Let me fire some rhetorical questions at you:
- Do you like free books?
- Do you like awesome books?
- Do you like money going to a great charity?
Since your answers were yes, I’ve got some good news for you - Chronicle Books has started their second annual Happy Haul-idays contest! Here’s the gist: Chronicle has asked bloggers to list $500 worth of their titles that they’d like to own. In December, Chronicle will pick a winner from all the entrants. The winner gets the $500 of books. One of the winner’s commenters gets $500 in books. Not only that, but a charity of the blogger’s choice gets $500 of Chronicle books.
Pretty cool, eh?
I’m not usually one for these internet sweepstakes and contests, but the fact is I love Chronicle. They publish some of the best designed books out there, and they have a healthy mix of cooking, crafting, art and pop culture. So, basically, I’m probably overdue writing a post about awesome Chronicle titles anyway. Writing the post and getting a chance to win some books is just a nice bonus.
Now allow me to tell you a story - the story of what I’d do with half a grand in ChronicleBuxx.
If you know me at all, you know that this is where I start. Actually, it’s a smaller chunk than you might expect, since I’ve already bought most of Chronicle’s Star Wars books. I already have The Sounds of Star Wars, Obsessed with Star Wars, Wookie Cookies and Darth Malt.
The holes in my collection (at least in terms of books still in print) are The Art of Star Wars Comics (18.95), The Wildlife of Star Wars (22.95), and How to Speak Wookiee (16.95). They are the geekiest of geeky Star Wars books, but what can I say? They’re like a drug to me.
Running Total: 58.85
Food (and Drink)
Here… here’s the danger zone when picking titles from Chronicle Books. I could easily pick $500 worth of books just from the cookbook department. I’d love to snag a copy of Beer (19.95), which I inexplicably missed the first time around. Eat Like a Man (30.00), Ruhlman’s Twenty (40.00) and Ribs, Chops, Steaks and Wings (19.95) have all been lust objects since they were released earlier this year, and I’d like to add them to my shelf. I couldn’t not want the doughnut-lover’s dream book Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts (16.95), and I’ve wanted Flour (35.00) since wandering past their Cambridge bakery this summer. Round out the cookbooks with the Brews+Books appropriate American Cocktail (19.95), and we’re a good bit closer to the $500 mark.
Running Total: 240.65
Art and Design
Here’s where I stock up on some awesome books that arrived at the store this year that I just couldn’t afford. Rogue Leaders (60.00) not only details the history of Lucasfilm games division Lucasarts, but also sports a super-rad holographic cover. Unsurprisingly, I found a way to fuel my obsession with maps in Paula Scher’s Maps (50.00). Rounding out the arts department is Art of McSweeney’s (45.00), which showcases McSweeney’s award-winning art and has interviews with the likes of Chris Ware and Michael Chabon.
Running Total: 395.65
Make and Do
I’m hoping if I get the books for free, I’ll have money left over to spiff up the old apartment. I’m counting on Stencil 101 (24.95) to cover the walls and ceiling, and DIY Furniture (24.95) to fill the space in between.
Running Total: 445.55
Odds and Ends
I tend to think of gorgeous art, craft and cookbooks when I think of Chronicle, which leaves out some of their great prose and offbeat titles. Batting cleanup are intriguing non-fiction book The Toaster Project (19.95), November Indiebound pick Ghost Wave (24.95), and the ridiculously adorable and surprisingly touching Me Without You (9.95). Three great books, and just enough to put me over the $500 mark.
Final Total: 500.40!
[Note: I'd be happy to kick in the extra .40.]
While it isn’t a library or a reading room, my charity of choice is the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. I’m sure there’s plenty of books in the Chronicle archive that would be of great use to the CBLDF. A non-profit charitable organization that’s been around for decades, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund protects the First Amendment rights of comics creators, publishers, and retailers. I’ve been a bit of a First Amendment wonk since I was in college earning my Political Science degree, and I think the CBLDF is doing truly important work. I’d like to offer the organization support in any way I can, and I’m sure they’d be able to find a good use for $500 worth of Chronicle books.
Of course, part of the fun of the Happy Haul-idays contest is the chance for my readers to win all the books on my wishlist. So, leave a comment and let me know what Chronicle book you’d most like to get! If I win, I’ll get to choose one lucky commenter to receive all 18 titles in this post.