Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bookmarkin'! with Jack Pendarvis

As loyal "blog" readers know, I am an expert on the free bookmarks given out by the great independent bookstores of the United States of America. In fact, we've gotten word that Turnrow Books in Greenwood, Mississippi, plans to include a "blurb" from the "blog" on the next bookmark they produce. As America's foremost bookmark critic, I am pleased to announce a real "find" at Off Square Books. (Off Square Books is just down the block from Square Books. It's where they keep graphic novels, magazines, used books, calendars, and novelty items. For some reason they also have several copies of the fine late-period John Huston film FAT CITY for about six bucks.) Yesterday at Off Square I received, along with my purchase of SHORTCOMINGS by Adrian Tomine (excerpted, like Bechdel's FUN HOME, in THE BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2007), a bookmark made explicitly for Off Square Books. I believe that in the past I have received the regular "Square Books" bookmark there. The new "Off Square" model is longer again by a third than the classic "Square Books" bookmark, making it perfect for the graphic novel format. Nothing against the old version, which is still offered at the main location - in fact, one could hardly conceive of a better companion for a mass market paperback, though it might easily become disoriented and lost in an enormous, unforgiving hardcover by Norman Mailer, Melville, or James Joyce. But the "Off Square" bookmark, while replete with whimsical graphic touches (it works almost as a parody of its more modest and elegant cousin), is a bold, assertive bookmark that can stand up to the weightiest volume. Made of high quality, thick cream-colored paper with emerald print. Four stars.