Thursday, February 2, 2012

Every grain of sand


Do we think this is the sort of book that would still find a publisher in these trying economic times? Not that Taplinger, the publisher of Sandtiquity: Architectural Marvels You Can Build at the Beach, is HarperCollins or something, but still. This is the sort of thing that makes 1980—when a quirky idea and a bad pun could equal a book deal—seem like a lifetime ago. Where are the vampires? The dystopias? The dystopian vampires? Maybe today this would make a decent tumblr. But a tumblr that lands a book deal? Doubtful.

I got this at my local Goodwill a while back, and oddly enough, it's not the first (nor likely the last) sandcastle book I've purchased. There seems to be a genre of sandcastle-building books that I can't help buying despite the ennui with which the prospect of actual sandcastle-building fills me. I realize this bad attitude of mine is becoming a recurring theme—but if I'm lucky enough to be at the beach, why would I build sand ziggurats and sphinxes when I could be (a) swimming in the ocean or (b) lying on a lounge chair rereading Anne McCaffrey novels? Or how about going shelling? Kids enjoy doing that and it's basically the beach equivalent of going to estate sales.

Apparently, authors Connie Simo, Kappy Wells and Malcolm Wells had the opposite issue:

One summer we found ourselves unaccountably tired of tanning, napping, snacking on gritty sandwiches and supervising the kids' bucket sculptures. But we had also outgrown sand mermaids, and soup, drip-constructed castles, and burying each other's legs. Our solution to summer boredom soon became a mania and never failed to draw curious crowds as we gained skill, confidence and ingenuity in bringing vanished civilizations back to life.

To have such problems! I mean, honestly. But I understand "mania." Ahem.

And I admire the artistry and industry of the authors. But if you were planning to actually execute any of their designs, you can get inspired by their photographs but otherwise you're on your own. They're not big on details. This is what they have to say about building one of the seven wonders of the world:
For our version of the Great Wall of China, we made a mound that snaked along the beach following miniature hills and valleys. We added turrets of our design and the roadway on top was inscribed with a popsicle stick. We packed the walls in such a way that the vertical dents suggested masonry.


Note: This is the sort of book I could easily part with on etsy or ebay but at the merest mention of that possibility, the husband, who regularly complains about my book-buying mania, kicks up a fuss. Like, how could I even contemplate getting rid of this treasure?

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