Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A place among the arts

Vince gave me a book for Christmas, the "Atlas of Remote Islands," by Judith Schlalansky, subtitled "Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot on and Never Will."

According to the colophon, the books was voted the most beautiful German book for 2010, and I believe it; the author not only wrote it, she set the type, drew the maps, and did the book design.

Under the doctrine of fair use, I quote from the entry for Lonely Island:

"Loneliness lies in the center of the Kara Sea in the northern Arctic Ocean. This island is worthy of its name: it is cold and barren, trapped in pack ice all  winter, with  an average annual temperature of -16 degrees; at the height of summer the temperature sometimes rises to just over freezing.

"No one lives there. A former polar observatory has sunk into the snow and abandoned buildings doze in the belly of the bay, facing the narrow spit of land beyond the frozen marsh.

"A prehistoric dragon's skeleton was found here."

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