I’m not the hugest fan of blog giveaways. They frequently seem to require that the reader jump through several blazing hoops, register for this and that, spam their Facebook friends, and all for an advance copy of a tepid-looking paperback that will be on the 2/$1.00 table at the used book store faster than you can say “Nicholas Sparks.”
That’s why this one made me sit up and take notice.
Chronicle Books is running the 2011 Happy Haul-idays Giveaway, with one lucky blogger winning $500 worth of books from the publisher’s impressive collection. Don’t have a blog? All you have to do is comment. That’s it. The winning blog, chosen at random by Chronicle books, will get to award one commenter the same haul of books.
To top it off, the winning blog will also get to award $500 worth of books to a charity, with the charity choosing their own books from the Chronicle catalog. (I’m choosing Prospect Elementary School in Tennessee. The librarian there frequently buys books at the used bookstore where I work to supplement a library with extreme need. She says their shelves are about 90% empty.)
All I have to do is list the books I would spend $500 on, and I’m a fan of book lists. (See the sidebar to the right for some of my most popular lists.)
These are the books I would choose if I win, and I’ve chosen them as a book lover. I have access to plenty of fiction and paperbacks, so the ones I’m drawn to are flat-out lovely books that speak to my interests and would be harder to find or out of my budget.
If you like them too, leave a comment, and if I win, you have a chance to win all the books I’ve chosen.
Bird's Eye Views by John W. Reps and Atlas of Rare City Maps by Melville C. Branch
Etsy craftsman, who does gorgeously irreverent things with vintage maps. Almost 200 maps total with these two volumes. ($70 each)
Once Upon a Time by Amy Weinstein
Old nursery rhymes and fairy tales represent some of the most compelling forms of nostalgia in existence. (And some of the most gruesome. See some of the most disturbing here.) This big, fat book is full of them, plus 325 Victorian illustrations --some with moving parts. ($65)
Ruined buildings have an innate beauty as well as a sadness. Some of the most compelling examples are gathered here in 250 photographs, juxtaposing amusement parks, homes and more in their heyday with photos of them in decay. ($30)
Art Deco Bookbindings by Yves Peyre and H. George Fletcher
What's almost as good as owning lots of beautiful books? Pictures of beautiful books. This book features the work of The Work of Pierre Legrain and Rose Adler, whose Art Deco bindings in exotic materials bound custom editions of works by Colette, Paul Verlaine, Andre Gide and others. ($35)
The Victorians, with their mania for collecting natural history, popularized the aquarium, and this hardcover book documents the obsession --from ornate versions for the home to the first public aquaria. ($25)
Bunker Archaeology by Paul Virilio and Extreme Architecture by Ruth Slavid
Both of these architecture books tie in to my interest in things post-apocalyptic. The first, a collection of photos of abandoned German bunkers in France, takes a look at war and destruction. The second is more hopeful, showing how humans can survive well in the most challenging landscapes (deserts, underwater, outer space). ($40 each)
Fifty Nests and the Birds That Built Them by Sharon Beals
The Book As Art: Artists' Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts by Krystyna Wasserman with essays by Johanna Drucker and Audrey Niffenegger
Collected from more than 800 books in the museum's collection, this heavily-illustrated book focuses on 100 of the most unique handmade book specimens, many of them multi-media, by an array of visual artists. ($35)
Pictorial Webster's: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities by John M. Carrera
Culled from old dictionaries, more than 1,500 Victorian engravings are contained in this book's pages. That's the equivalent of a whole pile of Dover clip art books. "From Acorns to Zebras, Bell Jars to Velocipedes" says Chronicle. ($35)
I don't think it's cheating to include a book that's essentially blank, especially when it's this pretty, and it gives you a place to stash your post cards, therein creating an heirloom unique to you. ($19)
Chronicle Books Tote Bag designed by Julia Rothman
Because we have $3 left to spend, and you have to carry your books in something.
Like these books? Any in particular? Each commenter is eligible to win them too, if Chronicle Books picks me. Every book! Quite a haul.