New Publications

The Noblest Roman: A History of the Centaur Types of Bruce Rogers

2016. BCC publication number 236.

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Written by Jerry Kelly and Misha Beletsky.

Bruce Rogers was a towering figure in the history of graphic arts, and remains one of the most important American book designers of the twentieth century. The unrivaled subtlety of his style also sets apart Rogers’s most widespread accomplishment, the Centaur type. This type was born of the late-nineteenth-century quest to create a modern revival of Nicolas Jenson’s humanist roman of 1470, long held by scholars to be both the origin and the apogee of the Venetian roman, and which has inspired designers from William Morris to Robert Slimbach to attempt types based on Jenson’s graceful proportions, elegant spacing, and evenness of color. None of these succeeded like Bruce Rogers’s Centaur, which stands as a perennial classic, as sublime as it is impossible to replicate.

The Noblest Roman: A History of the Centaur Types of Bruce Rogers chronicles every iteration of Centaur, from the original foundry type cast and acquired for the exclusive use by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to the type’s conversion to the Monotype machine involving Stanley Morison, and its ultimate adaptation as a digital face. Set in Jerry Kelly’s recent digital rendering of Rogers’s original foundry Centaur, this engaging narrative is the result of significant new research, and is lushly illustrated with original drawings and proofs from the Monotype archives and the Library of Congress, as well as a tipped-in type specimen letterpress printed from the newly recast foundry.

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Price: $150.00

SOLD OUT: Palatino: The Natural History of a Typeface

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2016. BCC publication number 235.

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Written and designed by poet, linguist, and typographer Robert Bringhurst, Palatino is a definitive account of Hermann Zapf’s most ambitious and enduring design project.

This book provides a detailed and sumptuously illustrated history of the evolution of all members of the Palatino tribe: foundry Palatino, Linotype Palatino, Michelangelo, Sistina, Aldus, Heraklit, Phidias, American Palatino, Enge Aldus, Linofilm Palatino, Zapf Renaissance, PostScript Palatino, Palatino Nova, Aldus Nova, and Palatino Sans. It includes new specimens of the foundry and Linotype faces printed by hand directly from the metal, as well as hundreds of color illustrations documenting the artistry and care expended in creating these components of our typographic heritage.

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Price: $195.00
Out of Stock

Architects and Artists: The Work of Ernest and Esther Born

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2015. BCC publication number 234.

Architects and Artists: The Work of Ernest and Esther Born
by Nicholas Olsberg

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At once a serious contribution to the literature on modern architecture and design and a rich and varied visual feast, this publication makes evident the legendary draftsmanship and graphic inventiveness of Ernest Born and rediscovers the brilliant photographic eye of Esther Born. Drawing from visual collections throughout North America and Europe, the publication is richly illustrated, including many full page reproductions of works from the Borns’ long and varied careers.

Architects and Artists: The Work of Ernest and Esther Born is printed in an edition of 300 numbered copies. Designed by Michi Toki of Toki Design, San Francisco, the book measures 12 x 9 inches and consists of 264 pages. The slipcase and book are bound in cloth over boards.

The price is $325 (plus applicable sales tax and shipping).

Publication date : October 15, 2015.

For more information, please call the Book Club of California at (800) 869-7656 or email


Price: $325.00

Poetry at the Edge: Five Contemporary California Poets


2014. BCC publication number 233.

Featuring poems by Joseph Stroud, Kay Ryan, Gary Young, Martha Ronk, and Michael Hannon

Designed by Carolee Campbell of Ninja Press

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Click here to watch a video of the books being bound by Klaus Rotzscher of Pettingell Bookbindery.

And below, listen to all five poets read from the book, recorded at the Book Club during the Poetry at the Edge publication party, November 17, 2014:

Optional: After the audio has fully loaded (indicated by the white bar), use the cursor to scroll to individual readings, at the below time marks. Each poet is introduced by Carolee Campbell.

0:00′ Introduction by Carolee Campbell
4:35′ Joseph Stroud
10:55′ Kay Ryan
20:45′ Gary Young
26:55′ Martha Ronk
32:45′ Michael Hannon
43:14′ Closing remarks by Publications Committee Chair Roberto Trujillo, and BCC Executive Director Jennifer Sime


Price: $200.00

The Woods Were Never Quiet: Stories by Monique Wentzel


2014. BCC publication number 232.

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Monique Wentzel is a compelling new voice in contemporary fiction and the recipient of a 2012–14 Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. She takes as her subject the people and places of California, revealing a tender, sometimes dark vision of the relationships between them. Set in mostly rural areas in Northern California, along the California-Arizona border, and in the suburbs around the San Francisco Bay, Wentzel’s narratives describe the beauty of this vast landscape as well as the singular, vivid ordinariness of the many lives unfolding within it.

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Price: $110.00

The Sierra Nevada Suite: Thirty-One Wood Engravings by Richard Wagener


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2013. BCC Publication number 231. The Companion Volume to California in Relief: Thirty Wood Engravings by Richard Wagener, The Book Club of California, 2009.

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Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
—John Muir

John Muir reminds us that a life lived without great rocky outcrops and ageless trees as part of one’s native landscape would be a life deprived of one of the greatest resources of the sublime. Richard Wagener’s engravings capture an essential quality of that friendship.

The thirty-one prints in this special edition were hand-engraved on end-grain boxwood and relief-printed by Richard Wagener. The majority have been produced between 2010 and 2013. The present work is a companion volume to California in Relief, published by the Book Club in 2009, and continues a legacy of wide acclaim, ingenuity, and beauty.

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Price: $450.00

Paul Frenzeny’s Chinatown Sketches: An Artist’s Fascination with San Francisco’s Chinese Quarter, 1874-1882

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By Claudine Chalmers. With a Preface by Philip P. Choy.

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Artist Paul Frenzeny, a Frenchman of noble descent, strict military training, and encyclopedic knowledge, became one of the leading “special correspondents” in the United States and Europe in the days when woodcuts, rather than photographs, were used to illustrate newspapers. In 1873, Frenzeny undertook a year-long sketching tour of the frontier for Harper’s Weekly, with fellow artist Jules Tavernier. This 100-sketch assignment proved to be an irresistible subject for author Claudine Chalmers, who then followed the Frenchmen’s careers after their journey’s end on the Pacific Coast. As she patiently gathered Frenzeny’s subsequent illustrations in the Weekly, Dr. Chalmers discovered that he had depicted San Francisco’s Chinese culture in all its pageantry and intensity, at a time when most of the white population, within California and across the country, reviled the pioneering Chinese laborers and repressed them in every way possible. 

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Price: $125.00

William Reagh: A Long Walk Downtown, Photographs of Los Angeles & Southern California, 1936-1991


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This special collection of photographs by the Los Angeles documentary photographer William Reagh examines and showcases his work from the mid-to late twentieth century. The 130 photographs, selected by Patrick Reagh and Michael Dawson, reflect William Reagh’s perspective on urban renewal and change in Los Angeles during the years in which he worked. There are images of Angels Flight, Bunker Hill, Pershing Square, Broadway, Grand Avenue, Hill Street, Wrigley Field, Chavez Ravine, and people, lots and lots of people. Many of the photographs from earlier decades are juxtaposed with photographs from later decades, taken from the same location and vantage point. In these, it becomes clear how dramatically the city changed over the years, and Reagh’s documentation of that change becomes all the more profound. The Book Club of California is proud to offer this chronicle of a city over time, a gift from a photographer with an endlessly fascinated sensibility, for all who should wish to revisit Los Angeles in the future.

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Price: $225.00