I picked up a few gems in Kilkenny yesterday in the excellent Book Centre at the top of High Street (http://www.thebookcentre.ie/). I can easily accept that I'm biased in my judgement (I did work there for three years!), but I always manage to find something new and exciting every time I'm there. Buyer for the company, John Cotter, has always managed to keep his finger very much on the pulse of trends in the industry, and their relatively small size is no hindrance to range.
The two delights I picked up were: 'Monsters: A Bestiary of the Bizarre' by Christopher Dell (9780500238769) and the Fantasy Art Journal (9781908150515).
'Monsters' is a lavish hardback from Thames & Hudson, originally published in 2010. The lime and chocolate-coloured non dust-jacketed cover is decorated (as is the entire volume) with copies of classical engravings, etchings, paintings, and artifacts depicting... you guessed it... monsters. Here be titans, golems, dragons, kelpies, sirens, werewolves, ghosts, demons, and shape-shifters. This bestiary in the classical tradition elucidates the history and mythology of each breed, and there are about three pages of text to every twelve of amazing (and horrifying) imagery from Bosch, Bruegel, Goya, and Durer, as well as more rarefied sources such as a c. 604-561 B.C. terracotta relief from the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and a late 18th century German witch's spellbook. Fans of classical mythology, fantasy writing, and plain old horror will find lots to pore over here, and all for the very reasonable price of £12.95! Anyone familiar with the fascination of vampires, werewolves, devils, and mutants will find a lot to enjoy in this volume.
The Fantasy Art Journal is a beautiful notebook containing a combination of plain, lined, and grid pages, released in 2012 by Ilex Press. Each spread contains quotes from classic fantasy novels or series such as His Dark Materials, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Lord of the Rings, Beowulf, and iconic authors such as Ursula LeGuin, Patrick Rothfuss, Terry Pratchett, C.S. Lewis, and Neil Gaiman. The series also includes a Vampire Journal and a retro romance Lovelorn Journal. I can't wait to write ideas and plans in mine!
'People want to forget the impossible. It makes their world safer.' The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman.
'The hunger of a dragon is slow to wake, but hard to sate.' A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula LeGuin.