Read This is a new Scout column that details book selections by authorities, luminaries, institutions, and locals that share deep affections for the written word. This week, we asked Kim Koch and Rod Clarke of Paper Hound, one of our favourite bookstores (334 West Pender at Homer). Selling new, used, and rare books, from classic to eccentric, with a strong focus on literature, poetry, philosophy and the arts, they see their shop as a street-level expression of Vancouver as a city of letters and lectors: brick and mortar, ink and paper. Say hi for us the next time you go in, but in the meantime, read this…
1 | Sailors and Sauerkraut: Excerpts from the Journals of Captain Cook’s Expeditions
All Pertaining to Food with Recipes to Match
Author: Barbara Burkhardt, Barrie Angus McLean, Doris Kochanek (Sidney, BC: Gray’s Publishing, 1978)
This nifty little paperback starts off by noting that the ship’s cook was without his right arm, so sticklers for historical accuracy should recreate the meals of the Endeavour using only the left hand. A cuisine dedicated to the unassailable goals of dodging scurvy and keeping spirits high, with recipes emphasizing fermented cabbage, fresh greens and locally sourced foods, this compendium of eighteenth century onboard cookery reads as nutritionally on-trend for today’s kitchen. A Cook book twice over, it explores the Pacific on its stomach, and is notable for the casual and engaging use of the term “antiscorbutick” throughout.
2 | Four Leporellos: The Line / Types of Architecture/ Shores of the Mediterranean / Cities of Italy
Author: Saul Steinberg (Zurich: Nieves, 2015)
We love a concertino-fold book for its panoramic expansiveness! Originally produced as long murals for the Children’s Labyrinth at the 1954 Triennial of Milan, an architecture and design fair, these four charming multi-paneled illustrations by famed New Yorker cartoonist Saul Steinberg (reissued this year by Swiss imprint Nieves) explore the narrative potential of the folding book format. Simply drawn but deviously clever, Steinberg’s linear storytelling unfurls a zigzag horizon of places, forms and ideas. The longest leporello, The Line, unfolds to over ten metres in length – display these books as glorious modernist art pieces or keep them inconspicuously tucked away in their elegant grey card slipcase.
3 | Three Hours Later: A Catalogue of British Columbia Artists and Their Work
Author: The New Era Social Club, an artist-run live/work space at 358 Powell St. (Vancouver: New Era Social Club, 1973)
This 1973 directory, funded by a federal Opportunities for Youth grant, solicited one-page visual submissions with mailing addresses from self-identified artists in BC, with the aim of creating a networking catalogue that “would itself be something of an art experience”. The result was a completely unique document that picked up where Image Bank’s Exchange Directory left off the year prior, a freewheeling DIY inventory of 265 artists, mostly in the Vancouver area, spanning intense CanaDada, groovy batik, Kitsilano psychedelia, inscrutable initiatives and experimental everything. Notable contributors included Gathie Falk, bill bissett, B.C. Binning, Daphne Marlatt, and Dr Brute. Pure expression of avant garde enthusiasm!
4 | Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black
Author: Cookie Mueller (New York: Semiotext(e) Native Agents Series, 1990
A posthumous memoir by the most literary of John Waters’ stable of Dreamlanders
Cookie Mueller’s essays detail a life of sex, drugs, and, well, rather more low budget film-making than rock and roll (though Jimi Hendrix and an illiterate guitar-playing pig farmer do make appearances). A discrete series of incredible indiscretions – from escaping hillbilly abductors in the Maryland woods, to tethering her infant son to a tree with a goat harness after burning down a house in Nelson, B.C. – it’s Mueller’s expository tone of extreme nonchalance in extraordinary circumstances that makes this such a striking read.