Archive for Books

Halloween Countdown: Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell

Posted in Books, halloween, undead, vintage with tags , , , on October 28, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

Over the weekend I received the most amazing book as a gift. I think it’s safe to say to any readers of this blog…RUN, don’t walk, to procure this incredible edition.

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If you’re not familiar with diableries, have a look at the book description:

In France, around 1860, from the loins of a traditional national fascination with all things diabolical, was born a new sensation – a series of visionary dioramas depicting life in a strange parallel universe called ENFER – Hell – communicated to an eager audience by means of stereoscopic cards, to be viewed in the stereoscopes which had already become popular in the 1850s.

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This 3-D phenomenon, which fascinated a nation for 40 years, is now yours to share. This book, the fruit of half a lifetime’s study by three impassioned authors, brings every one of the published Diableries into the 21st century for the very first time. Some of them are so rare that at the time of writing there is no known complete collection of the originals of these masterpieces.

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The book comes with a viewer called The Owl (invented by Queen guitarist Brian May. Who knew?), and every time I glimpsed an image through it, I gasped. These dioramas, in remarkable 3D, are truly a sight to behold. There are endless details to drink in; incredibly entertaining and well crafted. There is also a great deal of interesting supplementary information to read.

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Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell

Thank you, my dear GD, for bringing these wondrous displays into my life!

Desktop Goodies: Crazy Book Edition

Posted in absurd, Books, humor, vintage with tags , , , on September 26, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

My apologies if any of these are repeats. I may have posted one or two of them and accidentally re-saved, but I’m pretty sure almost all of these are new to the blog.

Don’t get me wrong; the best things in life are truly free…but just in case, there’s a book for people who care enough to do the very least.
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This poor man looks like he’s happy as he prepares his wife for the reaping of grim death.
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I wonder how long this book is. How much can be written about this particular subject? Chapter one: turn on water. Chapter two: turn off water. Chapter three: sit in water. Chapter four: get out of water. Did I just write a book?
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Suspend your disbelief…
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It might be difficult for those without a corporeal form to get their hands on this book (literally, I guess). But it’s good to be prepared.
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Best autobiography title I’ve ever seen:
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We all do it:
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I have the power to walk through my house in a sheer negligee with a bouquet of flowers…
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“Erogetic” appears to be a word entirely made up for the sake of this book. But a picture is worth a thousand words.
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Charles Robinson: The Sensitive Plant

Posted in art, Books, illustration, poetry with tags , , , on September 20, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

Every now and then, a painting captures me with a brilliant element of subtlety. This Charles Robinson piece from Shelley’s The Sensitive Plant did so with its faint outline of hooded figures in an illuminated procession behind lush, colorful flora. The placement and the vague outlines create a chilling moment of recognition when the eye first fixates on that part of the scenery.

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And on the fourth, the Sensitive Plant
Felt the sound of the funeral chant,
And the steps of the bearers, heavy and slow,
And the sobs of the mourners, deep and low

The Sensitive Pant- Percy Bysshe Shelley (full text)
Source

Absurd Books of the Week

Posted in absurd, Books, humor with tags , , on August 26, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

I was recently given links to two of the most absurd pieces of literature I’ve ever laid eyes on (avert your eyes, children).

As far as I can tell, this little morsel of biblio-beastiality was written unironically. Not only is it sold out on Amazon, but the reviews are strikingly positive.
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And…brace yourselves…THIS is also real.

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If you can’t read that clearly, it’s: How to Good-Bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? or Effective Way?

Here is the author synopsis.

I think constricting anus 100 times and denting navel 100 times in succession everyday is effective to good-bye depression and take back youth. You can do so at a boring meeting or in a subway. I have known a 70-year-old man who has practiced it for 20 years. As a result, he has a good complexion and has grown 20 years younger. His eyes sparkle. He is full of vigor, happiness and joy. He has neither complained nor born a grudge under any circumstance. Furthermore, he can make #### three times in succession without drawing out.

In addition, he also can have burned a strong, beautiful fire within his abdomen. It can burn out the dirty stickiness of his body, release his immaterial fiber or third attention, which has been confined to his stickiness. Then, he can shoot out his immaterial fiber or third attention to an object, concentrate on it and attain happy lucky feeling through the success of concentration.

If you don’t know concentration, which gives you peculiar pleasure, your life looks like hell.

If you see an unbelievable book (vintage or current), please share! I’ll do occasional roundups and credit all contributors.

(Thank you for these great links, Ryogue!)

Alfred Hitchcock Book Covers Megapost: Part 1

Posted in art, Books, illustration, vintage with tags , , , on August 14, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

The master of suspense had many books. While I’ve enjoyed his TV shows and movies very much, I don’t think I’ve actually read any of the books. However, I adore the vintage book covers, almost all of which have Hitchcock himself somehow incorporated (often humorously) into the artwork. I’ve managed to collect many images of them over the years, so here’s the first installment.

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Desktop Goodies 7/25

Posted in absurd, automata, Books, ephemera, humor, monsters, vintage with tags , , , , , , , on July 25, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

I apologize if I’ve posted some of these before. I forgot to clean out my “desktop goodies” folder and I may be repeating myself (though I don’t think so). Either way, these treasures are worth seeing.

This is real!
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I’ve seen fortune teller automata before, but never Puss in Boots. He sees straight into your soul. It burns.
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Take a moment to really absorb and digest this book. This may be one of the most horribly absurd things I’ve seen, and that’s saying something.
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I love this headstone. If I am interred, I hope I get a lot of reading done down there.
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Famous monster candle making? Sign me up!
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Need I comment on this? I think not.
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Where’s the bumper sticker that says MY OTHER CAR IS A FLOWER COVERED CARRIAGE STEERED BY A GIANT DEER HEAD?
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Dr. Coffins wonders why his private practice attracts very few patients.
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Talk about a niche market!
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Best caption ever.
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In closing, we must all ask ourselves…
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The Morbid Anatomy Anthology

Posted in anatomy, antiques, Books, oddities with tags , , , on June 25, 2014 by shewalkssoftly

My The Morbid Anatomy Anthology just arrived, and I absolutely must sing its praises. I can’t wait to dive in and devour every word and image!

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Since 2008, the Morbid Anatomy Library of Brooklyn, New York, has hosted some of the best scholars, artists and writers working along the intersections of the history of anatomy and medicine, death and the macabre, religion and spectacle. The Morbid Anatomy Anthology collects some of the best of this work in 28 lavishly illustrated essays. Included are essays by Evan Michelson (star of Science Channel’s hit show Oddities) on the catacombs of Palermo; Simon Chaplin (head of the Wellcome Library in London) on public displays of corpses in Georgian England; mortician Caitlin Doughty on demonic children; and Paul Koudounaris (author of Empire of Death) on a truck stop populated with human skulls. In addition are pieces on books bound in human skin, death-themed cafes in fin-de-si├Ęcle Paris, post-mortem photography, eroticized anatomical wax models, taxidermied humans and other animals, Santa Muerte, “artist of death” Frederik Ruysch, and much more.

There are some brilliant minds and expert curators behind this book (namely, Joanna Ebenstein and Colin Dickey). If you are a fan of this blog, you should definitely pick it up! It’s an amazing treasure trove (and really fairly priced…even for a penny pincher like me!). Support these great folks. They deserve it.

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