Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sunrise, Sunset Books

First edition 1968, fourth printing, 1970.

Sunset Magazine is what you might call venerable; a lifestyle mag focused primarily on the West, it's been around since the late 19th century. I'm not sure how well it's doing these days. For a time, a few years back at least, I noticed they had prime pockets at the check-out at my local supermarket chain, but I haven't seen a copy in ages. I would thumb through it, hoping their sense of style would be somehow frozen in time (frozen in the 1950s-70s), but alas, why would it be? 

Anyway, there's no reason to bother with the magazine when so many copies of their floppy midcentury guide books and idea books can still be found at garage sales, thrift stores, library sales, etc, at least in this part of the country. I started buying Sunset Books not long after moving into our midcentury ramshackle ranch house and only when I started taking inventory of my piles a few months back did I realize quite how many I had amassed over the past eight years. I've sold almost all of my doubles, triples and quadruples at the etsy shoppe (very pleased to be spreading the Sunset goodness all over the country), but I can't bring myself to get rid of the revisions and later editions of the originals, even though the content is often not that wildly different. 

It's those covers! Just look at how "recreation rooms" evolved into "leisure rooms" and on into "family rooms, dens & studios." The names changed, but the propping didn't necessarily: guitars remain a feature, as do art projects, though painting is replaced by textile art and then the typewriter.  

Second printing of 1974 edition.

First printing, October 1979.

I love the way the kitchen covers progress (or regress, depending on your POV), especially the way the model moms are dressed—I'll take the ’70s cover, thanks! Especially those Bertoia counter chairs. But why are the mom and daughter shooting daggers at one another a la Betty and Sally Draper over a bowl of fruit? When did a mother ever give a kid the stink-eye for helping herself to an apple? Mysterious...

Fourth printing (December 1968) of 1967 edition.

Revised edition, first printing, April 1974.

Sixth printing (June 1980) of 1976 edition.

Even more mysterious is the transformation of the children's craft book covers over just a few years, from primitive illustration (love the dollhouse) to pitiful elephant craft to menacing puppet. But I like it.

Tenth printing February 1970.

Tenth printing February 1973.

Second printing April 1976.

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