Member Blogs > Pistil Blog

  • IOBA Scholarship for Book Collectors

    Fri, 20 May 2016 02:56:00 Permalink
    The Independent Online Booksellers Association is offering a $750 scholarship for book collectors to go to a book seminar.  Details can be found here.  You do not need to be a bookseller or be a member of any organization to apply.I have attended CABS and Rare Book School and recommend both. Read More
  • Found in Books

    Wed, 23 Mar 2016 06:51:00 Permalink
  • Moomin Madness

    Wed, 09 Mar 2016 02:30:00 Permalink
    Moomins are not as well-known in the United States as they are in Europe, but the albino trolls are stepping up their world-wide quest for domination of the child mind-- and the alternative adult mind too.  Moomins are the invention of Swedish-speaking Finnish authoress and artist Tove Jansson (1914-2001).  To your correspondent they look like unarticulated relatives of the Michelin Man (1894), or bestial cousins to the Pillsbury Doughboy (1965).  Others have compared them to upright hippopotami.  Moomins came to fruition in 1945 when they appeared in the first of the Moomin books, The Moomins and the Great Flood.  You Read More
  • Ludwig Bemelmans--Dipping Deeper than Madeline

    Wed, 02 Mar 2016 04:35:00 Permalink
    Ludwig Bemelmans (1898-1962) was an Austrian-born writer and illustrator, naturalized in the United States in 1918.  He led a colorful life, working in hotels and restaurants, consorting with gangsters, and joining the US army, as a non-combatant. Though famous for his children's books featuring Madeline, Bemelmans was exceedingly prolific and wrote numerous books for adult readers, both fiction and non-fiction. His books are collectable on account of their charming illustrations done in a naive style reminiscent of the work of Raoul Dufy (disclaimer: not that there is anything naive about Dufy's art).He travelled widely between the wars, and his books also furnish Read More
  • Fumitized for Your Protection

    Thu, 11 Feb 2016 03:50:00 Permalink
    One of the tasks of the online bookseller is to give accurate descriptions of her book listings, noting all flaws and defects so that the prospective buyer has a good idea of the condition of the book that is being offered.  For this reason, booksellers use standardized condition grades and terminology to describe their books.  These condition grades and terminology were created long before the advent of the online marketplace, as they were used in bookseller print catalogs.  The "Resources" section on the IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association) website is a great place to gain an understanding of condition definitions.Occasionally Read More
  • Anton Bruckner: Wagnerian Toady or Symphonic Genius?

    Wed, 27 Jan 2016 04:39:00 Permalink
    The jury on Anton Brucker's originality is still presumably out, although it is probably safe to say that those who find Wagner's music too grandiose for their taste will be equally impatient with Bruckner.Bruckner was everything that Wagner was not: devoutly Catholic, personally unambitious, and professionally obscure for most of his life.  But he was as great a champion of the new musical world opened up by Wagner as anyone.  This earned him the opprobrium of the conservative symphonic school in Vienna, headed by Johannes Brahms. To get technical, Bruckner took the chromatic tonal language of Wagner, with its frequent enharmonic Read More
  • Musical Oddities I by Kamposer*

    Thu, 21 Jan 2016 04:43:00 Permalink
    Richard Wagner is said to be one of the most biographed (if one may coin the word) historical figures, alongside Napoleon.  His music has been exhaustively analyzed, as have his writings.  But there is always room for a fresh approach.  For instance, Richard Wagner: A Mystic in the Making, by Alan David Aberbach (1991, Longwood Academic).A bookplate featuring a winged horse bestriding a rainbow beneath the crescent moon (a nighttime rainbow, no less) gives a clue to the type of previous reader we are here concerned with.According to the preface, "no study has tried to systematically explore (split infinitive at Read More
  • Outdoor Book Sale Rescheduled

    Fri, 28 Aug 2015 05:46:00 Permalink
    The weather forecast shows a 90% chance of rain and wind tomorrow, so we're re-scheduling our annual outdoor book sale.  We think we'll have it next Saturday, Sept. 5, but will confirm closer to the date.Books and rain go well together when the books are inside and the rain is outside! Read More
  • Annual Outdoor Book Sale - Aug. 29

    Mon, 03 Aug 2015 11:16:00 Permalink
    It's time to make room for new inventory - out with the old books, in with the new!  The Pistil Books Annual Outdoor Book Sale has been scheduled.  We'll have hundreds of great books for one and two dollars, free lemonade, and, of course, thrills!  Hope to see you there-- Read More
  • Pistil Penthouse Premiere Party

    Thu, 18 Jun 2015 09:41:00 Permalink
    Pistil Books had our first literary and musical event in our upstairs space (the Airbnb apartment mentioned in the previous post) this week and it turned out to be really fun.  Our format was an hour of music, food, wine and mingling followed by three readers, then more music as the party wound up.  Since our space was limited, all the guests were invited and we had a full house at about twenty people.Thanks go to Kamposer and Moss Willow for providing the music, and to Kat Humphrey, Russell Scheidelman, and Stacey Levine for their readings.Russell reading "Aphoristic Alibis." (Photo Read More
  • Pistil Penthouse

    Sun, 17 May 2015 12:34:00 Permalink
    We have been busy the last two months starting a new business - the Pistil Penthouse Airbnb vacation rental.  We live in a 1903 built house, turned triplex, on Capitol Hill, one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Seattle.  We live in one of the apartments, Pistil Books is in the renovated basement, and the other two apartments have been traditional rentals until our top floor tenants recently moved to Amsterdam.  We spent about three weeks getting the place ready - some maintenance, painting, and furnishing needed to be done first.  We are located pretty much on top of Capitol Read More
  • Coming up: Group Collage at Magmafest

    Sat, 14 Feb 2015 07:25:00 Permalink
    When: Sunday, March 1, 2015 - 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM   Where: Hollow Earth Radio,  2018 East Union Street,  Seattle, WA 98122  Cost: Free   Get your creative juices flowing like lava and join Pistil Books for the making of a wall-sized community collage during the Magmafest Warm Up event at Hollow Earth. The collage will be on the wall at throughout the month. Cut-up materials and supplies provided. There will also be Magma soup, bread from http://grandcentralbakery.com/, & popcorn (donations for food gratefully accepted). While you are creating & eating, enjoy Stand-up Showcase. Hosted by Forrest Baum, known in Read More
  • Urgent Crier

    Wed, 28 Jan 2015 07:27:00 Permalink
    We recently came across this altered book in a box of books at a sale.  The cover of the book has a square carefully cut out, not going all the way through the boards, but a partial excision preserving the original interior pastedown endpapers when opened, thus creating a frame for the artist's assemblage. The small format book measures 5 1/2"w x 6", and the title is Urgent Crier by French poet Andre Benedetto, published by Robert Morel Publisher, 1966.The text is in French and the theme of the six poems inside is the horrors perpetuated by humanity: racism, torture, war, Read More
  • Happy Holidays from Pistil Books

    Tue, 09 Dec 2014 10:14:00 Permalink
    Books make great gifts, and we are having a 20% off sale on all our inventory (except blank journals) when ordered directly from us through the month of  December.  Pictured are a few recent additions to our stock.I've been invited by my friend Rosemary, who makes fabulous reindeer wreaths from Astroturf, to participate in a holiday craft fair at the Artspace Hiawatha Lofts.The fair is this Saturday, December 13 from 3pm to 7pm at 843 Hiawatha Pl S, Seattle, Washington 98144. I will be selling a fresh new batch of  Recycled Blank Books, not yet listed on our website, but similar Read More
  • More Noise Yoga Please

    Mon, 13 Oct 2014 12:10:00 Permalink
    Starting this Wednesday, October 15, Sean will be teaching a series of yoga classes at Washington Hall accompanied by.... noise.  Poet Steven Jesse Bernstein's piece, More Noise Please,  inspired Sean's collage advertising these noise yoga classes.The Stranger has a nice write-up, including the schedule,  here. Read More
  • BAG at Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair This Weekend

    Tue, 07 Oct 2014 07:49:00 Permalink
    The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair is happening this weekend, October 11 and 12 at Seattle Center.  It's only $5 to get in for both days and the fair features over 90 booksellers from all over.Once again the Book Arts Guild (BAG) will have a table with handmade books by the guild's members offered for sale, as well as information about BAG.I will be selling some blank books and postcards at the BAG table.  The blank books will be recycled ex library books as well as hardback blank books with a Japanese stab binding.Hand printed postcardsHandmade blank books with Japanese stab Read More
  • Coming Soon - Pistil Books' Outdoor Book Sale

    Sun, 10 Aug 2014 07:28:00 Permalink
    Pistil Books' Annual Outdoor Book Sale10 a.m. - 4 p.m.1415 E. Union in the alleyHundreds of books in all categories, including fiction, poetry, art, science, history, biography, how-to, and many more.  Many books in like-new condition.Paperbacks $1    Hardbacks $2Stop by to say hello and have some lemonade, or maybe beer.  Tell your friends!Hope to see you there--Also, a reminder that WE BUY BOOKS.  We are particularly interested in libraries and collections of scholarly non-fiction, art, technical, university press, collectible, and unusual titles. Read More
  • Tests for Colour-Blindness

    Mon, 21 Jul 2014 03:59:00 Permalink
    Here is an example of the beauty and practicality of the physical book.  Tests for Colour-Blindness by S. Ishihara was published by Kanehara Shuppan Co., Ltd, Tokyo, in 1969.This book is plain blue cloth on the outside, and fits neatly into its own slipcase.   Inside, the book holds 24 individual color plates, each neatly tucked into its own blank black page by fitting the corners of the plates into slits in the pages.As the title indicates, the book is used to test patients' ability to see colors.  When I went to the eye doctor for an exam recently, she used Read More
  • Greetings

    Mon, 14 Jul 2014 03:15:00 Permalink
    My friend sometimes shops at the Goodwill by-the-pound store, otherwise known as "The Bins."  I've been to The Bins a couple of times, but the shopping experience is not for me.  Not surprisingly as a used book dealer, I'm a proponent of re-use, recycling, and buying used, but the couple of times I've been I've always wished I had worn gloves and felt like I needed a shower afterward. Giant wheeled bins are filled with piles of clothes, household goods, and, yes, books.  The customers are a mix of regular people, dealers, and crazy people, particularly those after books.  My Read More
  • Typographic Awareness

    Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:52:00 Permalink
    This is a really cool set of three staple-bound books of black and white photographs of street images containing lettering.  The books have no publishing information, except for the title and this note printed around the edge of the front cover in English and in French:  "little things you may have missed while on your way to work - typographic awareness series - esler's commissioned errol etienne to create & execute this series / regarder sans voir... une activité quotidienne - la collection éveil typographique."I like how the French words "regarder sans voir" translate as "to look without seeing" - Read More
  • Etsy Vintage

    Thu, 29 May 2014 12:54:00 Permalink
    Not surprisingly I am very fond of cool old vintage items, not just books (though books are my favorite).  I recently added some non-book articles to  Pistil Books Etsy Shop.Large plastic sign letters make cool three-dimensional wall art:I love the brightly colored graphics in this Instructo Classification Game, an educational toy from the sixties.  Teaches children the difference between zoo animals, hats, and milk cartons.The Our Universe Space Kit, published by the National Geographic Society, contains a silver and black cardboard "spacescope" to be punched out and assembled, along with a flexi disc recording of space sounds, 3-d glasses, and Read More
  • Found in Books, Yet Again

    Mon, 05 May 2014 08:29:00 Permalink
    Not long ago, Sean and I were doing a book buy at a woman's house.  She was moving and was selling her pretty nice collection of books on eastern religion, psychology, body work, and the like. I flipped through a book to check for marking and two hundred dollar bills fell out.  A couple of other books also had money bookmarks, and they weren't mere dollar bills either.  Of course we returned the money to woman who was quite grateful and now our found-in-books karma has benefited.  Alas, no money of late, but check out these treasures:One thing we found Read More
  • Spring Sale

    Tue, 01 Apr 2014 03:53:00 Permalink
    Spring is here!  This is a very beautiful time of year in Seattle, with blossoming trees and flowers, bright green grass and new leaves, lots of bird activity, and alternating sun and rain, or both at the same time.In honor of spring, and as a method of doing some spring cleaning to make room on our full shelves, Pistil Books is having a 20% Off Sale through the month of April for all books ordered directly from us.We have many books on springtime activities like gardening, and outdoor recreation.  Our entire inventory is included in the sale, however. Read More
  • Oulipo George Washington

    Fri, 28 Mar 2014 08:21:00 Permalink
    Oulipo is a group of French writers (from the first letters of Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, "workshop of potential literature"), founded in the sixties, who use structural writing constraints to create their work.  The constraints used are often mathematical - for instance, in a poem written using the "snowball" technique, the first line is one word long, the second line has two words, and so on.But wait, here is a presidential biography for children from 1893, far ahead of its time:Life of George Washington in Words of One Syllable.George is depicted on the cover standing in a very small boat Read More
  • Found In Books

    Tue, 11 Feb 2014 06:29:00 Permalink
    Usually I feature a number of items in my "Found In Books" posts, but this time my latest find warrants its own post.  This piece of ephemera is double-sided.  On the first side is a page from a grammar test, appropriately titled (from a bookseller's point of view), "Getting Words in the Right Order."  I know I sometimes have trouble with that.Our intrepid test-taker seems to have answered all questions on this page correctly, as the green check mark attests, but his total score is only 70% (remember, we have only one page of the test).  Could you have answered Read More
  • "Land, Sea or Air-- springs take you there."

    Fri, 24 Jan 2014 03:05:00 Permalink
    We recently came across a book of bound magazines for the spring (yes, like a slinky) industry from the 1940's-1960's, called The Mainspring  ("Published in the interest of a better understanding of the design and application of springs in mechanical progress." )You wouldn't think that there's all that much that could be said about springs, especially over twenty years in a regularly published periodical.  Wrong!The Mainspring features beautiful graphics with vibrantly colored backgrounds, and often shows spring humor.A spring cocktail? Read More
  • As Seen on 60 Minutes

    Tue, 03 Dec 2013 10:18:00 Permalink
    On the Abebooks' booksellers' forum there's been a discussion of the recent announcement by Amazon that they plan to use drones to deliver packages.  One person posted this: Read More
  • Collage Show at Blue Bird Ice Cream, December 12

    Mon, 02 Dec 2013 05:13:00 Permalink
    The second Thursday of each month is the Blitz Capitol Hill Art Walk in our neighborhood.  Sean and I will be participating in a group collage show, PhotoChop, this month at Bluebird Microcreamery and Brewery.The show is put on in the spirit of DIY and affordable art, with original analog (not digital!) collage work for sale for $5 to $100.The opening is December 12 at 7pm.  Hope to see you there! Read More
  • December Book Sale - 20% Off

    Sun, 01 Dec 2013 03:14:00 Permalink
    Over 13,000 books in all categories (with the exception of recycled blank books) are 20% off if ordered from us directly in the month of December. Fiction, art, poetry, nature, do-it-yourself, science, history, cooking, children's, architecture, poetry... and much more are all on sale.We have lots of cool vintage books, as well as recent titles in like-new condition that would make delightful holiday gifts.Although not on sale because of the labor and materials involved, recycled ex-library blank books are a unique and colorful gift. Seattle customers may make an appointment to pick up books at our Capitol Hill warehouse to save Read More
  • December Book Sale - 20% Off

    Sun, 01 Dec 2013 02:58:00 Permalink
    Over 13,000 books in all categories (with the exception of recycled blank books) are 20% off if ordered from us directly in the month of December. Fiction, art, poetry, nature, do-it-yourself, science, history, cooking, children's, architecture, poetry... and much more are all on sale.We have lots of cool vintage books, as well as recent titles in like-new condition that would make delightful holiday gifts.Although not on sale because of the labor and materials involved, recycled ex-library blank books are a unique and colorful gift. Seattle customers may make an appointment to pick up books at our Capitol Hill warehouse to save Read More
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