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David R. Godine Books: Independent Publishing for Over 50 Years

abstract:David R. Godine is that rare person who spends a lifetime building an exquisite list of well crafted books that appeal to the sophisticated reader. David R. Godine Books have been around over 50 years. That he's a native Bostonian gives you some idea of the nature of his eclectic taste in books, I suppose. Reading through the catalogue I see a healthy dose of original fiction and non-fiction of the highest rank, rediscovered masterworks, translations of outstanding world literature, poetry, art, photography, and beautifully designed books for children.

When French author, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2006, I got an email celebrating the fact that he was a Godine author. When I was looking for a book on politics I stumbled on an excellent volume dealing with the topic of rhetoric - in its truest definition as an art form of dialogue and skilled argument vs the pedantic, obfuscating verbal diarrhea slant in which we've all come to view the topic. When I browse the back list of art books and photography I see a collection of classics on regional topics of interest like: The History of the Ocean Racing Yacht, Prints and Collections of the Adirondike Museum, Romantic Gardens: Nature, Art and Landscape Design.

Founded in 1970 Godine's first books were printed on his own presses nearly all letterpress, limited editions printed on high-quality rag or handmade paper. Many of these early volumes are now collector's items. Godine has been awarded numerous publishing awards over the years for his excellence in book production.

"On July 1, 2002, John Martin, the founder and for thirty-six years the publisher of Black Sparrow Press, closed down his shop in Santa Rosa, California. After finding new homes for four of his authors—Charles Bukowski, Paul Bowles, John Fante, and Wyndham Lewis—he entrusted the rest of his backlist to a fellow publisher, David R. Godine. The agreement was simple: Godine would keep Black Sparrow's offerings available to the trade, keep the best-selling titles in print, and keep the house's spirit alive through judicious acquisitions. In short, Black Sparrow Press would be reborn—as Black Sparrow Books at David R. Godine, Publisher."

I invite you to browse their website, sign up for their newsletter and start collecting their exquisite books for your library. They're always at the world book fairs: BEA, Frankfurt, London - a solid and cheery bunch! Congrats on the first 50 guys.


July 25, 2012



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