1701, only $100). There was also a big format velum book (about 25 cm hight and 8 cm thick) from the 17th century about mythology (a mere $5000 !), the works of Bossuet in a big volume ($4500), a few sheets from German old books (incunable?) or a large format book (in-folio) about the myth of the wandering jew illustrated by Gustave Doré for which I didn’t even dare looking for the price tag. Out of interest and price range, I also noticed the first annual compilation of the bande-dessinée magazine Pilote ($500-$700). It gave me a few interesting books to choose from. After, deliberating over the interest (age, condition of the binding, subject) and the price, I finally chose the Valerius Maximus. It was the only 17th century edition in my list, in relatively good condition and at an affordable price. It was sold by Mr. de Freitas and he even gave me a small discount.

IMG_4317VALERE MAXIME, A PARIS, CLAVDE BARBIN, dans la grand’ Salle du Palais, du cofté de la Salle Dauphine, au Signe de la Croix. M.DC.LIX. [1659]”

The title of the book (which doesn’t appear on the first page) is “Factotum ac dictorum memorabilium libri IX” [nine books of memorable deeds and sayings]. The binding (pork skin?) includes two volumes (it’s 4.5 cm thick), in the sextodecimo format (in-16, in this case 8 x 12.75 cm) . According to the note from Mr. de Freitas, it’s the second edition in French, translated by Jean Claveret. It is a collections of a thousand historical anecdotes, many lifted from earlier Roman writers, re-drafted by Valerius Maximus as moral and social models. It was written during the reign of Tiberius (around around CE 30 or 31). It is quite interesting…

The Collection (or my cabinet of curiosities)


The next book fair, organized by the Confrérie de la Libraries Ancienne du Québec, will be the 36th Antiquarian Book Fair held at the Concordia University (Pavillon McConnell, 1400 bout Maisonneuve O.) Saturday September 28th (from 12:00 to 18:00) and Sunday September 29th (from 11:00 to 17:00).

IMG_4304While having my nose in old books, I decided to do some more research on one of my (very interesting) books on which I have little information. It’s an octavo volume (15 x 24 x 5 cm) titled Natural History. It has a cardboard cover, covered with brown cloth and thin leather. It doesn’t have a title page and the only publisher information appear on the very last page: “WILLIAM MILNER, PRINTER, CHEAPSIDE, HALIFAX.” I first thought it was printed in the maritime provinces in mid-19th century (I think my father purchased it in Gaspésie in the 60s, for $35). It has 730 pages and is in average condition (yellowed pages and several stains, little tears in the cloth of the cover).

It seems inspired by Pliny’s Naturalis Historiae, but it is not its translation as it has a different content organization and covers more modern subjects: Part I : Of the Universe, Part II-XXII: Animals (mostly mammals), Part XXIII: Unclassified Animals, Part XXIV-XXX: Birds; then A History of the Fishes in General (including cetaceous, crustaceous, frogs, lizards, serpents, turtles, and insects !) Part I-XII.

With a closer examination and more research, I discovered new information about this book. First, it seems that the printer is NOT from Nova Scotia but rather from England. Cheapside is a street in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. William Milner (1803-1850) is a printer who was known for publishing lots of cheap books (selling for sixpence (2 pence) and a shilling (5 pence)). He apprenticed as a printer, but started publishing his own books, first with local printers and then setting up his own press in the 1830s (or in 1844). After his death, his stepsons took over the business under the name Milner & Sowerby. Therefore, my books must have been published between the 1830s and 1850. I will try to find more about this publisher. There is a book that seems to list some of his production, so I will probably start there. To be continued…

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Memorable music

MacrossSOngCollectionAfter watching on NHK World a documentary on the songs of Studio Ghibli’s animated movies (like Nausicaä or Laputa), I started listening to an old playlist of anime background music (BGM) and songs collections from my late-20s and 30s. I had forgotten how much those tunes could get stuck in your head (particularly “Konya Wa Hurricane” from Bubblegum Crisis, “Ai-Oboe te i masuka” from Macross, the crashing song from Megazone 23 Part 2, or any songs from Kimagure Orange Road). I realize that this is something missing from recent anime that I’ve seen: memorable music. I really miss that. And it makes me sad — and very nostalgic!

My playlist also includes a few hits from great J-pop artists like Aikawa Nanase, Glay, Globe, Namie Amuro, TRF, Yoko Kanno and even a few Enka songs by Misora Hibari!

Do you have anime or J-pop favourite songs ?

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[ Update – 2019/02/23 ] For the curious, here’s the full playlist (recently augmented)—and I have added plenty of links so you can sample them :

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Découverte: Gastrono Geek

GastronoGeek-covJe n’écris pas souvent sur la bouffe ou les livres de cuisine mais cela m’est quand même arrivé quelques fois. Bien sûr je ne suis pas du genre à lire ce type d’ouvrage d’une couverture à l’autre mais quand un sujet attire ma curiosité je suis prêt à feuilleter n’importe quel genre de livre pour vous le commenter.

Dans ce cas-ci, il s’agit de “42 recettes créatives et gourmandes autour de 15 thèmes incontournables de la culture geek. De Harry Potter à Star Wars, en passant par Dragon Ball, un hommage gastronomique à des références cultes et une série d’énigmes pour tester vos connaissances geek.” (Voir la couverture arrière)

Je remarque d’abord la très belle présentation de l’ouvrage, qui est plein de photos et d’illustrations, le tout emballé dans une charmante reliure. C’est donc un beau livre pour la cuisine ou la table de chevet. Le livre est divisé en cinq catégories (sci-fi, fantasy, mangas, horreur/fantastique et comics) et pour chacune d’entre elle il nous offre une aventure culinaire dans l’univers de trois mondes différents (tiré du cinéma, de la littérature ou de la bande dessinée), avec des recettes pour un repas complet (entrée, plat principal et dessert). Et c’est plus qu’un livre de recettes puisqu’on y retrouve des jeux et des énigmes. Tout cela est complété par la liste des ustensiles nécessaires, l’index des ingrédients, l’index des recettes, des lexiques et quelques astuces.

Il s’agit bien sûr ici non pas d’offrir des recettes imaginaires mais plutôt d’adapter des recettes existantes avec des ingrédients et une présentation inspirés par des sujets de l’imaginaire. Le résultat peut être parfois assez saisissant, comme le dessert L’Oeil de Sauron! Je ne cuisine pas beaucoup mais toutes ces recettes me semblent un peu compliquées. Ce n’est probablement pas un problème pour les cuistots sérieux mais cela pourrait être un peu rébarbatif pour les simples amateurs (quoique les recettes ont une cote de difficulté). Cela à l’air néanmoins très appétissant!


p. 44-45: L’oeil de Sauron (Sabayon à la pulpe d’orange et chocolat noir)

Gastrono Geek m’apparait donc comme une simple curiosité, une gâterie au service de la nostalgie geek, qui mérite tout de même un regard si les mondes de l’imaginaire et la cuisine vous intéresse. 

Ce n’est pas un livre unique puisqu’il s’agit d’une série où l’on retrouve aussi Geek & Pastry Gastrono Geek, Gastrono Geek: Dessins Animés, Le livre des potions, Codex Culinaire Assassin’s Creed, Les banquets d’Astérix, Gastrono Geek: Séries Cultes, et même Manuel de la Confrérie Assassin’s Creed ou Le Geek Touristique. Il y en a donc pour tout les goûts (toutefois les deux derniers ne sont pas des livres de cuisine mais des guides)! Thibaud Villanova ajoute de nouvelles recettes régulièrement sur son site officiel: (en fait une chaine video Youtube). 

Gastrono Geek, par Thibaud Villanova et Maxime Léonard. Paris: Hachette Pratique (Coll. CQFD), septembre 2014. 144 pages, 21.7 x 29.6 cm, 22,50 € / C$ 42.95, ISBN 978-2-01-231832-8. Pour public de tout âge. Voir la bande-annonce et un extrait. stars-3-0

Vous trouverez plus d’information sur les sites suivants:

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Vous trouverez aussi la liste de toutes les recettes après le saut de page >>

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