Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From Hilary Knight at Books of Wonder

On November 26, 2011, I obtained signed copies of three books at Books of Wonder in New York City. I've already written at some length about James Gurney's signed book, the reissue of Dinotopia, because I was extremely invigorated by it. Mr. Gurney seems to have understood me very quickly, and by extension he understood better than I did the rationale of this blog, which is after all fairly autobiographical in scope. He managed to do this even without knowing that I write a daily blog, just as he does. You, my reader, as someone who doesn't know me personally--rest assured the people who do know me don't read this blog on principle--can't fully understand how much of me can be found in Attempted Bloggery and how true it is not only to my sense of esthetics, but to my sense of self. Nevertheless, it's pretty accurate to observe , as Mr. Gurney did within a minute or two of meeting me, that I live at the juncture of high art and low art, and I'm pretty comfortable going back and forth between the two, even though I've never located the supposed line that divides them.

But enough about me. The second book I mentioned here was Melissa Sweet's Balloons Over Broadway. I met Ms. Sweet that day at Books of Wonder after I had written a blog post about her smashing new book on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. This is an early example of how writing the blog has led me to do more interesting things and meet some very talented people.

The third and final book I bought that day was Hilary Knight's Nina. I did not have it personalized, which was foolish, since my copy looks no different from all the other copies he signed for the bookstore. When will I learn? Well, actually I now have learned, but no matter. I had attended a book signing by Knight some sixteen years earlier for the reissue of Eloise in Paris and, ironically, I knew enough then to have the books personalized to my children. Now that was really something. Somewhere along the way I've regressed.

Nina's endpapers, as you can see below, do not lend themselves readily to inscription, and the blue marker seems especially unsuited to the task at hand. I think perhaps one of those gold gel markers might have worked better here. Knight has beautiful, effusive handwriting with wonderful flourishes, but it takes more than that to overcome applying a blue marker to blue paper.

Nina, a Toon Book by Hilary Knight

Nina, a Toon Book signed "from Hilary Knight at Books of Wonder"

Note:  My most recent post on the art of Hilary Knight can be found here.


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