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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reading Is Sexy -- So Be Prepared!

That cute girl at the coffee shop alone in the corner with Margaret Atwood. That attractive guy on the bus immersed between the pages of Jonathan Lethem. It's a known fact that reading makes people sexier. So the next time you grab a book and head out for a little literary fun -- don't forget to bring protection!

Book Soup Matchbook Condom
Price: $2.00

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Adult Film Star Tera Patrick Reveals All!

Find out the whole story behind the woman who was recently inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame (awarded to legends of the adult entertainment industry).

Tera Patrick has made quite a name for herself as one of the hottest Asian adult film stars. Now it's your chance to listen to her tell her own story -- in person!

Swing by Book Soup on Wednesday, January 6, at 7:00pm for what is sure to be the sexiest event in West Hollywood!

(Pre-order a signed copy)

Sinner Takes All
Price: $30.00

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Taschen's Big Book of Magic

There is magic and then there is magic. And Magic has a great deal of cultural luggage attached to it. A series of beautiful documentation and hand painted posters exposing, exploring, and capturing the world of magic.

From card tricks to sawing the lady in half – it’s all here -- and this is where I want to be.

Title: Magic: 1400s-1950s
Price: $200.00

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Vanity Fair of Chicago: The Chicagoan

The University of Chicago Press publishes a book of articles and graphics from a "Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age," The Chicagoan, unearthed by Neil Harris.

Noted historian Neil Harris, while browsing through the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago, found nine plainly bound volumes of The Chicagoan. He quickly realized that it was Chicago's answer to the New Yorker or Vanity Fair. The magazines had wonderful artwork, striking covers, cartoons and diverse articles within. It was first published 16 months after the New Yorker debuted.

The magazine's editorial staff aimed to celebrate Chicago as a cultural center just as rich and essential as New York City, London and Paris.

Certainly, when one looks at this book, at this relic of the Jazz Age, it's a shame that this magazine was unable to continue publishing. And at $45, it's practically a steal.

(Click here to order The Chicagoan)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Abstract Comics!

An anthology from the folks at Fantagraphics Books, the madmen who brought us Hans Rickheit's brilliantly surreal The Squirrel Machine.

What we have here is the work of 43 artists who've combined the abstraction of visual art with the panel continuity of comics. R. Crumbs' Abstract Expressionist Ultra Super Modernistic Comics starts it off with a visual smorgasbord. Even I (no Crumb lover) can appreciate the abstractions he creates. Bill Shut's water color work in Time Lapse Growth is very impressive in its originality. Another stand-out is Mark Staff Brandl's work in Tur Dreh and Shuster in Madrid, which is more painterly. Some of the best work, in my opinion, is Derik Badman's pen & ink-inspired digital panels and Grant Thomas' Splatter Reductos pieces, in which he uses the comic panel to create a zoom effect on various splatter patterns.

This is a great book for the comics enthusiast and visual artist alike.

(Click here to order Abstract Comics: The Anthology)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Own a Piece of Hugh Hefner -- Literally!

For the bunny-lover in your life. This signed limited edition from Taschen features 6 volumes of photographs and classic interviews, a facsimile of the first issue of Playboy from 1953 -- and an actual 7x7cm piece of fabric from one of Hugh's famous silk pajamas actually worn by the man.

Perfect for holing up in your own personal grotto.

(Click here to order a copy of the signed limited edition Playboy)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Paul Dickson Defines "Drunk" for All the Drinkers

A definitive drinker's dictionary with illustrations by Brian Rea...

In the introduction, Dickson claims there are more adjectives for "drunk" than for any other word. Perhaps this is so; but, it is an interesting conceit with which to start a book about the state of drunkenness and its attendant effect on vocabulary. He buttresses his case with a reference to his Guiness Book of World Records record of the most synonyms for a word (2,231 words and phrases for drunkenness). It's been over 26 years, so naturally the list has grown.

Some of My Personal Favorites:

A piece of bread and cheese in the head
Accidentally Horizontal
Materially Altered (courtesy of Punch magazine... awesome!)
Eyes like piss holes in the snow

...and, what might be an all-time great, owing more to the state of drunkenness it describes than the greatness of the word itself:

Swipy ("Swipy" is listed in The Slang Dictionary or The Vulgar Words, Street Phrases and "Fast" Expressions of High and Low Society (London, 1884) as a term for a more intense state of beastliness that comes beyond mild intoxication and before total fuddlement.


A great Holiday gift, to be sure.

(Click here to purchase Drunk)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Squirrel Machine

Hans Rickheit's exceedingly strange but wonderful new graphic novel...

Squirrels. Machines. Weird children. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A blob of a man. A skeleton inside of an egg fed to said man. Sex. Snails. A piano made of pig heads. Singing urinals. A labyrinthine imaginarium that is equal parts fun house and house of horrors. These are just a few of the very odd things that you will find inside Rickheit's The Squirrel Machine.

The story is set in a fictional New England town in the 19th century. It follows the relationship of the Torpor brothers, a truly strange pair, who make music out of elaborately grotesque instruments. But it is also a story about the people who are in their orbit, like the Pig Lady.

Rickheit channels Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton (think Edward Scissorhands and Pee Wee's Big Adventure era) and not a little bit of Henry Selick.

Check out The Squirrel Machine website if you want to acquaint yourself with the graphic novel: http://www.squirrelmachine.org/

(Click here to purchase The Squirrel Machine)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Nancy" by John Stanley

Wow this is something from my childhood past. What's great is having a good memory of Nancy and reading it as a 55-year-old (yet beautifully handsome still) adult and seeing it in new (sort of) eyes. Well, for one, it's totally twisted and surreal strange. Also it is very child-like view of how adults run the world - and the crazy anarchy of childhood and how that plays in that adult world.

There is no really subtext or introduction -- and that is sort of missed. Stanley didn't invent Nancy but during the glory years (50's to 60's) of comic book production he put his stamp on numerous cartoon characters. I have a hunch that he was an interesting character. Nevertheless this book is beautifully designed and it’s really something to look at and hold. A remarkable object on a remarkable character named Nancy and by what I believe written by a remarkable legendary comic book figure -- John Stanley. Dell Comics unite!

(Click here to order a copy of Nancy: Volume 1)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Paolo Ventura on Winter Stories

An imaginative series of photographs depicting scenes from the memory bank of an old circus performer as he looks back on his life...

Ventura has created a mesmerizing blend of his memories of Italy through surrealistic miniature sets and figures.

A man walking on a tight rope... A clown atop a chair with a handful of flowers... A pilot looking at the camera from a painted plane... And one of my favorites: The Balloon Seller, in which the seller is floating skyward from balloons that are either attached to his head or a substitute for it.

Below is a video of Paolo Ventura discussing process:

Paolo Ventura on Winter Stories from Aperture Foundation on Vimeo.

(Click here to purchase Paolo Ventura: Winter Stories)

One Drawing For Every Page of Moby Dick

Call him Matt Kish. Monomaniacal as Ahab, Matt is committing himself to illustrating every single page of Moby Dick.

Here's Ishmael:
And Queequeg:
And Ahab:

And the doomed Pequod:
Matt is currently up to page 98, that means there are 454 drawings left. Only! I'm looking forward to the analytical sections of the book, illustrations of the length of whale jaw bones, gallons of sperm, the girth of the great fish. Kish's choice to use "found" paper is one of my favorite parts of this project. The ball point pen illustration of the Pequod (above) is drawn on a schematic for a VHF tuner. Flipping through his blog you'll see paper found in historical sea-faring texts, children's books, random graphs, long lists of numbers. Combined with his colorful, somewhere between architectural and psychedelic drawings, you get a visual sense both of the depth of this great book, but also of its living, breathing imaginative force.

Enough of my blabbing. Go to the blog!

Do we need another biography on David Bowie? Well, frankly yes! There is one other great biography on Bowie by David Buckley called "Strange Fascination." That one is good because Buckley went out of the way to interview all of Bowie's past and present musicians.

What is totally fab about Marc Spitz's biography is his research on the early teenage and career years of David. He also tracked down Bowie's first major manager and supporter Kenneth Pitt, who gives great insight in the world of 'gay' management at the time as well as what it was like in representing David Bowie in the mid-60's.

For sure he never was he an over-night star. Bowie struggled for fame and fortune for at least ten years before he hit it big with the Ziggy decade. Spitz who is a hardcore Bowie fanatic captures the location or place of Bowie's important years. His writing on West Berlin and Bowie's old London neighborhood is quite fantastic. Reading it I get the presence of these old neighborhoods and how it affected Bowie's art. The great thing about David Bowie is that he was totally inspired by his location and the people around that world in whatever specific time.

Also one gets a better appreciation of Bowie's first wife Angie, which one doesn't get in various biographies or literature. My only complaint, which is very slight, is that Bowie's later years are not as interesting as compared to his career in the 60's. Mostly I think due to the interest of the author who really researched the 60's era Bowie very well and how that was a platform for his much later creative brilliant albums, etc.

In other words this is pretty much an essential book on David Bowie. Read it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy

The Essential Source with 2,000 Authentic Recipes!

MMMMM.... MMMMM.... Good!

This book is an amazing resource for anyone who enjoys great Italian food. Want some Risotto with Clams? You got it! Maybe some Beef Braised in Barolo served with Mashed Potatoes? It's in this book! Perhaps you're a vegetarian or you have some vegetarian friends? No need to worry, La Cucina has you covered with their Sweet-N-Sour Braised Cabbage. And if cabbage isn't your thing, relax a second and consider the possibilities of Vegetable Pie from Valle D'Aosto. Just grab that cast-iron pan and let those veggies simmer 'til they melt in your mouth. Tasty, huh?

Well, you ain't seen nothing yet! There's more! Much more!!! For dessert you might enjoy a Jam-Filled Horseshoe Cookie. Or maybe you're full and you'd like to recline with a Barbajada from Lombardia -- a sweet drink served warm -- created by a Neapolitian theatrical impresario named Barbaja.

This book is out of control.

Inventing L. A.: The Chandlers and Their Times

A Pictorial History of the Chandler Family and Its Role in Creating a Modern Los Angeles

What we have here is Bill Boyarsky's companion piece to Peter Jones' film of the same name (as seen on PBS). Boyarsky is a political columnist for Truthdig.com and blogs for LA Observed, as well as author of Big Daddy: Jesse Unruh and the Art of Power Politics and Los Angeles: City of Dreams.

Inventing L.A. consists of an introduction, six chapters and an epilogue, taking the reader from the times of Harrison Gray Otis "The Pioneer" up until the end of the Chandler Era. A wonderful collection of black and white photographs fill the pages of this book; which, along with the text, makes for a very interesting study of Los Angeles and the Chandlers' place within it.

Boyarsky will be presenting and signing Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and Their Times at Book Soup on Monday, December 7th at 7:00pm.

If you miss the signing, copies will be available in the regional section of the bookstore and online at our website.

(Click here to order a copy of Inventing L.A.)

Art for Baby

High-Conrast Images by Eleven Contemporary Artists to Explore with Your Child

Not a new book, but Art For Baby is definitely an interesting children's title for either your own little reproductive relic or your friend's ever-growing bundle of joy.

Feed their artistic impulses (when they're not pooping or drooling) with art from Paul Morrison, Takashi Murakami, Julian Opie, Damien Hirst and Gary Hume, amongst others.

Jacques Tardi & Jean-Patrick Manchette's great graphic novel West Coast Blues

This is an unber-cool title by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Patrick Manchette -- West Coast Blues. If you are a fan of Jean-Pierre Melville's ultra-magnificent films, you are going to love this graphic novel. Manchette has two novels in English and both are crime books of sorts. The Prone Gunman and 3 To Kill are awesome. And you can add this graphic novel West Coast Blues to the list of greats by this total fab (and late) French author.

What gives Manchette that edge was his interest in Guy Debord/Situationists as well as left-wing politics. That combination plus his interest in crime fiction added a certain specific quality that is lost in most crime novels. Tardi is a well-known graphic novelist and he adopted Manchette's narration with great visuals.

(Click here to order a copy of West Coast Blues)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Oh My God, I'm In Love...

I don't often get this excited about books (ok, that's a lie, I get excited about books all the time), but this may be the most beautiful thing since that Swiss company published a full color reproduction of the book of Kells that cost more than $10,000.

It comes in two volumes: the first is the reproduction, 277 parchment folios recreated in beautiful color, which you could otherwise only see if you went to the French national library, and even then, they probably wouldn't show it to you.

The second volume is a scholarly description of the chronicle, as well as some beautiful enlargements of some of the illustrations.

Even if you don't know someone who would love it, buy it for me, and I'll be your best friend.

(Click here to purchase Mamerot, Les Passages d'Outremer: A Chronicle of the Crusades)

We just got in Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made

A fan's first opening of the Kubrick book set

Words can't express how awesome this Taschen book or should I say 'production.' For those who are into Kubrick this is a must. It's $700, but Amazon is totally out and copies are being sold for $1,134.00. But we have 7 copies in stock for $700!!!!

Here are the visuals:

And here's a documentary put together by Taschen and the Kubrick estate on this masterpiece.

And once this is gone, it's gone folks! Get it now or cry later.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sherman Alexie's War Dances

If you haven't picked up War Dances, you are missing out on one of the most touching, hilarious, thought-provoking collection of stories, poems, and prose released this year.

Alexie stopped by The Colbert Report to explain why his books are only available in physical form.

(Click here to order a copy of War Dances)

Alan Moore has a thing for the erotic...

Not one, but two Alan Moore books dealing with eroticism in 2009!

Alan Moore has never been a writer afraid of confronting taboo subjects in his projects. He takes great delight in serving up graphic material, but never to be simply gratuitous and shocking. Moore sees art in the erotic where many simply can't (religious types) or refuse not to (religious types). He has more in common with, say, a Greek sculptor of the human form in motion and the eroticism of antiquity than a sexual automaton like John Holmes.

The most recent of the two books is 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom. The cover is truly stunning in its color scheme and the mystical symbols it utilizes. Inside Moore presents a basic two-page timeline of erotic freedom, with important dates such as the 5th Century B.C. in which the Greeks create a
catalogue of pornographic renderings, or the 1895 trials of Oscar Wilde.

He then moves onto 'Some Thoughts Concerning Pornography,' which is his point-of-view concerning the subject. Moore shines a non-Christian, non-Abrahamic flashlight on the subject, and it certainly makes for interesting reading. Within, there are also reproductions of a range of sculptures, paintings, books, etc., that should serve as a good basis for further research into erotic studies (if you're so inclined).

The other book is a collaboration between Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie titled Lost Girls, which is a huge graphic novel that tells of Lewis Carroll's Alice, J. M Barrie's Wendy and L. Frank Baum's Dorothy in the time just before World War I, as they are all staying in a Swiss hotel.

You can imagine where Moore will take this, both with the potential menage a trois possibilities, and the subverted retellings of each character's respective fictional worlds. Gebbie's illustrations have the look of crayon or colored pencil, which gives the visual component of Moore's story a very feminine quality that evokes classroom illustrations in a way.

Two very different books that aim to retake pornography and eroticism from modern smut puddlers and holy rollers alike.

(Click here to order 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Who the F*** Is Martin Eisenstadt?

The publisher for I Am Martin Eisenstadt explains:

"In the days after the 2008 presidential election, we heard that Sarah Palin thought Africa was one big country. We heard that the leak came from Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser.

And then, within forty-eight hours, we heard that he was a fraud, a fake, and that Martin Eisenstadt didn't exist.

Maybe he doesn't."

If that doesn't clear things up, then come by Book Soup tonight at 7pm (8818 Sunset Blvd) and meet the man for yourself and ask him if he does, in fact, exist.

(Click here to order a signed edition of I Am Martin Eisenstadt.)


(Visit Martin Eisenstadt's Blog.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood

The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood is a collection of first-person stories about what it means to be a man in America today -- from Pulitzer winners and Poet Laureates to ex-cons, Pro Football Hall of Famers and just regular guys. The authors describe their defining challenges, losses and triumphs through honest and simple truths, and are hoping to spark conversations about what it means to be a good man today.

"Offering essays by Wall Street power brokers, a war photographer and a former inmate at Sing Sing prison, the Good Men essays share a humility, a bracing honesty and a willingness to reveal the male mind-set without trying to defend it," declares The Sacramento Bee.

(Click here to pre-order a signed copy of The Good Men Project)

PRADA the Book

We know PRADA as the designers, and we for sure know PRADA the store, but now in front of me we have PRADA the book. It's an amazing document of a dynamic company. Miuccia Prada along with Patrizio Bertelli edited the book with beautiful book design by Michael Rock and Sung Joong Kim of New York City design firm 2x4.

Within this volume there are 3,885 thumbnail photos of Prada runaway shows since 1987. Also PRADA deals with its culture within their world as well as the "outside" world. As far as we know this book is only being sold in various PRADA shops, but we at Book Soup have (at this time) 8 copies for sale. Only $125! We may get more, but the book is a real hot item.

For those who are fascinated by the world of fashion and style, this book is a must for your library. Buy now or cry later!

(Click here to purchase PRADA)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gary Cox explains 'How to Be an Existentialist'

How to Get Real, Get a Grip and Stop Making Excuses...

For just $19.95 you, too, can become an Existentialist! No need to be nor speak French. No need to smoke cigarettes nor flirt with communism. No need to crash a car to prove a point of meaninglessness, nor proclaim Che Guevara 'the most complete human being of our age.'

Author Gary Cox offers up the in's and out's of Existentialism in humorous doses.

However, Cox nearly blows the proverbial wad on the cover with this explanatory note:

"Existentialists are nihilists because they recognize that life is ultimately absurd and full of terrible, inescapable truths. They are anti-nihilists because they recognize that life does in fact have a meaning: the meaning each person chooses to give his or her own existence. They recognize that each person is free to create themselves and make something worthwhile of themselves by striving against life's difficulties."
A wonderful treasure for philosophers and laypeople alike.

(Click here to purchase How to Be an Existentialist)

Art Cinema

Taschen's new book charts the history of 'Art Cinema'

Cinema's place in art history is a unique one. Films came into this world in the laboratory as a series of photographic experiments, moving very quickly thence to cheap thrills at fairs, nickelodeons and the like, then quickly became a populist entertainment juggernaut through the will of some men with 'horse sense, goddamit! showmanship!' (to quote Jack Lipnick in Barton Fink).

Others, such as the surrealists, attempted to take film into the realm of dreams, discontinuity and symbolism. One might even call Georges Melies a pure art filmmaker, even though his narratives were often popular science fiction.

In the mid-20th century, of course, filmmakers really began experimenting. Stan Brakhage experimented with form (gluing butterfly wings to rolls of film and projecting them); or in Kenneth Anger's case, the supernatural and fetishistic were placed front and center. The experimentation continued by branching out into many different styles and preoccupations.

Beyond the medium of film, artists like Tony Oursler, Nam Jun Paik and Alex Bag took video and elevated it to an art form.

While by no means an exhaustive study, Taschen has managed to assemble a beautiful and educational survey of the more artistic sibling of mainstream cinema.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Soup Book Club presents the NYRB edition of Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio

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

Marcel Duchamp: Etant donnes

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

"A Short History of Cahiers du Cinéma" by Emilie Bickerton

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.

The Ferus Gallery by Kristine McKenna

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