A card player faces off against five versions of himself. A young boy poses with a snake around his neck. A woman in devil horns takes the stage. Welcome to the world of Jim Linderman, a collector who specializes in American folk art and ephemera. His new Blurb book, Vintage Photographs of Arcane Americana, shows off such an astounding array of characters and scenes that it’s hard to write this Book of the Week post and not sound like a carnival barker.
Vintage Photographs of Arcane Americana is Linderman’s twelfth book with Blurb. Previous books cover, among other things, pin-up girls, painted backdrops, and religious photos and ephemera. Linderman’s books are not for the feint of heart (or those lacking a sense of humor or adventure). But if you’re the kind of person who’s fascinated by carnival sideshows, or spends hours pouring through boxes of old photos in antique stores, you’ll find a kindred spirit in Linderman.
You can get Linderman’s books in either printed form or as ebooks, the latter priced at $5.99 – making a long strange trip through the delights of folk Americana extremely affordable. You can check out 30 pages of Vintage Photographs of Arcane Americana below (but be advised: Besides card sharps and snakes, you might see a bit of old-time nudity too). Reality TV has nothing on the car wrecks (both literal and figurative) in Linderman’s book.