Fall Favorites Preview: People (and two more) by Blexbolex (Enchanted Lion Books

Enchanted Lion Books makes such lovely books, and works with such talented artists, that it can be hard to appreciate in the moment – as I'm working with my store buyers – just how great each of their books will turn out. Sometimes, because many of their books need to be translated from other languages, the sales materials I see before I start selling a season of books can be ... works-in-progress. Or, as was the case with 2010's Seasons by Blexbolex, almost nonexistent.

But once the the finished books come in, we reps notice! And the buyers notice. And reviewers notice. And awards committees notice!

The timing for this fall's season of books could not be better – some of the ELB titles were held back briefly in the US so that finished books would be ready before we start selling. So I've already had a chance to take a close look at one of the new books on their upcoming list, and I love it!

   

People
by Blexbolex
Enchanted Lion Books / Consortium | 9781592701100 | $19.95 | Sept 2011

Seasons
by Blexbolex 
Enchanted Lion Books / Consortium | 9781592700950 | $19.95 | Apr 2010

I Know How To Cook
by Ginette Mathiot
Phaidon Books | 9780714857367 | $49.95 | Oct 2009

Blexbolex is the pen name of French illustrator Bernard Granger. His art style draws on a retro-hip sort of old fashioned illustration: human figures and structures are reduced to super-simple shapes and colors that cause his images to pop out of the sparsely filled pages.

He is perhaps best known to American audiences for his design work & illustrations in Phaidon's 2009 edition of the French cookbook classic, I Know How To Cook. (Check out some interior illustrations at this Design Sponge post.)

In 2010, Enchanted Lion Books brought out the English language edition of Seasons (first published in France in 2009). As I intimated above, at the time I was selling this book with early page samples, I didn't fully understand how lovely the book would turn out to be, or how wonderful Blexbolex's art would be in a full-length book setting. (A book trailer for Seasons is available here on YouTube.)

In Seasons, as in the upcoming English language edition of his award-winning People (published in 2008 as L'Imagier des gens), a single image fills most pages with a word caption at the top. For me, the magic in these two books lie in the way Blexbolex pairs the two facing page images. Sometimes there is a direct logical link between the two images, and sometimes they are merely neighbors – unrelated but still fascinating.

Seasons was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2010, and School Library Journal chose it as one of their Best Books of the Year.

  

In People, Blexbolex has upped his game. Most of the paired images through the book contain some linkage – the early pages match Man/Woman, Couple/Bachelor, Mother/Baby. But as the book continues, the images of people move into life choices, situational comedy, and subtle social observations.

  
The visual echo of the microscope and the telescope on this page made me laugh out loud the first time I saw it. The same goes for the Cowboy / Actor echoes. And don't even get me started on Nudist / Invisible Man. BRILLIANT.

  

This book is great for so many different audiences, young and old, but the humor and the witty sophistication of the images' subtext makes it perfect for adults looking for something new for their coffee table.  I can't wait to share this book with my buyers.

FURTHER READING & RESEARCH:

Enchanted Lion Books: web site

3 new arrivals at the my3books loading dock: Chicken Thieves, Blame Accountants & McSweeney's 34

I was opening up some packages this weekend, clearing out some of the mess from a week that included some travel.  I happened to be in the Twin Cities for work meetings, and got to be at Consortium's offices to share some champagne in celebration of their publishers' two Pulitzer Prize winners!

Among the boxes and mailers that were awaiting my return, I found these three books.  Two of them I've been anticipating all season long, and one was a pleasant surprise. 

  

The Chicken Thief
by Beatrice Rodriguez
Enchanted Lion Books (Consortium) | 9781592700929 | $14.95 | Apr 2010

I wrote about The Chicken Thief earlier this season, and my joy in it.  Now that the finished edition is here from Enchanted Lion Press, I couldn't be more delighted.  It's a delirious chase story with a chicken's life seemingly hanging in the balance, with the entire adventure told wordlessly. 

***

Office of Blame Accountability
by Geoffrey Cunningham, Carla Repice & The American Public
edited by Gregory Ayres
Loudmouth Press (Consortium) | 9780615289090 | $19.95 | May 2010

A sample OBA blame document1) A document collecting the whiny wisdom of the American people, a chance to individually and collectively point the finger of blame at Someone Else, a protest, an art project.  
2) A hilarious book that brings all of the above together in one place.

Loudmouth Press' web site explains it all for you:

The Office of Blame Accountability (OBA) is an art project taking place on public sidewalks and main streets across the United States. The OBA has travelled to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, Ground Zero on the anniversary of 9-11, and Wall Street during the stock market crash.  The ideas that inform OBA stem from isolationism, the growing lack of corporate responsibility, and the increasing economic and social divide between people living in the U.S. ... Since October 2007 the OBA has collected and filed hundreds of blame forms and recorded phone conversations.

You can check out their Facebook fan page to stay apprised of future openings of Office of Blame Accountability locations, and find out about recent developments.

***

McSweeney's Issue 34
by the Editors of McSweeney's
McSweeney's (PGW) | 9781934781678 | $20 | Apr 2010

Less elaborate than the blockbuster Issue 33 (otherwise known as the one-time-only Sunday paper, the San Francisco Panorama), this vinyl-slipcased edition features two separate volumes.  In one, an epic tale of war reporting by writer Nick McDonell from Iraq, where he traveled with the 1st Cavalry Division.  In the other book, features by the usual suspects: John Hodgman, Sarah Vowell, Julie Klausner, T.C. Boyle, Daniel Handler, and a portfolio of self-portraits by writers, actors, artists and directors.

This volume looks to me like it's well worth your time and attention.  You may admire it in slightly more detail on the McSweeney's site.

As Hodgman frequently says, that is all.

my3books' First Impressions for Spring 2010: books for kids from Consortium publishers

Recap: Here's the introduction to the First Impressions series of posts.

Consortium Book Sales & Distribution:  As always, I left this two-day long sales meeting completely overwhelmed with options.  Among the hundreds of new titles that will be coming out from the more than 100 indie publishers that are distributed by Consortium are a couple dozen that I'm very very excited about.

On the Children's and Young Adult side of the catalog (literally - it flips over!), a new publisher joined Consortium for Spring 2010, Enchanted Lion Books.  Two of their picture books are featured below, alongside a graphic novel collection of Trickster tales from Fulcrum Publishing.

The Chicken Thief
by Beatrice Rodriguez
Enchanted Lion Books (Consortium) | 9781592700929 | $14.95 | Apr 2010

Perhaps the sweetest & funniest picture book I've seen in a long time, it's the wordless epic of a fox who snatches a hen from the yard where she lives and runs off with her.  Bear, rabbit and rooster make chase, but after a surprising number of twists in the tale, it's a happy ending for all involved.

***

The Wild Daydreams of a Solitary Hamster
by Astrid Desbordes
illustrated by Pauline Martin
Enchanted Lion Books (Consortium) | 9781592700936 | $17.95 | May 2010

With understated humor and a very clear line indeed, young readers encounter a graphic novel-format picture book about a Hamster whose interactions with the other animals who are his friends gently illuminate the meaning of life, the life of the mind, and the nature of friendship.  Naturally, it's translated from the French.

***

Trickster: Native American Tales
edited by Matt Dembicki
Fulcrum Publishing (Consortium) | 9781555917241 | $22.95 | June 2010

More than 20 trickster tales, each retold and illustrated by different Native American storytellers working with selected illustrators.  Here's a sample page from one of the tales, Coyote And The Pebbles.

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Consortium on Facebook & on Twitter.  Their Spring catalog can be downloaded in two parts here: Adult & Kids.