Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Of Walking In Ice

About two years ago this spring I was in The People's Co-op Bookstore dropping off some used books when I noticed on the shelf behind the front desk the 1980 Tanam edition of Werner Herzog's 1978 book Of Walking In Ice, a lyric diary of the author/filmmaker's November 23 -- December 14, 1974 walk from Munich to Paris to visit his sick friend and fellow filmmaker Lotte Eisner.

Although I had wanted this book since forever, I was not prepared to pay $80 for it, nor even the $65 discounted price I was offered (I serve on the bookstore's board). The only way I would pay so dearly for this book would be to buy it so it could be scanned and reprinted by an outfit like Kay Higgins and Kathy Slade's Publication Studio Vancouver. But when I contacted Tanam, to ask permission to do a "people's reprint", the publisher told me he was already considering a reprint, and that maybe this was the incentive he needed. Then, about a year later, University of Minnesota Press issued their version -- the one I now hold in my hand.

Not sure what it is about books like this and Chatwin's In Patagonia (1978) that hold me like they do. What do these books have in common? Well, for starters, both began as walks recorded in notebooks…

People's Co-op Bookstore is currently closed due to fire. But if you are interested in Of Walking In Ice, Pulp Fiction Books or The Paper Hound might have some in stock. If not, they will surely order it for you.

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