Beautiful old book jackets

Or dust jackets, if you prefer. look-homeward-angelFriend Jenny Snider sent me the link to a wonderful post from AbeBooks.com (whose only crime is being a subsidiary of Amazon) that includes pictures of some gorgeous old book jackets.

At the time these were produced, they were still called dust jackets, a term left from the days when books were shipped with paper “jackets” that protected them from dirt and dust until they reached the bookstores.

 

tender-night

I don’t know if the authors of these well-known books were permitted to have a say in what went on their jackets; one presumes that the publisher wanted to keep the author happy and therefore included him (or her) in the decisions. Maybe. call-it-sleepIt’s likely that the bigger the author, the more input s/he had. That’s still the case—except that today publishers rely much, much more on dubious advice from their marketing departments when coming up with book jackets. A book jacket is, after all,  a marketing tool.

The problem is that no one really has any idea at all what sort of book jacket sells books. tree-brooklynWhen a book sells well do we attribute the sales to the book jacket? Or to the brilliance of the writing? Or to the popularity of the author? Who knows? Certainly not publishers. Many an author has been driven crazy by a publisher who insists that a truly awful jacket design is not a truly awful jacket design. But the author—unless s/he’s a really, really big deal—has no control over the design. None.

This is not to say that an author would necessarily be a better judge of jacket design than a jacket designer; plenty of writers have no eye at all. The point is just that it’s interesting to realize that there’s no more logic to choosing a book jacket design today than there ever was.

 

appointment fer-de-lance

lighthouse

 

Dates:

  •  Look Homeward, Angel, 1929
  • Tender Is the Night, 1934
  • Call It Sleep, 1934
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943
  • Appointment in Samarra, 1934
  • Fer-de-Lance, 1934
  • To the Lighthouse, 1927
  • Stuart Little, 1945

 

Technically speaking, I probably shouldn’t be grabbing and posting AbeBooks’s photos of these wonderful jackets, but they should be shared. And btw, the only one shown in the AbeBooks post that was familiar to me might be familiar to you too…

stuart-little

 

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FYI / Independent Bookstores from Coast to Coast

Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

Broadside Bookshop, Northampton, MA

Lift Bridge Book Shop, Brockport, NY

 

 

See this show: 100 books famous in children’s lit

The Grolier Club has an extraordinary exhibit right now, in the gallery on the main floor. “One Hundred Books Famous in Children’s Literature” is there only until February 7, Mondays through Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and admission is free. No reader should miss it.

The curator, Chris Loker, writes in the accompanying booklet/guide, “Our definition of ‘famous’ does not mean that all books chosen are ‘influential’ or ‘important,’ nor is our selection an effort to label these books as ‘best’ or ‘most’ famous.”

I like that clarification a lot, and it will make you feel better if your own all-time favorite happens not to be in the exhibit. My two favorites (Kiki Dances and The Hundred Dresses) are not, but just as I was starting to cry because Make Way for Ducklings didn’t seem to be there—it turned out to be there.  Here’s a sampling of what you’ll see.

 

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FYI / Independent Bookstores from Coast to Coast

Letterpress Books, Portland, ME

Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

Battenkill Books, Cambridge, NY

 

Roz Chast: pictures worth a thousand words

9781608198061_custom-035ffdc5e88431604aa7739c254c44f7148f65e0-s300-c85Can’t we talk about something more PLEASANT?  may well have been the best memoir published in 2014, and of course it is like no other. Roz Chast, prolific writer and artist, uses standard book form so inventively, so enticingly, filling the pages with so many visual delights that you’d follow her anywhere. Right into the Place [sic] where her ancient parents wound up, right into their bedroom, right into their illnesses and deaths. Painful as the material gets (psychologically, emotionally, physically), there’s no way you don’t see it through to the bitter end.

Chast’s drawing is unique, but what she does on the page as an artist isn’t completely new: other writer/artist/book designers have done similar things: combined panels with no-panels, used hand-drawn headlines, created pages that mix text with large images, and so on. Maira Kalman, Alison Bechdel, Art Spiegelman, for example. The design vocabulary exists; the question is what the writer/artist does with it.

Like these other luminaries, Chast perfectly uses the pictorial as a medium for her own clear, intelligent, funny, insightful voice. Or maybe the right word is “support”: her visuals support her writing. Neither would be as strong without the other, but the evidence suggests that despite all those years of withdrawing into drawing, Chast is a writer first. She has something to say, and her drawings are the delivery system. IMG_1138Take a close look: there’s hardly a drawing that doesn’t use words in one way or another. That’s not an accident.

Since her book is a memoir, she’s also wrestling with all the issues that every memoirist must confront. Her parents are dead, so she seems unconflicted about revealing their quirks and weirdnesses, as well as the peculiarities of their marriage and their parenting. IMG_1136She’s straightforward about her own difficulties with her parents too.

If there’s a flaw in the book, it’s the almost total absence of her own husband and children. When it comes to Chast’s own marriage and parenting, the shades are almost all the way down. Her daughter is mentioned several times and pictured once or twice; the word “husband” comes up a few times.

This is a perennial problem for nonfiction writers trying to tell a family story: they are entitled to tell their personal stories, but what do they do about the other family members? How far can they go in revealing what their children and partners don’t want revealed?

I imagined this conversation between Chast and her husband:

“Sweetie, I’m going to write a book about my parents.”

“Great, Roz, just leave me out.”

“How can I leave you out? You were there.”

“Maybe, but leave me out. I don’t want to be in the book.”

The absence of her own husband and kids in this family story seems in an odd way to reiterate Chast’s childhood isolation. IMG_1140In other words, it appears as if her life with her difficult parents was still—in this tale of their last years—a closed circle. I have no idea if this is true or not; I only know what the writer/artist has put on her pages.

What I do know, though, is that even a memoir done right (and this one is done very right) will always have gaps. There’s no way to tell the entire story, and one component of writing artful memoir is how you use what you’re allowed to use.

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FYI / Independent Bookstores from Coast to Coast

Warwick’s, La Jolla, CA

Union Ave Books, Knoxville, TN

The Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, PA

Making pleasure last: trilogies, quartets, and series in fiction

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No reader who’s ever devoured a book series needs to be convinced of the thrill: when you finish #1 and #2, #3 is waiting in the wings! And most avid readers can name at least a few beloved trilogies, quartets, or series. (If you’ve ever talked to a “POB”—Patrick O’Brien—fan, you know that series-readers are alive and well and obsessing.)

Every generation of readers has its childhood favorites. My own favorite series were Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames (a nurse!), and Margaret Sidney’s Five Little Peppers. My friend Richard Esparza loved the Tom Swift series. Lots of my women friends are still devoted to Louisa May Alcott’s most famous trio: Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys.

I’m afraid that any of these old series might be laughable to a twenty-first-century child, but whatever gets you reading is the book (or series) that counts.

Fortunately, one grows up and reads better books. Or not: In my twenties (twenties!) my then best friend and I got hooked on the Jalna books (also called the Whiteoaks Chronicles), by Canadian writer Mazo de la Roche. Recently I was wandering the fiction stacks in the New York Society Library and discovered that the Jalna series was right there on the shelf.

Excited, I pulled out a couple of the earliest volumes in the series, which eventually ran to sixteen books published between 1929 and 1960. They were very nearly unreadable. How on earth did we get so addicted back in the early 1970s? I’ll eat my shoe if any other reader out there has even heard of Jalna.

Book series are nothing unusual these days (Harry Potter, anyone?); there’s a good sf/fantasy series list on the io9 website, and mystery fans should take a look at FictFact’s mystery list, “Most Popular Book Series by Genre.”

But even if we ignore the sf/fantasy/mystery/thrillers groups for now, there are wonderful series of novels that will suck you in and keep you enthralled for book after book. Try some of these for your winter reading. They should get you through quite a few storms, mental or climatological.

  • The Old Filtha trilogy by Jane Gardam
  • The Alexandria Quartet, by Lawrence Durell
  • The Griffin and Sabine Trilogy, by Nick Bantock
  • The Regeneration Trilogy, by Pat Barker
  • The Bounty Trilogy, by Charles Nordhoff & James Norman Hall
  • U.S.A., a trilogy by John Dos Passos
  • Earth’s Children, by Jean Auel
  • The New York Trilogy, by Paul Auster
  • Kristin Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature for this historical trilogy
  • The Trees, The FieldsThe Town, a trilogy by Conrad Richter, about frontier life in Ohio
  • The Raj Quartet, by Paul Scott
  • The Lymond Chronicles, by Dorothy Dunnett
  • Chronicles of Barchester and the Palliser novels, by Anthony Trollope
  • The Deptford Trilogy, by Robertson Davies
  • The Cazelet Chronicle, a quintet by Elizabeth Jane Howard
  • The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
  • the Schmidt novels, by Louis Begley
  • the Rabbit novels, by John Updike
  • the Neopolitan novels, by Elena Ferrante

Thanks so much to friends who contributed their ideas for this post: Melissa Miles; Jane Ciabattari; Karen Baar; Marialisa Calta; Karen Wunsch; Barbara Garber; Richard Esparza; Sharon Javna.

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FYI / Independent Bookstores from Coast to Coast

Oblong Books, Rhinebeck, NY

Boneshaker Books, Minneapolis, MN

Children’s Book World, Haverford, PA

 

Shelter Island writing retreat

FRIDAY MORNING: Leaving New York City for my writing retreat starts with a jitney pick-up on Eighty-sixth Street. By the time I’ve settled into a back seat and arranged my reading material for the three-hour trip to Greenport, on the north fork of Long Island, we’re at the last Manhattan pick-up spot: Forty-fourth Street. Outside the window is one of my favorite neon word soups. IMG_0867Then a huge guy boards the bus and sits next to me, and I’m committed to the reading matter that’s already on my lap because I’m so boxed in by Giganto Man that I can’t reach down to get anything else from the carry-on at my feet. Actually, on my feet.

As usual, too much reading matter. This is something I cannot learn: Don’t bring so much to read; it won’t happen. Train, plane, jitney: too much reading matter. Which reminds me of an e-mail I got from Carolyn Waters, Assistant Head Librarian of the New York Society Library, when she recently took an eleven-hour train ride to Montreal:

Train was really enjoyable—the time went fast, as evidenced by my paltry reading completion percentage: I brought The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy (set in the 40s in Montreal, a Stack 6 find),  Alain de Botton’s How Proust Can Change Your Life, two New Yorkers, Sunset magazine (I’m a secret West Coast-er), Food and Wine magazine, and an article on capital structure (don’t ask). I finished only The Tin Flute and made it through most of one of the New Yorkers although that one happened mostly in coffee bars and wine bars in Montreal while warming up before heading back out into the snow and wind. I also perused my Lonely Planet Montreal guidebook on the way up…and daydreamed.

I’m willing to bet that if I ask Carolyn whether next time she’ll alter her behavior—i.e., take less reading matter with her on the next long train (plane, boat, bus) trip—she’ll have to consider her answer. Inveterate readers like Carolyn and me tend to have no control; we’re more afraid of having not enough to read than of having too much.

I also love Carolyn’s last sentence: she daydreamed. And so do I, after we get past the traffic jams at the outlet stores (which add an extra hour to the trip), because it’s the biggest shopping day of the year. That’s the kind of event that an inveterate reader must be prepared for: what if the bus had been seriously delayed or what if the plane had gotten stuck in Denver in a snow storm and there was nothing to read! Eventually the jitney does hustle through the small towns, where looking out the window and daydreaming are actually better than reading.

SATURDAY: Michael and David have a wall of books. So even with all the precautions I’ve taken to be sure to have enough reading matter, I still want to go through the bookshelves to find new things to read during my week here. IMG_0917We do this search together, since M and D are equally inveterate readers and they wouldn’t want me to miss anything important. So I wind up with Marguerite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian, Roxana Robinson’s Cost, Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, and Angels and Ages by Adam Gopnik. You know there isn’t the faintest chance I’ll get through all that in a week, but I love having the stack by my bed. Too much reading matter.

And then things get worse: we make our pilgrimage to a delicious used-book store called Black Cat Books and we buy more books. I pick up a nice copy of Pat Barker’s Regeneration for Mike, and a book of Hayden Carruth’s poetry and a copy of The End of the Affair, which I probably have at home in my Graham Greene section, but which I might want to read on the return trip. Too much reading matter. Later that afternoon we go to a pig roast. I hate what it conjures: Book piggy!

IMG_0914SUNDAY: Hadrian has turned out to be both rivetingly interesting and completely sedative, causing oversleep. But the light is beautiful this morning,and the cold has lifted significantly. An afternoon walk is pleasant instead of painful, so I take pictures of roads that go nowhere. But I don’t just take pictures: I look. I think about open-endedness. I mull my novel.

The light wanes, and Mike and David prepare to leave to catch the ferry to Greenport, where they’ll get the train for Manhattan. It’s the very last train that will run this season; after this their choice narrows to jitney or car. The ferry, however, doesn’t end for any season and doesn’t stop its back-and-forth until late at night. Its route is considered part of the county road system; it must be available at all times for emergencies.IMG_0891 Shelter Island is, after all, an island. I’m an island resident myself, but being on SI is being isolated in a way that’s the exact opposite of being on Manhattan Island. I came here for the isolation—the retreat. Tomorrow: novel.

 

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FYI / Independent Bookstores from Coast to Coast

Sundial Books, Chincoteague Island, VA

Bookends and Beginnings, Evanston, IL

Book Passage, San Francisco, CA

 

 

marketplace report

The article linked here is exactly what I was writing about on November 17 (after that epiphany on the crosstown bus), in a post called “Returning to center.”

The Publishers Weekly piece is “The Rise of the Seven-Figure Advance.” Subhead: “Major deals become the ‘new normal,’ thanks to steeper competition for fewer high-profile projects.”

It’s a good job of reporting, and no fault of the reporter (Rachel Deahl) that the information is simultaneously all true and all nonsense. The article addresses why publishers are throwing huge amounts of money around right now; when the same publishers decide it was a mistake to hand out seven-figure advances, they’ll tell a different story. Wait, watch, and see.

 

 

 

Welcome to Purgatory Pie Press

Once upon a time you could only have a sweater if someone knitted it for you. Then machines replaced hand-knitting, and everyone could have sweaters. For a while, handmade sweaters were scorned because they weren’t made by those amazing new-fangled machines. But the wheel turns, and soon enough hand-knit sweaters regained value because they were made by hand.

By the same token, the more technologically sophisticated our machinemade or digitized books become, the more cachet and artistic value attaches to handset type and handmade books. The output of small letterpress print shops can have delicious appeal—in the use of beautiful old wood and metal typefaces, gorgeous papers, real ink, and unique design.Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 4.31.27 PM The work can be rich in personality, a revelation of artistic vision as compelling as any painting or sculpture. Letterpress printing has traveled a twisty road: once commonplace, then ignored, and now exceptional.

Two (historically) old friends of mine are purveyors of the exceptional in letterpress printing: Esther K. Smith and Dikko Faust, owners of the Purgatory Pie Press in New York City. Dikko&EstherDikko is the typographer and inky-fingered printer; Esther is the designer, and also the author of How to Make Books, Magic Books & Paper Toys, and a significant contributor to The Little Book of Bookmaking.  HANDMADEBOOK flyerIn a long collaboration—married!—they’ve made everything from wedding invitations to accordion-fold books, postcards, toys, and all sorts of magical printed pieces both two- and three-dimensional.press-nice-view

Purgatory Pie Press is so versatile that it would be easy to write about (and show) a dozen kinds of PPP work and still have dozens more to go. Instead, Esther suggested a focus on the datebooks that she and Dikko have been creating since 1980 (for the year 1981). “Keeping a datebook becomes an autobiography,” Esther points out, which has to sound completely right to writers.

I still own the PPP datebook I bought for the year 1983, shown at right: I used it as a studio notebook, keeping track  of the paintings, prints, and artist’s books I was making back then when I was still a visual artist and not yet a writer. IMG_0837It’s pocket-sized, so I always had it with me when I went to my studio, and I mixed the informational with the personal.

Here’s a typical entry, for IMG_0838June 4, 1983: Arrived with pigeon shit in my hair. Thanks, NY. Bumped into Ann [Banks] and Peter [Petre] in the market. They came up for a few minutes. Then I puttered, thinking about the next collage I’ll make.

The gallery of photos below shows a sampling of the datebooks Esther and Dikko have made over the years. Below the gallery are links to their website and to other articles about PPP.

special thanks to Marna Chester for letting me use her photo (above) of the actual purgatory pie press.

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FYI / Independent Bookstores from Coast to Coast

Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

City Lights Booksellers, San Francisco, CA

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, KY

 

1295225429_2893_FT0_dsc09298_No cops (we hope), no sitcom families (we hope), no lawyers (that’s too much to hope), no crime scene investigators (not going there)—just…the Miami Book Fair.

PBS is going to stream live coverage of the fair on November 21, 22, and 23. It’s kind of a cool idea—it might just work. Read about it here. This is one of the very-big-deal book fairs, so there’ll be very-big-deal authors to view and listen to. Give it a try?

Thanks to book cheerleader Laurie Duncan of MacSamurai Consulting for bringing this to my attention.

Reader’s Diary: end-game journeys

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As you see, I did not want to put the buzzwords into the title of this post because if I had, there’s a chance you wouldn’t be reading this very sentence.  Some of the buzzwords are:

aging •  failing • waiting • loneliness • Loss • ending • dying • DEATH

Grim stuff? Perhaps, but it’s our stuff. Everyone’s stuff. Everyone ages. Some of us won’t age as much as we wish we could, some of us will age more than we’re happy about. But we will age; we’ll approach death. Writers will write about the experience, good or bad; many readers will read about it, though sometimes reluctantly.

  • There’s a kind of fiction that’s incidentally about aging and death, that is, the aging simply happens along with the story. Memory or flashback is often the frame.
  • There’s another kind of fiction that’s about coping—with aging, being older or old, illness, imminent death, the aftermath of loss. Some of that fiction is from the point of view of the older person, some is from the POVs of children, friends, or caregivers. It’s fiction like any other, and it can be very helpful to readers.
  • A lot of aging-related nonfiction is, of course, factual information offered by experts, about the process, the physical and emotional issues, etc.
  • Memoirs and creative nonfiction written in old or older age frequently describe the experience of aging, being old, living old, and knowing you’re going to die soon. They’re about personal experience, setting the record straight, filling in the blanks, sharing knowledge or wisdom, being angry or sad, funny or resigned, ready—or not ready.

Readers generally choose age-appropriate or stage-appropriate literature. When you’re in your twenties, in school, in love, in early parenthood, etc., you’re less likely to want to read an account of life in the assisted-living facility. Yet if you’re in your forties and coping with elderly parents, this may be your literature of choice. At my stage, I’m not much interested in meet-cute romances or the trials of motherhood, but tales of aging can depress me.

The problem is that a great deal of amazing writing gets done by older writers and some of it is about aging and some of it gets short shrift. Only a very unusual thirty-year-old editor is going to take an old man’s memoirs seriously (unless he’s an ex-president) or an old woman’s short stories seriously (unless she’s a Nobel Prize winner).

May Sarton, poet, novelist, and memoirist, wrote eloquently about aging. “Memoirist” is not quite the right term for her, but one can’t call her a “journalist” despite the fact that she wrote elegant journals about her life. For example, Journal of a Solitude is—if you allow yourself to be absorbed by this poetic yet down-to-earth account—simply a wonderful journey with Sarton. And perhaps that’s the best word association: her journals are about her journey.

Sarton, who died in 1995, overcame several major illnesses and the loss of many close friends and lovers to continue writing journals almost to the end of her life. The journals are sometimes marred by her narcissism, yet they remain astonishing views into the process of aging. I single her out because her journals are favorites of mine, but she is only one of many writers who have had the courage, insight, energy, wit, and humor to tackle waning lives as only writers can—by writing through them.

There are many choices for reading in this topic; the following is quite a short list, compared to what’s available. Which is to say that despite the reluctance of some editors and some readers, good books about difficult topics do get published.

Tales from Rhapsody Home: Or, What They Don’t Tell You About Senior Living, John Gould

Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner

The Diary of a Good Neighbor, Doris Lessing (NB: also called The Diary of Jane Somers #1)

Gilead, Marilynne Robinson

Memento Mori, Muriel Spark

Quartet in Autumn, Barbara Pym

All Passion Spent, Vita Sackville-West

Krapp’s Last Tape and Malone Dies, Samuel Beckett

The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway

Signs and Symbols, Vladimir Nabokov

Moon Tiger, Penelope Lively

As We Are NowMay Sarton

Mr. Sammler’s Planet, Saul Bellow

The Year of Magical ThinkingJoan Didion

My Mother’s IslandMarnie Mueller

PatrimonyPhilip Roth

And here are a few links to very good lists of books—fiction and nonfiction—about aging:

I would like to add two more words to the discussion: William Trevor. Not that beloved Mr. Trevor, who is now eighty-six, is a writer particularly concerned with work about old age. No, I mention him because he is still writing, he is still brilliant, and any reader or writer of fiction who hasn’t read him should search him out ASAP.

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FYI / Independent Bookstores from Coast to Coast

Crawford Doyle Booksellers, New York, NY

Snow Goose Bookstore, Stanwood, WA

Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

 

 

The Settlement Cookbook

My lovely, talented, smart, sweet niece Sophie Javna has been studying the history of settlement work in Chicago. Hold onto that information for a paragraph or two.

I don’t get to see Sophie often enough since she’s at Colorado College and I’m in Manhattan. However, we converged at her parents’ home in Ashland, OR Sophie/Lorrie at Sharon's b'day party(also home of a wonderful indie bookstore called Bloomsbury Books) in mid-October for her mom’s birthday celebration.

Sophie is a serious food person, but being a mere twenty-one she didn’t grow up with the same cookbooks that her aunt (formerly a serious food person, and author of ten cookbooks) did. I began cooking in the mid-1960s, when The Settlement Cook Book [sic] was right up there with The Joy of Cooking. 

1965 Settlement CkbkI owned the 1965 edition, and the recipes were wonderful—but the chapters that were not about food and that were addressed to young immigrant women in late nineteenth-century Milwaukee made it more compelling than any ordinary cookbook. And that’s what ties right into Sophie’s study of the settlement house movement, as you will see from my article below, written for Eater’s Digest: 400 Delectable Readings About Food and Drink, published in 2006.

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the story of the settlement cookbook

Mrs. Simon Kander was not, reputedly, a warm and fuzzy person. She was, however, a formidable lady who got things done. IMG_02661In Milwaukee in 1896 she and a group of other Jewish women opened a settlement house for Eastern European Jewish immigrants, to teach them English and other useful skills that would assist them in assimilating into American society. Not least of these skills—at least in Lizzie Kander’s opinion—was cooking.  

In 1901 Mrs. Kander observed that in the cooking classes (some of which she taught herself) the high school girls were spending precious time copying down the recipes that the teacher wrote on the chalkboard. It occurred to Mrs. Kander that many hours could be saved and much more progress made if each girl were given a printed booklet containing those recipes, along with instructions on various other household matters such as cleaning, stain removal,, and building a fire. The settlement could sell the booklets, too, for a bit of income. 9781557094360_custom-9393f2dac1d4a79cd9d58d571c84b6ddc30a87bf-s2-c85 

She applied to the Settlement Board (all men, of course) for eighteen dollars to fund the project. They turned her down, though they added—famously—that they would be happy to “share in any profits from your little venture.”  

Little venture? The Way to a Man’s Heart…The Settlement Cook Book was printed with the help of Mrs. K’s friends and connections, and the 1901 edition was not a booklet after all: it came off the press at 174 pages.  The first thousand copies sold out in about a year. The cookbook committee enlarged the book and printed 1500 more. By 1910 it was doing so well that profits from the books were used to purchase land for a new settlement house, and more cookbook profits were used to help build it.  

In 1917 there was so much cookbook action that the ladies had to hire office help; in 1921 the committee incorporated as the Settlement Cook Book Company and agreed to take a twenty-cent royalty on each book.  UnknownMrs. Kander’s “little venture” continued to yield money for all involved, and along the way the book became a classic.  Many editions have been published, and over 2 million copies have been sold; in 1978 it was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame. The popularity of The Settlement Cook Book spanned most of the twentieth century, and many a young woman started married life with a couple of saucepans and a copy of the book.  

From its inception, The Settlement Cook Book was not just a book of recipes; it was a document of culture, a manual of what was considered proper, important, and useful for girls and women to know in the kitchen and the home. When an immigrant girl read Mrs. Kander’s authoritative advice on what to serve for dinner or how to lay a table, she felt confident that she was on good, solid American ground. And she was.

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SIDEBAR: Noodling around online, I found this delightful post about The Settlement Cook Book. I don’t know this writer at all, but I love the piece and thank her for it.

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FYI / Independent Bookstores from Coast to Coast

 William Stout Architectural Books, San Francisco, CA

Subterranean Books, St. Louis, MO

Head House Books, Philadelphia, PA