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!

GastronoGeek-OeildeSauron

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: gastronogeek.com (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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Notable News (w42-w53)

It has been a little more than two months since the last entry of our journal. The weather has been relatively gray, since we’ve had very little snow so far, as it was—more often than not—rain and freezing rain, and lots of ups and downs in the temperature. The most notable events on the domestic front included a strange saga over the video of a panel at the book fair, where I also attended the launch of Solaris #208 and did a capsule interview with Catherine Sylvestre. We had again a problem of flicker in our electricity (strangely only on one side of the house), so bad that one night I thought my apartment had become a disco! Finally, we found the source of the problem (old wirings) and hired an electrician for a temporary fix but we will have to change the electrical entry in spring.

Somehow my sister’s cats managed to start the shower while she was on vacation. It lasted about twenty minutes before we realized that water was dripping from my bathroom’s ceiling. Luckily this small flood was relatively contained but we had to mopped the floor for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. The damage is limited but we will have to redo our bathroom’s ceiling…

The work-place was not too much a strain on my mental health, beside the continuing problem with the ventilation and heating system (strangely when this happens at another library of the borough they close immediately while we have to endure and work in very unpleasant conditions—that’s so unfair!) and some dubious decision on age classification of some mangas (Bride Stories, Nausicaa & Mafalda for kids! Are you joking?)!

readings2018Apple announced new Macs and iPads. We attended the vegan fest again, visited the Book of Hours and the Calder exhibits. I reached my reading goal for the year (fifty books! But, as usual, it was mostly comics and mangas). This allowed my to comment on  a few books (C Comme Cthulhu, Le Chat du Rabbin 8, Isabella Bird 3, Nous rêvions de robots, Pline 6, Ross Poldark, and a book about the New Yorker’s cartoons). I also wrote about the works (bande dessinée) of Philippe Gauckler: Convoi, Prince Lao and Koralovski. Unfortunately, I still watch too much TV and movies (A place to call home season 6, Mars season 2, Murder on the Orient Express, Outlaw KingPicnic at Hanging RockRBG, Solo, Transformer: The Last Knight, Traverlers season 3). Finally, I took some time to reminisce about the fanzine era and the old Protoculture days.

2018blogstatsI just completed my first year with WordPress.com so I don’t have much basis to compare this year’s statistics (although I remember that with Internic’s hosting I had ten times more traffic so either they were calculating it differently or I lost some followers in the switch or WordPress is not promoting the traffic as well). There is also a slight difference between WordPress’ and StatCounter’s numbers. Anyway, in 2018 I posted 319 entries (a 16% increase), acquired 68 followers and received (if we round up a little) an average of a thousand views per month or 350 visitors per month (about 135 returning visitors per month). It is not as much as I would I’ve liked but it is a beginning. The most important is that it keeps increasing from month to month. I’ll keep improving the blog and (hopefully) writing more so it will be at its best when I retire and make it my main occupation (in about 3064 days!). 

doonesbury-20181021

Doonesbury (2018/10/21)

On the world stage, the months of November and December had their lots of typhoon, floods, wildfires, tsunami, and violent protests in France, but it is mainly the U.S. Mid-term elections that retained the attention. In reaction to Trump’s insane White House, people went to the ballot with numbers not seen in nearly a century allowing the Democrats to retake the House by electing many young candidates, including several women (95), members of racial minorities (two Muslim and two Native Americans) or of the LGBT! Space exploration was also in the news as we landed another probe on Mars, explored more asteroids and mini-planets, and China landed a probe on the far-side of the moon.

All in all, 2018 was a very challenging year for everyone, so let’s hope that 2019 will be much better.

Through all this I tried to stay acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered a few notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order — note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window as usual), after the jump.

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The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker

CompleteCartoonsNewYorker-covI acquired this phenomenally huge book in a sale earlier this fall and I paid only fifteen dollars for it. I have always liked the single-panel cartoons (often referred to as “gag cartoon”, in the likes of what you find in the series “For Dummies”, or in Herman or Bizarro, and, of course, in newspapers’ editorial cartoons) and the most iconic of those could be found in the magazine The New Yorker. So I was quite pleased with this acquisition. However, it is the type of nightstand book that you savour slowly and it took me a couple of months to go through its 655 pages and over 2,000 cartoons (about two weeks of actual reading). Unfortunately the used copy I purchased did not include the two CDs with all 68,647 cartoons ever published in the magazine (if so it would have taken me much more time to read!).

A New Yorker cartoon is usually made of one drawing (but sometimes of the sequence of two or three), plus a funny caption. Most of the time all the humour is in the caption… Here are some examples:

 

The cartoons are organized into the eight decades during which the magazine was published (from its founding in 1925 until the publication of the book in 2004) and each period is introduced by an essay by one of the magazine’s most distinguished writers: 1925-34 (introduction by Roger Angell), 1935-44 (Nancy Franklin), 1945-54 (Lillian Ross), 1955-64 (John Updike), 1965-74 (Calvin Trillin), 1975-84 (Ian Frazier), 1985-94 (Mark Singer) and 1995-2004 (Rebecca Mead). The book starts with an Editor’s Note by Robert Mankoff and a Forword by David Remnick, and concludes with an index of Artists.

In addition, for each era, you find a brief overview of a predominant theme (the depression, drinking, nudity, television, cars, the space program, slipper dogs, business culture, the internet and politics) as well as a brief profile (including a mini-portfolio) for a key cartoonist (Peter Arno, George Price, James Thurber, Charles Adams, William Steig, Saul Steinberg, George Booth, Jack Ziegler [about whom I’ve already talked], Roz Chast, and Bruce Eric Kaplan).

In a way, this book chronicles the history of the magazine, but also the history of the American society. Therefore, it is much more than just a funny reading as it provides great insights and understanding of the socio-politics of each era.

For me, the cartoons were funny most of the time (not LOL, but a chuckle or quiet giggle), but I also often didn’t get it (particularly the older ones — I guess culture change with time or the context was lost to us as sometimes you needed to be there to understand). However, I enjoyed reading this book immensely. If you have a chance, it is worth the time and therefore highly recommended. stars-3-5

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonBiblio MtlGoodreadsGoogleWikipediaWorldCat ]

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Calder

Alexander Calder : un inventeur radicalMercredi nous avons profité d’un rendez-vous en ville pour aller visiter l’exposition Alexander Calder : un inventeur radical au Musée des Beaux-arts de Montréal. Cette retrospective des oeuvres de l’artiste Américain, qui se tient au MBAM du 21 septembre 2018 au 24 février 2019, offre 150 œuvres et documents qui représentent bien les différentes périodes de cet artiste multidisciplinaire. Comme d’habitude, je vous offre ici quelques memento de ma visite…

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Le Chat du Rabbin 8. Petit Panier aux amandes

ChatDuRabbin08-cov“Ils s’aiment. Lui est juif, elle est catholique. Ils vivent à Alger, et un jour, le Rabbin voit arriver cette jeune femme qui, pour mieux s’intégrer et faire plaisir à son futur époux, veut se convertir au judaïsme. La stupeur le dispute à l’incompréhension : pourquoi vouloir embrasser une foi si compliquée, si irrationnelle, si pénible ? Le Chat et Zlabya sont tous d’accord pour la dissuader, et vont trouver en Knidelette une alliée inattendue…”

[Texte du site de l’éditeur; voir aussi la couverture arrière]

ChatDuRabbin08p05Roger est fiancé à Aline, qui désir se convertir au judaïsme pour adopter le mode de vie de celui qu’elle aime et pour préserver l’harmonie de sa famille. Ils demandent au jeune rabbin de la convertir, mais celui-ci refuse! Lui, il est né juif et n’a donc pas le choix: tout son imaginaire baigne dedans, mais il conçoit mal qu’un être équilibré ait spontanément envie de s’infliger une religion aussi contraignante. Alors Roger va voir le vieux rabbin, qui propose que sa fille Zlabya (la femme du jeune rabbin et maîtresse du chat!) enseigne les coutumes juives à Aline. “Le plus important“, dit-il, “le centre de la vie juive, ce n’est pas la synagogue, c’est la table familiale.”

Étrangement, Aline semble prendre plus à coeur tout ces commandements et rituels que Roger, aussi absurdes qu’ils soient. Ce dernier a d’ailleurs un doute et, peut-être qu’il ne veut pas trop se faire rappeler sa propre religion, alors il regarde du côté de Knidelette… Et Aline, pendant qu’elle se préoccupe de tout ces rituels, elle ne pense à rien d’autre…

Je n’aime vraiment pas le style “ondulé” et brouillon de Sfar. Cette fois-ci, on dirait même que le lettrage des bulles a été fait au stylo à bille par la main de l’auteur! Toutefois, il faut aller au-delà de cette première impression et se laisser emporter par la profondeur de son récit qui, à travers son humour et ses planches à six cases, nous fait se questionner sur la nature de la religion et tout particulièrement le judaïsme (évidemment). Ici le chat qui parle n’est plus l’instigateur du récit mais plutôt un simple observateur… Une histoire qui nous faire rire ou sourire, réfléchir et apprécier la différence d’une culture complexe et millénaire.

Vous trouverez cela génial si, comme moi, vous aimez à la fois les chats et la métaphysique! Je recommande chaudement.

Le chat du rabbin, 8: Petit panier aux amandes par Joann Sfar. Paris: Dargaud (Coll. Poisson Pilote), septembre 2018. 60 pages. 22.5 x 29.8 cm, 14,00 € / $24.95 Can, ISBN 978-2205-07835-0. Pour lectorat adolescent (12 ans et plus). stars-3-5

Vous trouverez plus d’information sur les sites suivants:

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© Dargaud 2018.

Voir aussi mes commentaires sur les volumes précédents:

chat-rabbin-tome-1-bar-mitsva  chat-rabbin-2-malka-lions  chat-rabbin-3-exode  chat-rabbin-4-paradis-terrestre  chat-rabbin-5-jerusalem-d-afrique  chat_du_rabbin_6-cov chat_du_rabbin-v7-cov.jpg

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