Saturday, March 23, 2013

"[…] like someone’s idea of a bookshop.”

From: eBay

"[…] The Monkey’s Paw specializes in oddities like Life-Spark Stories: printed matter that has fallen between history’s cracks and eluded even Google Books’ all-seeing eye. There are Victorian etiquette handbooks, antique sex manuals, obscure scientific treatises. There are forgotten 19th-century travelogues with sumptuous chromolithographs and leather-bound correspondence courses on fingerprinting. There are medical books (Hewat’s Examination of the Urine), how-to guides (Safety in Police Pursuit Driving) and historical studies: Drug Adulteration: Detection and Control in 19th-Century Britain, The Water Closet: A New HistoryThe Puppet Theatre in Czechoslovakia. There are books whose accidentally poetic titles alone are worth the asking price: Prospecting for Uranium, Magnetic Removal of Foreign Bodies,  South Australia From Space. A sign in the Monkey’s Paw window dryly sums up the inventory: “Old & Unusual.”
     'This isn’t the store where you’ll find the book you were looking for,' [owner Stephen] Fowler says. 'It’s the store where you’ll find the book you didn’t know you were looking for.' You may find something else surprising at the Monkey’s Paw, too: a glimpse of the future, a way forward for the old-fashioned bookstore in the age of the iPhone and the e-book." [...]
     You could also say that the Monkey’s Paw is an idea masquerading as a bookshop. It’s a cross between a retail establishment and a conceptual art installation, which upends traditional book-trade values and views the literary canon through a cracked lens. It’s a bookstore that argues that bookstores are, by definition, Dickensian old curiosity shops.
     'Most booksellers can’t adjust to the postprint era,' Fowler says. “The only way to sell books in the 21st-century is as artifacts. I’m a 20th-century person myself, but with Monkey’s Paw, I’ve tried to adapt. This place is a church of print. It’s just that the old rules are a bit scrambled.'”
— Jody Rosen, The New York Times (tmagazine)
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Much like The Monkey's Paw, The Reanimation Library is trying to preserve and rehabilitate the unfortunate discards of a digital age.
     You can find them here...

"The Reanimation Library is a small, independent presence library open to the public. It is a collection of books that have fallen out of routine circulation and been acquired for their visual content. Outdated and discarded, they have been culled from thrift stores, stoop sales, and throw-away piles, and given new life as a resource for artists, writers, cultural archeologists, and other interested parties."
— Reanimation Library

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