Member Blogs > Pistil Blog

  • Library Bindings

    Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:12:00 Permalink
    In the bookselling world, ex-library books are often maligned and scorned as being worthless or beneath the highfalutin standards of many antiquarian booksellers.  While it's true ex-library books are marked by the library (some would say defaced) - with stamps, stickers, bar codes, pockets, and the like, I find these very markings and institutional traces to be charming and sometimes beautiful.  I'm talking mostly about older, specially bound,  library books in this regard.  (Modern library books are often simply regular books straight from the publisher with the dust jacket encased or laminated in a plastic cover, taped to the boards, Read More
  • Happy Halloween and Dia de los Muertos

    Wed, 30 Oct 2013 08:38:00 Permalink
  • R.I.P. Lou Reed

    Mon, 28 Oct 2013 11:09:00 Permalink
    This photo is of the Velvet Underground flexi-disc in Andy Warhol's Index Book, with picture of Lou Reed by Billy Name, still attached. The recording features Lou Reed, Nico and others discussing the proposed book at the Factory, with 'The Velvet Underground and Nico" record playing in the background. Read More
  • Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair

    Wed, 09 Oct 2013 01:24:00 Permalink
    The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair is happening this weekend, October 12 and 13 at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall.  Book dealers from all over will be displaying thousands of rare books, maps, photos, and ephemera - and it's only $5 to get in for both days. The Book Arts Guild will have a table at the book fair, and I will have some recycled blank journals and linocut postcards for sale there.  I am looking forward to seeing  the work of other Book Arts Guild members. Read More
  • 2013 Outdoor Book Sale

    Fri, 23 Aug 2013 03:50:00 Permalink
    We had our annual outdoor book sale last weekend, followed by a barbecue and hanging of art on the outdoor gallery in the alley behind our building.  Both events were a lot of fun and widely visited by Pistil Books' regulars, as well as many people who didn't know they had an internet bookstore in their neighborhood.  Here's the staff of Pistil Books:Troy, Sean, Amy, Tim, and Nathan.This Sunday, Pistil Books will have a table at the Slow Food Sunday lunch at Bastyr University.  We will be selling copies of Erin Coopey's The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook, as well as a Read More
  • Book Arts Guild

    Wed, 17 Jul 2013 10:17:00 Permalink
    .  I joined the Book Arts Guild(only $20 for a year-long membership) a couple of months ago after a friend and drawing teacher invited me to go to a BAG lecture by a book artist friend of hers who was in town for the event.  The lecture was held in the Special Collections/Map Room in the basement of the Suzallo Library on the UW campus.  I graduated from the University of Washington many years ago, and Suzallo was one of my favorite places, with its beautiful stained-glass-filled graduate reading room, giant card catalog (no longer in existence), and endless stacks.  Read More
  • Save the Date: Pistil Outdoor Book Sale, August 17

    Thu, 11 Jul 2013 04:03:00 Permalink
  • Adventures in English

    Sat, 01 Jun 2013 04:04:00 Permalink
  • More Stuff Found in Books

    Wed, 22 May 2013 06:06:00 Permalink
    Below is a selection of some of the paper ephemera pulled from used books over the past year.  Were the 3-D glasses used to read a book?  R.I.P. the Fun Forest at Seattle Center... it was a place filled with carnival rides.  My sixth grade school patrol went there as an end-of-year treat and we got to ride the Wild Mouse roller coaster.I just listened to a great fiction podcast on the New Yorker website.  These two Canadian women are two of my favorite writers, and the talk with Atwood at the end is quite interesting.  Mavis Gallant is in Read More
  • Progressive Destruction

    Mon, 29 Apr 2013 04:52:00 Permalink
    I recently listed  this book,  Picasso Linocuts 1958-1963, by Donald H. Karshan (Tudor Publishing, 1968).The book showcases Picasso's linocut prints, made by the "progressive destruction" method, in which he printed many colors from the same linoleum block; printing one color, then carving away more of the same block, then printing the next color, and so on.  By the time he was done, most of the block would have been carved away, "destroyed."Linoleum block printing is a fun and easy way to print, especially if it's not really linoleum block printing, but printmaking using "easy cut", a kind of rubbery print Read More
  • Spring Happenings

    Fri, 05 Apr 2013 10:47:00 Permalink
    We're having a very lovely wet, warmish spring here in Seattle, with everything green and blooming.  Now would be a good time to check out Pistil's gardening section.Our entire inventory is 20% off for the month of April on Abebooks, though we are happy to extend the sale discount to orders on our own website if you ask nicely first.Bee and flower... spring is here!  We were contacted not along ago by a Publisher's Weekly writer who was writing an article called How Booksellers are Faring After Going Online-Only.  Check it out. Read More
  • Fun with Books

    Thu, 14 Mar 2013 03:24:00 Permalink
    Making a  book.A stack of blank journals-to-be.An altered book behind the red Buddha. Read More
  • Books are Wild Things

    Fri, 01 Mar 2013 08:26:00 Permalink
     The following is an excerpt from the current issue of Harper's Magazine:From an interview with childrens book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, by British journalist Emma Brockes, published in the November/December 2012 issue of The Believer. Sendak, whose many works include Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, died in Connecticut last May. Brockes: What do you think of e-books?Sendak: I hate them. Its like making believe theres another kind of sex. There isnt another kind of sex. There isnt another kind of book. A book is a book is a book. I know thats terribly old-fashioned Read More
  • Stairs and Beavers

    Sat, 16 Feb 2013 02:41:00 Permalink
    Last weekend, Sean, our friend Jackie, and I went on a group walk organized by Feet First, an organization that promotes walkable communities, to celebrate the publication of a book Seattle Stairway Walks:  An Up-and-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods  (The Mountaineers Books) by Jake and Cathy Jaramillo:  "For one day, for two hours Feet First Neighborhood Walking Ambassadors led [fifteen] free simultaneous stairway walks to celebrate the Puget Sound Region's amazing elevation changes and the individual characteristics and historical context of our local stairways."The route we went on was the Maple Leaf and Thornton Creek walk, near Northgate Mall, where Read More
  • Meet Pistil Book's Web Designer - Nate K

    Tue, 22 Jan 2013 12:17:00 Permalink
    What is your history with Pistil Books and what is your current role? I have had a love affair with books my entire life, so I was very pleased when Pistil Books & News opened its doors in my neighborhood in the mid-nineties. I loved browsing the stacks and discovering titles Id always intended to read, but had never picked up before; always at better prices than buying them new. I gradually got to know the proprietors, Sean and Amy.I also attended a few of the events they held at their shop, book readings, lectures, etc. I was working for Read More
  • Lucky 2013

    Mon, 31 Dec 2012 07:14:00 Permalink
    Another year, another Pistil Books Collage Calendar!  This year's calendar is hot off the presses and features artwork by Amy, Sean, and Nathan, made from old books and ephemera.  The artwork reflects its sources, of course, and we had a lot of old art auction catalogs, as well as broken discarded library books and other books that have been damaged in some way.  Sean favors a 1950's male nudist book called Mountain Men that had pages removed by its previous owner, no doubt for pin-up purposes.  Nathan mentioned that he hopes there won't be too much nudity for his mom...Our Read More
  • Cool Cultural Artifacts

    Fri, 21 Dec 2012 08:02:00 Permalink
    19841985I've been taking a lot of book photos lately, using the keen photography setup Sean constructed for me over what doubles as our packing table.   Here I can use the specially designed tripod that swings out from the wall to take horizontal photos of books laying flat on a table.  I've been impressed by how cool vintage book covers look when photographed.  I use the term "vintage" pretty loosely - the books shown are from the seventies and eighties and reflect the aesthetics of their time.   19841972197219741971  Read More
  • Vintage Holiday Books

    Sun, 09 Dec 2012 06:44:00 Permalink
    We have some very cool vintage holiday sheet music and books for sale.  I love the bright colors, especially the blue in this book:This one has bright, full page colorful illustrations by Swedish-American illustrator Gustaf Tenggren, known for his Arthur Rackham influenced fairy-tale style.  With simplified piano arrangements by Inez Bertail.  44 pages.  Some of the songs included:  Silent Night; It Came Upon a Midnight Clear; O Little Town of Bethlehem; Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing.Some more holiday items can be found here. Read More
  • Happy Thanksgiving

    Tue, 20 Nov 2012 06:20:00 Permalink
  • Beautiful Old Bindings

    Sun, 04 Nov 2012 10:29:00 Permalink
    Here are some examples of beautiful old bindings published in the late 1800's, most by theHenry Altemus Company, Philadelphia.  Faded, but silvery. Stories of the deeds of valor of the heroic children of France:  "To suffer for their beloved France, to die for her, has been a sacred privilege to these youthful patriots, rather than a thing to be shunned and abhored."  The boy on the cover is about to be dropped from a balloon onto the battlefield...Samson is buff!This one has a passion flower and lily design. Read More
  • Recycled Blank Journals

    Tue, 16 Oct 2012 09:23:00 Permalink
    Kam, Troy, and I  have been busy making blank books and journals out of old library books and school books.    The first step in the process is to take apart the old book, using an exacto knife to carefully remove the text block, then comes cutting blank pages of the same size and thickness.  The fun part is choosing pages from the deconstructed book to leave interspersed amongst the blank pages - these are often illustrations, or pages with cool ex-library marks like a perforated name stamp.A stack of books with their new blank text blocks.After the paper has been Read More
  • Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar

    Tue, 02 Oct 2012 11:04:00 Permalink
    I attended the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS), a week-long intensive course on all aspects of bookselling, last month thanks to a scholarship from the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America).  The course was held at Colorado College and was taught by a faculty of ten people (but only one woman), including several rare book dealers, a couple of special collections librarians, an internet bookseller, and  Terry Belanger, University Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia, who started Rare Book School. The faculty were very generous with their time and knowledge, happy to answer questions, and even spent the lunch hour each Read More
  • My Job at Pistil Books by Kam M

    Fri, 31 Aug 2012 10:38:00 Permalink
    Kamposer at work.My job consists of cataloging and pricing sheet music. My favorite part of this job is being surrounded by shelves of interesting books and people.  Oh, and the beverage service. I have a classical music background, so if a piece says TTBB, I know what that means and can price accordingly.  For this I went to grad school.I am paid in gastronomic currency as well as cash money and book credit.  Amy and Sean are what you would describe as laid-back bosses.  On-time is a relative concept.Currently I am reading Thomas Kinkade (really), RL Stevenson, Zane Grey, Unamuno, Read More
  • Pistil Outdoor Book Sale 2012

    Sun, 26 Aug 2012 03:55:00 Permalink
    Pistil Books had our annual outdoor book sale yesterday, offering close to a thousand books culled from our shelves (making room for more!) for one and two dollars.  I spent the past week, along with Kam, our newest staff person, pulling books for the sale.  The selection was pretty good, about two-thirds non-fiction of all sorts to one-third fiction; lots of great books that are just "too common" on the internet market.Our first customer of the day was Jon Strongbow, a longtime Pistil customer and friend who brought us the gift of a signed copy of The Ocean of Time, Read More
  • True Anatomy

    Tue, 31 Jul 2012 05:20:00 Permalink
    From our Etsy shop: True Anatomy - A Visual Chart of the Actual Workings of the Human Mind A colorful 5 1/2"w x 8 1/2"h multi-layered chart of of the true workings of the mysterious human mind. See into the subconscious where speed boats, roasted turkeys, light bulbs, hammers, death cap mushrooms, toads, tractors, and small squirrels influence your dreams and actions. The human psyche revealed in this surreal collage made from cutting up books! Read More
  • Pistil on Etsy

    Tue, 10 Jul 2012 07:38:00 Permalink
    After a hiatus of several years, we have again started selling some items on, the selling site for crafts and vintage items.  Here we are selling our recycled journals made from old library books, vintage children's books, and collage cards which feature collage art made by Sean and I the old fashioned way - scissors, Exacto knife, glue stick and.... cutting up old books.  The cards are a mere $3.I must say I like the way the Etsy storefront shows the thumbnail photos of our books and cards - quite the colorful array.  In the future we will be Read More
  • Ephemera

    Sun, 01 Jul 2012 10:41:00 Permalink
    This weekend I went to an estate sale with my friend Tim.  We were planning to go garage saleing, but this being Juneuary in Seattle, it was too rainy for outdoor sales.  Sometimes sales advertised as "estate sales" are really just misnamed yard sales with small piles of crap, the sellers not realizing they have to be dead to really qualify for the more esteemed term.  This small modest house in the Queen Anne neighborhood was the real thing.  There's something a little creepy and sad about estate sales:  the literal contents of a person's life-- drawers, closets, shelves laid Read More
  • Sustainable Capitol Hill

    Sun, 17 Jun 2012 08:14:00 Permalink
    I've been a fan of  Sustainable Capitol Hill since it started a few years ago, but I haven't participated in very many of their activities, mainly because I just don't like going to meetings...  Recently, however, Sustainable Capitol Hill has started a book group and it's a lot of fun.  The group met for the first time last month at Bluebird creamery (a meeting with ice cream and beer!) and threw around ideas for books to read on the theme of sustainability.  We decided to read What Matters? Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth by Wendell Berry which we discussed at Read More
  • You Can Be Healed

    Mon, 28 May 2012 04:15:00 Permalink
    I found this nondescript little black book at a thrift store: You Can Be Healed by Clara Palmer, published by Unity School of Christianity, Lee's Summit, MO, 1950.  This is a book about the body and its functions written from the point of view that the body and everything it does is pretty miraculous, with some very reasonable and common sense advice on healthy living, including promoting vegetarianism.For example, about "Your Intelligent Liver," the author tells us:  "There is no laboratory in the world where a greater or more painstaking work is done than that which is carried on within Read More
  • Sticker on Sign Post

    Thu, 24 May 2012 12:50:00 Permalink
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