"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

-2007 Brive-la-Gaillarde Reader’s Prize
-2007 French Booksellers Association Prize
-2007 Rotary International Prize (France)
-2007 French Librarians’ Prize for Culture

Vogue: "A new book that plumbs the astonishing ways private lives and guarded secrets can come tumbling – for better or worse – into the open."

Publishers Weekly: "By turns very funny (particularly in Paloma's sections) and heartbreaking . . . [Barbery's] simple plot and sudden denouement add up to a great deal more than the sum of their parts."

L'express (France): "The ultimate celebration of every person’s invisible part (RenĂ©e smells of cabbage soup but reads Husserl) constitutes one of the book’s operative factors."

Elle (Italy): "this second novel by Muriel Barbery, thirty-eight-year-old French author and professor of Philosophy, is among the most exhilarating and extraordinary novels in recent years."

Le Monde: "Fifty-five weeks after it release, Muriel Barbery’s novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog is still on all of the country’s bestseller lists..."

Repubblica (Italy): "The formula that made more than half a million readers in France fall in love with The Elegance of the Hedgehog has, among other ingredients: intelligent humor, fine sentiments, [and] an excellent literary and philosophical backdrop"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Angaza Afrika: African Art Now by Chris Spring

Angaza Afrika is an incredible catalogue of contemporary work from not only Africa, but the Black Atlantic as well. There are countless artists of all medium’s represented here. Check this out:

Africa's artistic landscape is immensely fertile. It has emerged from its colonial past, and is once again asserting its own identity. It is not only confined to the continent itself, but has spread throughout the world through the work of both those descended from the enforced migrations of the slave trade and also those who have more recently left their homes in Africa to take their place on an international stage. This book brings together more than 60 of Africas most creative contemporary artists. Drawn from across the African continent as well as from Europe, North America, the Caribbean and South America, the book illustrates the diversity and vitality of these artists. Their work leaps off the page with more than 350 colour images (many especially commissioned). In addition to painters, sculptors and photographers, there are a number of artists whose work embraces performance and installation. Many of the materials they use are as unorthodox as their imagery, with ready-made and found objects.

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard"

Richard Brody's very long critical biography on one of the great film artists of the 20th Century is both thoughtful, damning (in a sense) and also provocative. I don't fully buy his theory that all the films he made in the 60's was about Godard's relationship with wife/muse Anna Karina. I think it is partly true, but it's for sure not the whole picture of the man and his work. But a big part...?

i really enjoyed the part of the book that deals with Godard's later years. It seems he consistently bites the hand that feeds him. Yet, he did so in a very brilliant way or technique. He put it in his films. However after reading this book, I feel Godard maybe one of the great memoir writers on film. Which means to me that he writes or films what he's thinking about life at the moment. He sees the medium of cinema as a self-reflective tool as well as how one sees history.

And it's the last part which gets him cranky with respect to the issue of the Concentration camps of World War 2 and how it isn't portrayed in the cinematic form to his understanding or liking. In a sense he feels let down by cinema by not either exposing the condition of the camps or commenting on them. i see Godard's point of view and I think it's an original thought. Ardono says that there can't be poetry after the camps, yet Godard (I think) feels that its an area that needs to be explored. i think one of his fears is something like that happening again - and how will the media/cinema deal with it?

But that is only one issue in many issues that are daily observations on an unique artist who sees the world in a very specific way - and in such a way consistently challenges himself to question such a world and his part in that world as well.

So if you are a Godard fan read it. If not, but care about the nature of cinema and what it means to you - still read it

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rosa Brogden's book of photographs "Metamorphosis"

Every once in awhile I come upon something so unique and unforgettable, that it’s hard for me to come to terms with it. At the moment I am obsessing over Rosa Brogden’s book of photographs “Metamorphosis.”

Rosa is a Japanese artist/photographer who lives in London and has a child named “Oscar.”

A small boy that may not be unique in turn-of-the-century London, but in 2008 is a force of nature that really stands out (side) in contemporary London. Even though there are no outside location shots, or even a mention of contemporary London, it seems to be a world that is shut out. And I love that.

I am a huge fan of Joris-Karl Huysmans’s book “Against Nature” (A rebours) and I think of it when I look at Rosa’s photographs. It’s a world that is totally artificial and woman-made. A very dandified environment where the outside world is closed off.

But what you do get is a very rich world with two very unique and wonderful figures. In “Metamorphosis” there are only portraits of her son Oscar and self-portraits of the artist. It’s a mixture of early 20th Century vaudeville and life that is thought out and lived.

One can think of contemporary photographer Cindy Sherman, but this is something more personal and therefore more urgent and live. It’s one of the few new books that came out this year that has a strong positive affect on me.

All photographs © by Rosa Brogden.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rin Tanaka's Harley-Davidson Book of Fashions

Rin Tanaka's at it again!

The publisher of the MyFreedamn! books has released an incredible new book of Harley-Davidson Fashion. Commissioned by the Harley-Davidson Museum, Rin raided their archives to produce THE definitive catalogue of all things Harley from 1910-1950.

312 pages filled with 600+ old fashion photos of Harley riders, motorcycle jackets, kidney boots, and hats.

A must own for every Harley-Davidson fan and fashionista.

visit: www.myfreedamn.com for more details
or call Book Soup - 310.659.3110

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ernest Borgnine Event Photos

Ernest Borgnine signs "Ernie"- Saturday, August 2nd

Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

At once hilarious and heartbreaking, Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, is a look at pre-World War II idle classes of England. These are the Paris Hilton's and Kim Kardashian's of their day, the men and women who have all the money and all the time in the world, who go to glamorous parties, get photographed and scooped by the Daily Mail, and who have no idea that the party is going to end with a blitz that will change their lives forever. It is a tale of love, romance, tragedy and ultimately triumph, but one that takes those cliches and makes them new. Waugh is the great writer of his time and this is one of his best; it is still as relevant today as it ever was.