Monday, November 30, 2009
December 6th Book Soup's Paige Garver will be leading a discussion of Carlo Collodi's 1883 classic Pinocchio.
Collodi's Pinocchio is not your Uncle Walt's tale of a cute puppet setting out on an adventure to become a 'real' boy. No. This tale is full of anarchy, dark Gilliam-esque strangeness, sadistic violence (a hanging, for instance), a ghostly cricket who delights in taunting his murderer, a maimed cat and a fairy with turquoise hair--just a few of the kaleidoscopic story elements that Collodi explodes inside your consciousness.
Imagine a story conceived by Cervantes, obliterated by the surrealists and put back together again by Lewis Carroll. That is the depth of inspired insanity that one finds in Collodi's Pinocchio.
Join us at Book Soup December 6th for a discussion of the book, which will be accompanied by Donut Ice Cream courtesy of Lake Street Creamery!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Incredible images and documentation on Marcel Duchamp's great and his last piece of work "Etant donnes. When everyone thought he was playing chess, Duchamp has been working secretly on his late masterpiece. A work that is still disturbing and frankly shocking.
Violence, eros, and mystery all wrapped in one art work. Yale University did a fantastic job in putting this volume together. There are tons of Duchamp books out there, but this is truly an essential volume. The more one writes about this work, the more mysterious it becomes. Truly unique and one-of-a-kind.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
No, this is not a gossip filled book on one of the most important film journals that's out there in any language. Well, I should say it used to be the most important film magazine in the world. Now it is just another film magazine.
When it first started it was sort of like Punk Rock. Film obsessed French geeks just wanted to breathe in and out of film history, aesthetic, and production of cinema. In a very fast speed and slightly academic manner, we get the early years turning into the May 68 Mao political years - and then afterwards, it sort of becomes just your typical film review magazine. Cahiers du Cinema nevertheless is sort of a symbol of when cinema was important. i say was, because I feel cinema was perhaps the art medium of the 20th Century. It is no longer that important.
In the late 1950’s when America was looking at New York as the art capital of the world, Los Angeles was doing things their own way – for instance The Ferus Gallery. Started by visionary Walter Hopps and artist Ed Keinholtz with Art dealer Irving Blum jumping in the second half of its history, the Ferus was responsible for introducing artists Robert Irwin, Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell and Wallace Berman (I knew him) as well as countless others. And they even had the first solo Andy Warhol exhibition. This book covers the entire history of the Ferus with fantastic text/interviews as well as remarkable photographs of an era that seemed fun, and totally new. Down below Ferus Artists.
Photo by Patricia Faure/Los Angeles 1958
Copyright the Estate of Patricia Faure
This is a stunning book on a subject matter that’s fascinating. In Japan, in both rural and urban areas, a storyteller would travel with a kit that was a miniature stage and within this stage was a series of illustrations telling the visual side of the story. Most were adventure tales that were geared to boys and girls, and the big payoff for the storyteller is that he would sell candy after his reading/performance. What we have here in this remarkable book are the illustrations that go with the stories – and they are both beautiful and somewhat disturbing. Especially the works that focused on World War 2 era propaganda. Amazing Japanese pop culture history laid out in a beautiful design.
As of this writing I haven’t seen the film yet, but looking at the book “The Making of Fantastic Mr. Fox” – this stands alone from the film. I am usually not a fan of “making of ….” Film books, but this one is beautifully designed and is almost an art book (well, published by Rizzoli). Anderson has a fetish attraction to these handmade dolls and various sets that are in the film. And yes it has all the stuff that is usually in a “making of ….” Film book, but the detail work that took place and that is in this book, which is simply awesome and beautiful. For those who love craftsmanship to the highest max!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
A novel in fragments...
Vladimir Nabokov wished this rough draft of his final novel burned. But his heirs have decided otherwise.
The book consists of 138 hand-written index cards reproduced on every other page, with typeset text below. While the literary value isn't as high as his finished work, it is interesting to see the development of fragmented ideas and to imagine how they might have been arranged by Nabakov had he lived to finish the novel.
An exceedingly strange fusion of joint technology and origami artistry. Inside, you'll find, as author Chris Stone so eloquently puts it, 'conversation piece j's.' There's the Spaced Station which has multiple access points along a geometric space hub. The Jumbo was probably inspired by NASA's Columbia spacecraft design, as it looks like it's about to take off into the atmosphere. A circular joint called the Wheel of Fire would seem to be a victim of the law of thermodynamics' entropy. According to Stone, however, it is not only possible but it works well, provided you have enough material to make it a foot long.
The book itself is a hilarious conversation piece. A great gift for a Holiday White Elephant give exchange party.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The Vision Behind the Film
A wonderful book chronicling the genesis and long gestation period of what is undoubtedly one of the finest science fiction films ever created. And created is the operative word here (not directed) because so much collaboration went into the making of this film, that it could hardly be said to be strictly a Kubrick/Spielberg vision.
The source material was, of course, Super Toys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss (a haunting short story), who collaborated on a treatment and screenplay with Kubrick for about 15 years. Much of that time was spent expanding the short story into a larger mythological fairy tale, which involved the absorption of Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio novel (with some of Disney's version) into the narrative. Ideas were also incorporated from Kubrick's collaborations with Ian Watson, Bob Shaw, Sara Maitland and Chris Baker, the comic illustrator whose elaborate storyboards were approved by Kubrick himself and heavily utilized by Spielberg during the filmmaking process.
Artificial Intelligence details this three decade long process of bringing Aldiss' story, by way of Kubrick and Spielberg, to life. Kubrick's notes are even reproduced here--notes which will certainly put to rest, if not all, then certainly most of the misconceptions of the film, and the lazy criticism that followed the film's release.
The book names a number of the pre-eminent artificial intelligence thinkers and their respective writings, which served as an influence for not only Kubrick, but the succession of writers with whom he collaborated.
One final thought: The fact that this book was published eight years after the film's release indicates a growing fascination and appreciation for a film of such thought-provoking layers and complexity, that perhaps one day we'll be able to once again see it in all its glory on the big screen.
Along with William Eggleston, (another) William Klein are my favorite photographers. Both men seem to know the importance of a good book design - and "Rome + Klein" is an exceptionally beautiful object to look at. But beyond that, this book really gives you the flavor of Rome circ. 1954.
Klein was called to Rome to work with Fellini. But due to film business and the way of the world, Klein had time on his hands, so he photographed Rome. And what we have here looks like the visual image of later-day Morrissey songs. Beautiful men and beautiful women doing what they do best - living the Rome life to the max and maybe beyond.
The layout of the book is so Klein. Double paged spreads of crowded street scenes, where your eyes goes from one inch to the other just absorbing the textures and expressions of Rome's citizens. It's very modern and clean. Even though the book was originally released in the 50's, it still seems fresh and chic.
So, yeah the book is iconic, but it also witty and incredibly charming. The book comes in two parts. The photographs and then another smaller volume with text by Klein plus quotations about Rome. I can't imagine anyone not wanting to have this book. I can't imagine life without "Rome + Klein." I can't imagine life without William Klein.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Taschen has published a retrospective of album cover designer Alex Steinwess, who basically pioneered the art form. Steinwess designed thousands of covers for labels like Columbia, London, Decca and Everest, to name a few. He also did design work for film studios, magazines and even disilleries. Inside, you'll find wonderful reproductions of his best work, as well as little known gems. One of the best reproduced covers is that of Columbia Presents Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue, created in 1941 for the Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra featuring Alec Templeton. Or check out the cover of Shostakovitch's Symphony No. 5, which is a concrete-like fist atop a bolt of lighting amidst what appear to be blurred-0ut galaxies or super bright clouds. Then, of course, there's the cover of Daniel De Carlo's One Night of Love, with De Carlo beside an open door, replete with a cartoonish Wolfman mask, beckoning the listener into a room with a table in the background graced with a bottle of champagne. Within, there's also a retrospective of Steinwess' collage work for artists like Dave Drubeck and Guy Lombardo.
A wonderful book, and sure to make a great Holiday present for the music or album cover aficionado.
It all started at the Cabaret Volatire in Zurich, but Dada found its true circulatory center in post-war Paris where the group was able to interact with artists as diverse as Marcel Duchamp, Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie and Guillaume Apollinaire. Even future surrealists like Andre Breton, Philip Soupault and Louis Aragon were in on the inspired chaos. More than that, however, Dada was the natural evolution of Alfred Jarry's writings (Pere Ubu, Days & Nights) and his science of pataphysics.
Sanouillet's original study has been revised and expanded by Anne Sanouillet and published in English by MIT. Dada In Paris is as good a study of the impact of the group as can be found anywhere.
WE CARRY CRITERION DVDS!
Come and get your Fellini, Godard, Jarmusch, and obscure foreign films at Book Soup!
Criterion is the best. And they make beautiful, enviable gifts to others.
Stop in, they are up by the register, waiting for you...
Thursday, November 19, 2009
George Carlin passed away into the godless void last year. But, with Last Words, readers get another chance to peer into the life and mind of perhaps the best comic to have graced the stage. Carlin was, in many ways, the successor to Lenny Bruce (who considered him a protege of sorts). And the argument could be made that Carlin even surpassed his mentor through the sheer breadth of his intellect and the raw power of his routines. Both comics utilized a jazz-like rhythm which came as close to the idea of rap as comics might dare to tread. Whereas as Lenny Bruce is generally acknowledged as a looming influence for all manner of artists, writers and even musicians, Carlin (while certainly beloved) rarely receives the admiration that he surely deserved.
Last Words was a collaboration between Carlin and his longtime friend, English satirist Tony Hendra (Spitting Image, National Lampoon). Hendra, who recently spoke on NPR's Talk of the Nation this week, has certainly created a lasting tribute to the genius that was George Carlin.
To listen to the Hendra interview on NPR, follow this link:
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
In 1944, in Greenwich Village, a young man is murdered, and these two visionaries co-write a book about it. It comes out as a sort of booze-fueled beat noir murder mystery, filled with drugs, art, and gritty genius. You can see their burgeoning talents emerge in this little gem, now in paperback.
Also re-released are two beautiful 50th anniversary editions of NAKED LUNCH and THE DHARMA BUMS......
Get your fill of these beatnik beauties today!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
by Ron Schick, John Rockwell
At 28 I'm not affected by any nostalgia for America and I've never felt any particular affinity for Norman Rockwell's iconic paintings, that said - I'm totally bat shit for this book.
It offers an unprecedented look at a great artists process. It both elevates the works and humanizes the man behind them.
Rockwell was obsessed with the human face, and driven to capture the complexities of the American story. To often marginalized as kitsch, this work exposes a depth to Rockwell's incredible talent and a complexity to the stories he told.
I hope this book helps bring an appreciation of his work to a new generation. It already has for me. - Charles
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
by Scott Schuman
Schuman is one of the few people who can successfully turn their blog into a book. Beautifully photographed, beautiful people, perfectly curated into a catalogue/art object any fashion lover, or novice looking for a little inspiration, can't live without.
There's the small but lovely standard edition but for a gift you can't go wrong with the limited "Bespoke Edition":
~Hard Cover Slipcase Edition
~Limited to 2000
~Signed by the photographer
Monday, November 9, 2009
by James Ellroy
Three hardline right wingers sucked into the morass of the late '60s and early '70s, wrung out and left to hang in the winds of change. The woman who connects them and offers them salvation. The backroom and underworld machinations that claim them and tear them in two.
BLOOD'S A ROVER is the kind of sweeping political epic that's been missing from the American literary scene. No excess sentiment, no sledgehammer patriotism, just heartache and intrigue the likes of which only James Ellroy can weave.
click here to purchase a SIGNED copy of Bloods a Rover
Sunday, November 8, 2009
There are some beautiful new editions of some old favorites, with some snappy new illustrations!
PIPPI LONGSTOCKING BY ASTRID LINDGREN ILLUSTRATED BY LAUREN CHILD!
DON QUIXOTE BY MIGUEL DE CERVANTES ILLUSTRATED BY CHRIS RIDDELL
TREASURE ISLAND BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN LAWRENCE
by Paul Guinan & Anina Bennett
The robot of the 19th century was strange enough everywhere. Our great rough riding President Teddy had him as a partner of sorts, and the old tin machine actually had a battle with Jack Johnson, who at the time was the boxing king.
Lawrence of Arabia also used the first proto-type of what we now know as a robot. It's a fascinating history, which few knew about. History at its best. And not a word of it is true!
Nevertheless it is fully documented with vintage photographs, drawings, maps, and important (I guess) documents. For those who don’t trust history, here’s the ultimate history book! - Tosh
click here to purchase Boilerplate
Saturday, November 7, 2009
I've been waiting for this book since 1996 when very happy customers of this UK restaurant came back to Los Angeles wanting to duplicate Heston Blumenthal's incredible recipes at home. Waiting and waiting and waiting.
click here to purchase the Fat Duck Cookbook
Harper Collins has published a collection of children's book picks from over 100 actors, writers, artists, politicians, and activists. These are the books that made a difference to them, the books that changed their lives.
I asked the employees at Book Soup for their favorite children's books, and these are the books we picked....some will be familiar, some have been forgotten and some are just crazy! Stop on by the children's section and take some of these books home with you...
TOSH - ALICE IN WONDERLAND BY LEWIS CARROLL + THE RED BALLOON BY ALBERT LAMORISSE
MANNY- THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ BY FRANK BAUM
DEVIN-PATRICK BY QUENTIN BLAKE
DEVRI- FERDINAND BY MUNRO LEAF, LILY'S CROSSING BY PATRICIA REILLY GIFF, + MILLIONS OF CATS BY WANDA GAG
RUTH- HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON BY CROCKETT JOHNSON + CURIOUS GEORGE BY HA REY
FAWN- ALICE IN WONDERLAND BY LEWIS CARROLL, THE VELVETEEN RABBIT BY MARGERY WILLIAMS + SWIMMY BY LEO LIONNI
JOSEPH- A FLY WENT BY MIKE MCCLINTOCK + THE ADVENTURE OF TOM SAWYER BY MARK TWAIN
SUE- SNEECHES AND OTHER STORIES BY DR SEUSS
PAIGE- JANE'S BLANKET BY ARTHUR MILLER
JINNY- WALK TWO MOONS BY SHARON CREECH + THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH BY NORTON JUSTER
CHARLES- JUST SO STORIES BY RUDYARD KIPLING
HILARY- STINKY CHEESE MAN AND OTHER FAIRLY STUPID TALES BY JON SCIESZKA, DEAR MILI BY WILHELM GRIMM + JUMANJI BY CHRIS VAN ALLSBERG
RUTH- THE COUNTRY BUNNY AND THE LITTLE GOLDEN SHOES BY DU BOSE HEYWARD
DJ- ALICE IN WONDERLAND BY LEWIS CARROLL, AT THE BACK OF THE NORTH WIND BY GEORGE MACDONALD, + THE BUTTER BATTLE BOOK BY DR SEUSS
JULIA- ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY BY JUDITH VIORST, THE LORAX BY DR SEUSS, + IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN BY MAURICE SENDAK
TAVIS- FROG AND TOAD ALL YEAR BY ARNOLD LOBEL + THE MISSING PIECE BY SHEL SILVERSTEIN
JENNIFER- A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC BY SHEL SILVERSTEIN
HANNA- THE MOOMIN SERIES BY TOV JANSSON
MELISSA- FRECKLE JUICE BY JUDY BLUME + WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE BY MAURICE SENDAK
Friday, November 6, 2009
Come on down to Book Soup to celebrate the first annual National Bookstore Day! It's a great time for us all to get together and express our love and gratitude for the independent bookstores within our communities. Here at Book Soup we have a really wonderful group of loyal customers, as well as a surprisingly large amount of newcomers filtering into the store every day. We would be so delighted to see all of your friendly faces and get a chance to celebrate this lovely day with you. Make tomorrow the day you go by your local bookstore and see what's new!
Our good friends at Skylight Books are also hosting a gathering of several different indie booksellers, including two of our very own! More information here.
A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities
by John M. Carrera
Adorable. Perfect. Historical. Mythological. Beautiful. Informative. Reference? Art?
All of the above and so much more. The whole staff is in love with this perfect little book put together with such obviously love and joy by the good people at Chronicle.
click here to purchase Pictorial Websters