Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Crochet envy, and Binnie's new book

I don't remember whether I mentioned my friend Binnie, who lucky for me signed up for two of the same writing courses I did or we'd never have met, has a new book out this fall.  It's a novel inspired by the early vaudeville years of Buster Keaton, and to celebrate, a friend of hers who crochets decided to make her a Buster mascot.

Can you stand it?  You can see the full shot of him over at Binnie's blog, complete with bright red tie.  He's got a handkerchief sticking out of his back pocket, people.  And his hat and vest come off.  I seriously would not be able to write the next book, I'd be so distracted playing with Buster.

Meanwhile, a new book means a book launch, so I got to see Binnie again last week - she lives quite far from me so that doesn't happen much - first for coffee and then in a more populous setting for a reading and book shopping.

At the launch, before reading passages from the book, Binnie gave a talk about vaudeville in general and Buster Keaton specifically.  I've studied vaudeville and early Hollywood quite a bit myself but I hadn't heard the stories she shared, including one about The Cherry Sisters, billed more or less as the most terrible act EVER.  They sang... behind a mesh screen, the better to protect themselves from the rotten fruit and vegetables thrown at them by their adoring audience.  And they kept it up for ten years! The sisters, I mean.  Probably very few of the audience went following them around from one performance to another.

That's ironic knitting placement up there, by the way: you need two hands to read a trade paperback - but it's well worth it.

Obviously I'm biased, but I'm far from alone in saying I absolutely love Binnie's writing style.  Plus: you have got to love the cover.  A good cover means so much to a writer, to say nothing of a reader.  And though I wouldn't in general go on and on about the packaging, I have to tell you that this particular cover is not just hand printed on hand made paper using a custom-made woodblock.  For every single book that's sold.  (I'm not kidding.  Amazing printing is what Gaspereau Press is famous for.)  Nope, the paper that was chosen is tinted ever so slightly lilac, with deep purple/almost black print.  The inside pages are even more luxurious - cream coloured, lightly textured, substantial in your hand.

I mean, if you're going to read a real book, this is the way to go!

I can't think of a more delicious gift than a copy of this baby and some reading chocolates, can you?  Unless maybe there was a Buster doll thrown in, but I don't suppose Binnie's friend is likely to make me one, and I suspect it will be a very long time before I can crochet well enough to make one for myself.  Oh well: I can always give myself a pretty pair of handwarmers - gotta stay warm and cosy while you're curled up with a good book and a box of reading chocs, after all.

That's me for today - hope you're having a wonderful one and I will see you again tomorrow!

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