Friday, September 04, 2009

Calling All Fields of Interest

So I finish reading a book and the page after the last page reads: A Catalog of Selected Dover Books in All Fields of Interest. I think to myself, Hmmm, this could be interesting, let's see what it contains. I flip through and my eye catches such titles as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mozart's Don Giovanni. Selected Poems by Walt Whitman. Old Brooklyn in Early Photographs. Great.

But then my eye catches this title: 1001 Questions Answered About the Seashore, and I vaguely think, gosh that seems pretty random. Oh but that's only the beginning. Of the nearly 120 "selected" titles listed, it really does seem to cover ALL fields of interest. That is if you focus on truly obscure foci of interest. Here is a list of some of my favorites, occasionally with the one sentence summary of the book BECAUSE IT'S JUST THAT GOOD:

The Clarinet and Clarinet Playing
Yekl and the Imported Bridegroom and Other Stories of Yiddish New York
Sundials: "Far and away the best, most thorough coverage of ideas, mathematics concerned, types, construction, adjusting anywhere"
Theoretical Hydrodynamics
How to do Beadwork
The 1912 and 1915 Gustav Stickley Furniture Catalogs: "With over 200 detailed illustrations and descriptions, these two catalogs are essential reading and reference materials and identification guides for Stickley furniture"
The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage
Indian Sign Language
Medieval Calligraphy
The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu
The Malleus Maleficarum of Kramer and Sprenger: "Full text of most important witchhunter's bible"
One Two Three... Infinity
Antique Playing Cards: A Pictorial History

This selected list of Dover gems also has some patterns in what it offers. One such pattern is books on myths; you can purchase a book on myths of North American Indians, of Hindus and Buddhists, Greece and Rome, as well as one on Celtic Myths and Legends and another on Magic and Mystery in Tibet. Remember, this a list of only 120 books, purportedly covering all fields of interest, and these are 5 of them.

They're also really into birds over at Dover, as you can purchase books on Easy-to-Make Bird Feeders for Woodworkers, or perhaps Making Birdhouses: Easy and Advanced Projects, or if that's not enough The COMPLETE Book of Birdhouse Construction for Woodworkers, and then once you've mastered these you can see how well you've succeeded or failed by reading Attracting Birds to Your Yard and if you do manage to attract said birds, pick up a book called Common Bird Songs to better... understand (?) what you are hearing. Yes you got that right, FIVE of the books are about birds.

If your interest is in the Victorian era, you are in luck, because this selection includes books called Old-Time Vignettes in Full Color (Over 390 charming, often sentimental illustrations, selected from archives of Victorian graphics- pretty women posing (ummmm sketttchy???), children playing, food, flowers, kittens and puppies, smiling cherubs, birds and butterflies, much more.), Victorian Parlour Poetry, Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazar, and Victorian Architectural Details: Designs for over 700 stairs, mantels, doors, windows, cornices, porches, and other decorative elements.

Right. These books actually exist people.

Now who COULDN'T find a book to suit their interests given a catalog like that??

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