Saturday, February 28, 2009

Coffee Table Book Party: "The Flight Into Egypt"

But first, some housekeeping business.

Dug, as is his right per the Michael5000 Quiz Regulatory Structure, has contested the scoring of the Thursday Quiz. And, after review, the ruling on the field has been reversed.

The Calico Cat retains the TQLXXIII Gold Star. However, the Silver Star is stripped from Cartophiliac, and given to dug instead. Cartophiliac takes the Blue. Also, interestingly, there are now two Green Stars added to the mix: d's Green moves him into a tie for ninth on the all-time leaderboard, and newcomer Sphi300 becomes the 49th Thursday Quiz Starholder. Everyone comes out ahead, really, as no doubt Carto's seething resentment over this turn of events will just make him hungrier.


The reason why Wednesday's post was so awesome, see, is that there's this meme all over Facebook? Where people go to some random sites to get their band's name, album title, and cover art? And then I took the ones that various readers did, and wrote reviews as if they were real albums? Anyway, it was brilliant. DrSchnell compared me to Borges!

The "album covers" were taken (without permission, naturally) from, if I remember right, kate (of katenben), I forget (sorry!), dan, lamanyana, Niece #1, Nichim, DrSchnell, me, BiggerSister5000, and Serendipity.

Let the Party Begin!

The Coffee Table Book Party now threatens to turn into an actual party, in that there is more than one person involved. Jenners, who I swear to God spends more time blogging than I do, recently wrote up the book Timeless Toys under the Coffee Table Book Party aegis. Awesome! She also chose a book after my own heart, lushly illustrated with photos documenting the evolution of many classic American toys and games. I've got the library's copy on my kitchen table even as we speak. Well, even as I type, and possibly as you read.

Ely, Timothy, The Flight Into Egypt. Chronicle Books, 1995.

The Flight Into Egypt is a very rare example of an "artist's book" -- the kind of work that you may know from me having shown you the amazing work of fingerstothebone or Mrs.5000 -- that has been mass-produced by a conventional publishing house and process. That the result was apparently a financial fiasco for all concerned should not take away from the happy fact of the book's existence among us.

As the title indicates, the work is broadly influenced by Egypt, the topography and imagery of which saturate the book.

Yet on another level, the book has nothing to do with Egypt whatsoever. Rich in abstract, intricate almost-maps of imaginary terrains, with accompanying text in an invented almost-language with its own alphabet, The Flight Into Egypt resembles nothing so much as the artifact of a visit to an alien planet by an alien species. If you found a journal in an abandoned starship, it might well look like this -- but only if the ship had been piloted by an alien with craftsmanship of the highest order.

There is no explanatory text (aside from an irrelevant foreword), no captions, no attempt at explanation. It is not a book to read, but rather to look at as you would a great painting or a great map, or both.

As of this writing, you can get a used copy of this beautiful thing on Amazon for less than twelve bucks. That's a pathetically low price, but -- lucky you!


Jenners said...

Ok..the scoring stuff was way too funny. No wonder I dropped out .. this is too intense for me!

Second, I KNEW those had to be fake. I just came across this meme elsewhere and I am doing it for my Monday post -- I also took it upon myself to write my own music review. Hee hee.

Third, thanks for the shout-out. And how do you know how much time I spend blogging? I might have ghost writers you know? And I am dropping my third, ill-fated diet/exercise blog due to lack of interest ... on my part. : )

Cartophiliac said...

Dug, however, should have lost a point for actually going back and checking the scoring... just not in the spirit. Makes you wonder if he/she also Googles the answers before posting... Not sporting!

There, I was obliged to make some sort of scathing comment...

Dug said...

Good scathe! Although had I googled the answers I would have known the correct location of that stupid Okavango Delta. Oh sorry that wasn't really in the spirit of anything just now.

Dug said...

Hopefully all this bitterness and infighting has added a "delicious frisson to the proceedings" as per the regulatory structure.

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