A Tango with Ataturk

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk brought many things to Turkey as he pulled it out of the Ottoman Age and into the modern world: an alphabet, a secular government, freedom from capricious and oppressive religious rule, and a solid sense of patriotism in the land where Europe and Asia meet.

He also brought tango.

A Tango with Ataturk, based on a story about a 1926 reception that Ataturk hosted as his nascent country's new leader, imagines what happens from the perspective of a female tango dancer that night, and how everything can feel so right and so wrong.

Edition of 10, 2008, sold out
7 x 4 1/4 x 1/4 inches, 8 pps inside cloth-covered box
letterpress printed
ISBN: 978-0-9670264-2-8

Passing through the Vandercook proof press four times, A Tango with Ataturk was printed using wood and metal type as well as pressure printing (the detail above shows the shoe shapes used in old-fashioned dance diagrams; these shapes do their own dance through the pages of A Tango with Ataturk). The book is "bound" in a box covered in bookcloth the color of the Turkish flag.

Here's a view of the colophon and wood type.

An excerpt from A Tango with Ataturk:

“Ataturk's arm sweeps toward the glinting dance floor as a smile angles up toward those dramatic brows, a pair of inverted v’s. There are only six of us here who tango — maybe the only people in all of new Turkey who can.
“We women face our partners, our hair and ankles naked, ready for the transcendental power of the dance. We will help destroy another taboo.”

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Two Lives

A family history combines essays and biographies with reminiscences, a gatefold of images, and pockets for four CDs and DVDs. It all comes tightly packaged, sewn inside boards and a cloth spine and topped with a letterpress cover.

Edition of 50, 2010, nfs
5 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 5/8 inches, 36 pps

A view of the cover

Compartments hold various digital media.

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Beijing Heart: A Tiananmen Story

Larry Hanbrook, an American teacher working in Taiwan, was volunteering in Beijing's Tiananmen Square and documented the tensions leading up to the night of June 3, 1989, when the tanks came rumbling.

To mark the ten-year anniversary of the democracy movement in Tiananmen, Ma Nao Books published Larry Hanbrook’s eyewitness account of the final days of the student occupation and the logistics and sensibilities of the young revolutionaries.

Edition of 100, 1999, sold out
8 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 1/4 inches, 22 pps
paper, silk thread, indigo cover
ISBN: 978-0-9670264-0-4

Through sharply observed vignettes — and an unusual layout design that highlights the words of square activists in pullquotes — Beijing Heart delineates the political and personal pressures that weighed on the students and their supporters.

Along with the traditional hand-sewn xian zhuang binding of silk thread and indigo cover, Beijing Heart features three photographic illustrations hand-printed by an experimental image-transfer process and a drawn map of the square, all of which provide visual counterpoint to Hanbrook’s account of camping with the students, workers, and Hong Kong activists until the military crackdown.

Readers say:

“a beautiful and affecting artist’s book” – Scripps College Bulletin

“exquisite” – Mike Miner, Chicago Reader

“The story, the photographs, the binding, the commitment and heart: the book is so honest and true.” – Judy Harvey Sahak, librarian

For more about the making of Beijing Heart, see the articles in The Oregonian and the Scripps College Bulletin, in the Press section.

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The first major editioned work produced by Ma Nao Books, the address books sold out within a month. They feature reinforced cloth corners; rubber-stamped pages; a hand-sewn binding; cover papers from Japan, India, and Italy; and pages that take 0.0 seconds to load.

Durable, handsome, and comfortably scaled, the address book may be reissued due to customer demand.

Edition of 50, 1997, sold out
4 3/8 x 4 1/2 x 3/8 inches, 32 pps
Japanese Masa unwaxed paper, buckram cloth

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Stylish, long-lasting, and highly functional, the portfolio protects special papers and photographs in two three-sided inside pockets, between covers bound in international papers and cloth and featuring a Chinese bone clasp at the foredge.

Edition of 50, 1999, sold out
12 1/2 x 10 1/4 x 1/4 inches

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The perpetual calendar showcases the walnut-inked lettering of calligrapher Yancey Yarmuth on cream Frankfurt paper, all hand-sewn inside boards covered in vintage bookcloth and international papers, including Ume Yuzen from Japan and kilim from India (the model shown features a one-off cover of a Polaroid image transfer).

Edition of 50, 1998, sold out
10 3/4 x 7 1/2 x 3/8 inches, 16 pps

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Wild Spaces: A Journal of Uncharted Thoughts explores Kantian ideals in nature with pronouncements printed letterpress on topographic maps, which were then mounted on mat board. The pages stack in a painted pine box.

Edition of 7, 1989, nfs
9 x 9 x 2 1/4 inches, 8 pps

Wild Spaces takes readers through a literary hike that begins with the simple “Go climb a mountain,” traverses rocky philosophical terrain, and ends with “Rejoice that there is mystery left in the world.”

Juxtaposed against some of the West’s most formidable mountains, clean lines of letterpress type also show their topography as the carved lead presses three-dimensional shapes into paper.

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