Mas Libros: An Idiosyncratic & Annotated Listing of Recently Received Books

5 Nov

My Library —shelves #16 & 17 (so to speak) photo: Robert Birnbaum

My Library —shelves #16 & 17 (so to speak)
photo: Robert Birnbaum

So many books and so little time is, of course, a cliche in the archipelago of literary journalism. The challenge,if one chooses to accept it, is to render useful snapshots and surveys of the dense thicket of books real ink and paper books that spring up hither and dither— a challenge that aspire to accomplish on occasion. In the mean time I think it may be useful to exhibit the range of alluring books that one humble reader (me) receives (for which I can never thank enough, the nice publishers that endow me with great literary gems and riches). As I have done on occasion, what follows is a list of books that the stalwart USPS, UPS and Fedex peeps who have braved the howling and whining of my hound Beny , have delivered:

Stay by Jennifer MIchael  Hecht

Stay by Jennifer MIchael Hecht

Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It by Jennifer Michael Hecht (Yale University Press)

Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning by Elizabeth Partridge (Chronicle Books)

Dorthea Lange was a wonderful and dedicated artist and we are well served to be reminded of her with this attractive monograph. By the way, Marisa Silver wrote a novel Mary Coin, based on Lange

A People’s Art History of the United States: 250 Years of Activist Art and Artists Working in Social Justice Movements… by Nicolas Lampert (The New Press)

American Mirror by Deborah Solomon

American Mirror by Deborah Solomon

American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell by Deborah Solomon (Doubleday)

The Last Banquet by Jonathan Grimwood(Europa Editions)

Comic Genius: Portraits of Funny People by Matt Hoyle, Mel Brooks (Chronicle Books)

The Chronicle of Jazz: Year-by-year, the Personalities, the Stories, the Innovations Behind This Century’s Most Exciting Music by Mervyn Cooke (Thames & Hudson)

Identical by Scott Turow(Grand Central Publishing)

Best Selling attorney-turned-novelist Turow returns to a 25 yeaar old case to bring it closure

At Night We Walk in Circles: A Novel by Daniel Alarcon(Riverhead)

Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese Hardcover by Stephanie Stiavetti,Garrett McCord (Little, Brown and Company)

Who does like Mac and Cheese? Who knew there could be so many iterations?

The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan (Random House)

There are a spate of inestimable tomes on the Great War/The War to End All Wars by well-regarded historians, among them Canadian historian MacMillan.

The Dissertation: Tinieblas Book Two by R. M. Koster(Overlook)

The New York Review Abroad edited by Robert B. Silvers

The New York Review Abroad edited by Robert B. Silvers

The New York Review Abroad: Fifty Years of International Reportage edited by Robert B. Silvers(New York Review Books)

This anthology starts out with a shrewdly observed report by Mary McCarthy of her trip to Vietnam in 1968. The thirty odd reports, essays and musings are not bad either.

Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition Benjamin Griffin (Editor), Ms. Harriet E. Smith (Editor), Victor Fischer (Editor), Michael Barry Frank (Editor)

Critical Mass: Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades, and Hurrahs by James Wolcott (Doubleday)

I used to find Vanity Fair columnist James Wolcott interesting. But not as much as my buddy Billy Giraldi. Maybe he can convince you. Maybe not.

Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football by Rich Cohen( Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Besides providing championship starved Chicago sports fans with thrills and a winner,Bears coach Mike Ditka gave Saturday Night Live lots of material to use

The Siege: 68 Hours Inside the Taj Hotel by Cathy Scott-Clark , Adrian Levy (Penguin Books)

Testimony, A Tribute to Charlie Parker: by Yusef Komunyakaa

Testimony, A Tribute to Charlie Parker:
by Yusef Komunyakaa

Testimony, A Tribute to Charlie Parker: With New and Selected Jazz Poemsby Yusef Komunyakaa with Sandy Evans (Wesleyan University Press)

Stanley Crouch’s new biography of the great American musician Charlie Parker has the alto saxophonist known as ‘Bird’ back on the cultural menu. I’d rather read Yusef Komunyakaa’s sense and feel for Parker.

Manana Means Heavenby Tim Z. Hernandez(University of Arizona Press)

Blackfoot Redemption: A Blood Indian’s Story of Murder, Confinement, and Imperfect Justice by William E. Farr (University of Oklahoma Press)

Robert Duncan: The Collected Later Poems and Plays by Robert Duncan & Peter Quartermain,Editor (University of California Press)

American Adversaries: West and Copley in a Transatlantic World by Emily Ballew Neff , Kaylin H. Weber, Janet Berlo(Museum Fine Arts Houston)

Actors Anonymous by James Franco (Little A / New Harvest)

Really? More Franco? Does he have body doubles, dopplegangers, shadow emperors who are creating the bosy of work attributed to Franco. I loved him in the Gary Sneygart book trailer.

Bernard Berenson  by Rachel Cohen

Bernard Berenson by Rachel Cohen

Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade by Rachel Cohen (Yale University Press)

<
Rachel Cohen wrote one of my favorite books A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists (1854-1967).She has now turned her erudition and scholarship to a biography of acceptable length on the legendary art appraiser and aesthete Bernard Berenson. Me, I am not understanding the fascination with Berenson.

em>A Colossal Wreck: A Road Trip Through Political Scandal, Corruption, And American Culture by Alexander Cockburn(Verso)

Alexander Cockburn was among a handful of brave and relentless radical commentators (Hitchens, Zinn, Chomsky, Ehrenreich) worth reading. A fine anthology of his writing.

Local Souls by Allan Gurganus

Local Souls by Allan Gurganus

Local Souls by Allan Gurganus (Liveright)

At three different times since the waning days of the 20th century I have had splendid conversations with Allan Gurganus. In what totals about four hours, we talked about his books and more. This volume of 3 novellas is his newest opus and worth the wait. Look for may most recent chat with Gurganus to be published soon.

Days of God: The Revolution in Iran and Its Consequences by James Buchan Simon & Schuster

Breakfast with Lucian: The Astounding Life and Outrageous Times of Britain’s Great Modern Painter by Geordie Greig (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore(Knopf)

Judging from her New Yorker articles, Lepore is a better historian than journalist.Here she trains her scholarship on Ben Franklin’s worthy spouse.

Rising Tide: Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Dixie’s Last Quarter by Randy Roberts & Ed Krzemienski (Twelve)

Fallen Land: A Novel by Patrick Flanery (Riverhead)

Fighting for the Press by James Goodale

Fighting for the Press by James Goodale

Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles by James Goodale ( CUNY Journalism Press)

A Chance to Win: Boyhood, Baseball, and the Struggle for Redemption in the Inner City by Jonathan Schuppe (Henry Holt and Co.)

Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers and Rebels by Alissa Quart(The New Press)

The Modern Art Cookbook by Mary Ann Caws

The Modern Art Cookbook by Mary Ann Caws

The Modern Art Cookbookby Mary Ann Caws(Reaktion Books)

Repast: Dining Out at the Dawn of the New American Century, 1900-1910 by Michael Lesy & Lisa Stoffer( W. W. Norton & Company)

Micheal Lesy‘s body of work since he published Wisconsin Death Trip has been original and far flung Every thing he has published is well worth a look

The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen(Little, Brown and Company)

 Hugh Hefner's Playboy by Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner’s Playboy by Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner’s Playboy by Hugh Marston Hefner (Taschen)

Imagine six slip cased hard cover volumes of Playboy—an embarassment of riches for some body. Me,I only read the fiction and interviews. Hah!

The Metamorphoses of Fat: A History of Obesity by Georges Vigarello, translated by C. Jon Delogu(Columbia University Press)

The Tilted World: A Novelby Tom Franklin, Beth Ann Fennelly(William Morrow)

Tom Franklin collaborates iwth his poet wife Beth Ann Fennelly to create a narrative around the mostly ignored, not so famous 1927 flood.

The Guy Davenport Readerby Guy Davenport(Counterpoint)

Davenport was a brilliant writer and a paradigm of erudition—Erik Reese recalls

The Man Who Saws Us in Half:Poemsby Ron Houchin(LSU Press)

Susan Sontag Essays edited by David Rieff

Susan Sontag Essays edited by David Rieff

Susan Sontag Essays of the 60’s & 70’s by Susan Sontag, David Rieff,Editor (Library of America)

Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Editionby Jane Austen, Patricia Meyer Spacks, Editor(Belknap Press)

Solo by WIlliam Boyd (Harper Collins)

I have never read an Ian FLeming novel but I have reads some of William Boyd’s. I am sure Boyd has been faithful to the Bond mystique but I wasn’t impressed. 007 fans will no doubt be thrilled…

The Prime Grill Cookbook by David Kolotkin  and Joey Alleham

The Prime Grill Cookbook by David Kolotkin and Joey Alleham

The Prime Grill Cookbook David Kolotkin (Pelican Publishing)

Kosher grilling recipes—what’s not to loke

Currently reading Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster)

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