Rare Book Monthly
Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2008 Issue
Fall Catalogue for the Oak Knoll Press
By Michael Stillman
The Oak Knoll Press has issued its catalogue for Fall 2008. The Oak Knoll Press, like Oak Knoll Books, specializes in books about books. Naturally, they differ in that the Press prints their own books, rather than selling old copies. Some of their books are reprints of earlier titles; some are new works. Additionally, Oak Knoll Press distributes titles from other specialty printers. The works offered generally cover very specific topics, containing a wealth of information on a very targeted subject. They present information you will not easily find elsewhere. Here are a few of the new titles the Oak Knoll Press is offering this season.
Just released is a title particularly interesting to those who value books in this day of electronic texts: Books as History. The Importance of Books Beyond Their Texts. David Pearson's work focuses on the tangible aspects of books, that quality missing from electronic versions. He considers books as objects of art, looking at features such as their bindings. He then traces the development of these physical qualities through time to create a history of books. Priced at $49.95.
Gore Vidal has been one of America's top novelists, playwrights and historians for... longer than most people can remember. This should not be too surprising as he came from a family with deep political and theatrical backgrounds. Vidal came to the forefront of literature in 1948 with his controversial The City and The Pillar, which openly focused on homosexual themes. He has been writing and speaking on radical and controversial topics ever since. A new bibliography of Vidal's career will be available in January: Gore Vidal A Bibliography. It covers his still ongoing career from the 1940s though June 2008. It requires two volumes to cover all of his works, including foreign language editions, pamphlets, contributions to periodicals, appearances in anthologies, and more. It also references works about him and Vidal's work as an actor. Over a thousand images of his works are provided, both in the book and on an accompanying CD. Author Steven Abbot first met Vidal in 1973, developed a large personal collection of his works, and was granted access by Vidal to his personal library and archives. $175.
Here is a bibliography for those who appreciate the works of Oak Knoll Press: Books About Books. A History and Bibliography of Oak Knoll Press, 1978-2008, by Robert D. Fleck. The Press was started thirty years ago by Bob Fleck, who had opened an antiquarian book business two years earlier. This bibliography includes both a history of Oak Knoll along with a complete bibliography of the 320 books it has published. $45 (hardcover) or $25 (soft cover).
Next is a book which combines sight and sound: Music and the Book Trade from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century, by Robin Myers, Michael Harris, and Giles Mandelbrote. Printed music has frequently been overlooked since its use of musical notation rather than letters makes it atypical for presswork. Additionally, printed music generally traveled through separate distribution paths, being sold mainly by merchants of musical instruments rather than booksellers. The essays contained in this book cover much territory over five centuries of the printed music business. $49.95.
The Oak Knoll Press may be reached at 302-328-7232 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website is www.oakknoll.com.