Saturday, January 9, 2021

Book cover: "How to Amuse Yourself on a Journey"

  • Title: How to Amuse Yourself on a Journey
  • Author: Judy Allen
  • Cover photographer: Peter Kibbles (probably)
  • Interior illustrations: Timothy Jemison
  • Back cover blurb: "Every long journey gets tedious sooner or later — unless you have plenty of things to do and games to play. This book should keep you busy for hours, whether in a car or plane or on a boat or train. There are plenty of ideas for all the family."
  • Publisher: Studio Vista
  • Back cover price: £1.25 
  • Year: 1974
  • Pages: 68
  • Format: Hardcover 
  • From the introduction: If you are in a car, be kind to the driver. Never distract him, thump him, shout at him or force him to join in games. If riding in a car makes you feel sick, play games that concentrate your attention out of the window. Do not write or read.
  • Some chapter titles: Coke can telephone, Big game hunt, Arms and legs, A pack of pubs, Signs of the zodiac, Search for prehistoric sites, Aeroplane markings, Fortune telling.
  • Excerpt #1: There are plenty of Red Lions and King's Heads, but it may be some time before you find The Doghouse, The Tumble Inn or Ye Olde Leathern Bottle.
  • Excerpt #2: Virgo the virgin is not an obvious inn name.
  • Excerpt #3: Ham means homestead; Wald or Wold means forest or woodland and names containing Bell or Bel (after the Babylonian sun god Baal) often indicate the site of an ancient beacon.
  • Wait, what? I'm not sure. It was 1974. In the UK. Folks were watching stuff like Robin Redbreast, Penda's Fen and The Wicker Man. As far as Baal and beacons and such, this link from the deep corners of the internet might shed some light on what Judy Allen was alluding to. 
  • Excerpt #4: If you are travelling through a town or a city or an industrial area, the chances are that the view will not be very pretty. Suppose you had millions of pounds and thousands of skilled workmen at your disposal! How would you improve the scene?
  • Excerpt #5: All players must close their eyes. Each must then choose a particular vehicle. It could be: an articulated lorry
  • Online reviews, blog posts, remembrances, etc.: None to be found. That makes this the new preeminent source of online scholarship about this tome.
  • Other books in this series: How to Be a Scientist at Home, How to Build with Old Boxes, How to Disguise Yourself, How to Make Masks, How to Make Presents from Odds and Ends, How to Make Rubbings, How to Start Carving, and How to Make Magic, about which Cavalorn wrote this in a lengthy 2014 post: "The front cover tells us right away that something is deeply amiss here. ... It is the only children's book I have ever seen that has a goat skull on the cover." ... So,  maybe all that stuff about Baal and beacons was no mistake.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

This morning's newspaper

Monday, January 4, 2021

1976 Soviet Union "World of Tomorrow" postcard, with penguins

This interesting sci-fi postcard is part of a 1976 set of postcards from the USSR titled "World of Tomorrow" (мир завтрашнего дня).

Some wary and/or curious penguins are checking out a tropical-looking giant globe in their midst. A futuristic city sits in the background. 

I'm not sure what the penguins think of this World of Tomorrow, but I suspect they like it somewhat more than the idea of global heating, their habitats literally melting and having nowhere safe to go. 

I'll post more from this set in coming days. Soviet science fiction of the 1970s is pretty cool, and I'll admit I don't know much about it all, beyond the work of Andrei Tarkovsky, who I don't believe worked penguins into any of his trippy films.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Brentano's advertisement tucked away inside 1897 book

This is the front and back of a bluish advertisement that I came across inside the pages of an old book — 1897's How to Build a Home by Francis C. Moore.1

The advertisement, which measures about 3 inches by 6¼ inches, is almost certainly original to the book. It touts two items that were available through Brentano's at its Union Square location in New York City. Bretano's left that site in the first decade of the 20th century, so the timeline lines up. Plus, the book itself has a tiny Bretano's book label on the inside back cover, also for Union Square

The two items advertised are a multi-volume series, The World of Music, by Anna Elizabeth, Countess de Brémont, and a two-volume edition of The First Violin, a novel by by Jessie Fothergill

The book was once owned by the Rev. Morgan R.W. Andreas of Spring Grove, Pennsylvania. A careful browser might find it at the June 2021 Book Nook Bonanza at the York City Ice Arena. (Hoping, of course, that the sale can be held this year.)

1. Subtitle: "Being suggestions as to safety from fire, safety to health, comfort, convenience, durability, and economy." The book includes a recipe for concrete, the suggestion that a toilet room/water closet be placed under the main staircase, and this piece of advice, "Do not, under any circumstances, consent to have your architect take estimates with the indefinite clause, 'Details hereafter to be furnished.'"