Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Annotations (no. 3)

"She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita."

(Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, 1955, originally Olympia Press)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Notes from the Library Under the Stairs

Many avid readers and prospective book donors have asked what manner of texts line the Bluebird shelves. The best way to find out, of course, is to get on the bus. But when not traveling, our books are stored in an overflowing library beneath a curving staircase. Tonight we pulled a few selections for those who have not yet caught the tour and need a taste. We hereby offer brief notes on some (but not all) of the genres and titles that represent our style. 

Art and Design

This beautiful catalog from an exhibition of Dada Art and Anti-Art at the Goethe Institut (Munich) includes a fold-out cover and fine-art print insert.

One protean figure explores the mind of another in this interesting biography. The two grand icons of machismo, Picasso and Mailer, are well matched.

Fiction and Poetry

We do have a bit of a thing for Bukowski. Maybe a bit cliché, but it’s honest. We just can’t help it. Factotum is par for the course if you know his style, following the misadventures of a seedy, booze-soaked yet oddly poetic drifter.

Moss was poetry editor of The New Yorker magazine from 1948 until 1987, and it shows in the witty wordplay as this series of vignettes unfolds fictitious scenarios from the lives of literati such as James Joyce, John Donne and Oscar Wilde. Illustrated by Edward Gorey.

Counterculture and Feminist Literature

The classic chronicle of the Ken Kesey's Further bus tour, Wolfe's Acid Test is a wild, sensationalist ride of hysterical realism, with Neal Cassady riding shotgun. We’re saving this one for a special event.

One of our more modern titles, published Summer 2011, this edition of the literary magazine Granta features fiction, memoir and poetry exalting the oft-misappropriated F word: feminism. Quoting from the Observer, "Granta has its face pressed firmly against the window, determined to witness the world."

Unusual Nonfiction

This genre spans a lot of territory. It can be hard to define, encompassing the instructional, the enlightening, and the amusing. Here we find it best to allow you to judge the books by their covers.

Science Fiction and Graphic Novels

We happily embrace the nerd within. Classic Star Trek characters battle alien life-forms in this juicy, full-color illustrated story book.

These often chilling sci-fi stories by the masterful Ray Bradbury weave a portrait of our dystopian future, as in "There Will Come Soft Rains," where an automated house continues to function long after its inhabiting family has been wiped out by nuclear war. 

Exceptional Cookbooks

What, pray tell, is an exceptional cookbook? If you'll pardon a pun, it's certainly not the usual fare. Here again we prefer to let the covers speak for themselves.

Books for Children and Young Adults

Roald Dahl's sweet and silly fantasy is a classic for readers of any age. To quote Mr. Wonka, “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”

The infamous young detective searches for a lost doll and a missing gypsy violinist in this hardcover reprint. Nancy Drew was "a sure shot, an excellent swimmer, expert seamstress, gourmet cook, and a fine bridge player ... She brilliantly played tennis, rode like a cowboy and danced like Ginger Rogers." Now that's what we call a standout role model.