BookCourt BLOG

these just in … 7 July, 2008

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A do-it-Ourselves Guide

by Scott Kellogg & Stacy Pettigrew, illustrated by Juan Martinez

Paperback $16.00

The tools you need to create self-sufficient, ecologically sustainable cities

“A surprisingly effective model for connecting people with dreams to the resources they need.” —Austin Chronicle

With more than half the world’s population now residing—and struggling to survive—in cities, we can no longer afford to think of sustainability as something that applies only to forests and fields. We need sustainable living right where so many of us are: in urban neighborhoods. But how do we do it?

That’s where Toolbox for Sustainable City Living comes in. In 2000 the dynamic Rhizome Collective transformed an abandoned warehouse in Austin, Texas, into a sustainability training center. Here, with their first book, Scott and Stacy, two of Rhizome’s founders, provide city dwellers—those who have never foraged or gardened along with those who dumpster-dive and belong to CSAs—with step-by- step instructions for producing our own food, collecting water, managing waste, reclaiming land, and generating energy. 

With vibrant illustrations created by Juan Martinez of the Beehive Collective and descriptive text based on years of experimentation, Stacy and Scott explain how to build and grow with cheap, salvaged, and recycled materials. More than a how-to manual, Toolbox is packed with accessible and relevant tools to help move our communities from envisioning a sustainable future toward living it.

The Death of Ivan Ilych

by Leo Tolstoy, Translated by Ian Dreiblatt

Paperback $10.00

A new translation of one of the most revered and exquisite novellas ever written: After a simple accident at home, a middle-aged man gradually realizes he’s dying. But is it too late to realize life’s meaning?

Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages

by Ammon Shea

Hardcover $21.95 - 10%

An obsessive word lover’s account of reading the Oxford English Dictionary cover to cover.

“I’m reading the OED so you don’t have to. If you are interested in vocabulary that is both spectacularly useful and beautifully useless, read on…”

So reports Ammon Shea, the tireless, word-obsessed, and more than slightly masochistic author of Reading the OED. The word lover’s Mount Everest, the OED has enthralled logophiles since its initial publication 80 years ago. Weighing in at 137 pounds, it is the dictionary to end all dictionaries.

In 26 chapters filled with sharp wit, sheer delight, and a documentarian’s keen eye, Shea shares his year inside the OED, delivering a hair-pulling, eye-crossing account of reading every word, and revealing the most obscure, hilarious, and wonderful gems he discovers along the way.

Telex from Cuba: A Novel

by Rachel KushnerHardcover $25.00 - 10%

Kushner’s colorful, character-driven debut succinctly captures the essence of life for a gilded circle of American expats in pre-Castro Cuba, chronicling a mélange of philandering spouses, privileged carousers and their rebellious children. K.C. Stites and Everly Lederer are raised among the American industrial strongholds of the United Fruit Company sugar plantation and the Nicaro nickel mines. As adolescents, they are confronted by the complexities of local warfare and backstabbing politics, while their parents remain ignorant of the impending revolution. Meanwhile, in Havana, burlesque dancer Rachel K and her former SS officer companion become entangled in Castro’s revolution. Toward the end of 1957, K.C.’s brother, Del, joins the rebels, and within a month the United Fruit Company’s cane fields are ablaze. Throughout the following year, the attacks on U.S.-operated businesses intensify; political and personal loyalties are shuffled and betrayed; and the violence between the rebels and Batista’s forces escalate. The action, while slowed at times by Kushner’s tendency to revisit plot points from multiple points of view, culminates in a riveting drama. Given the recent Cuba headlines, Kushner’s tale, passionately told and intensively researched, couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

Lost Waterfront: The Decline and Rebirth of Manhattan’s Western Shore

by Shelley Seccombe

Paperback $21.95

For more than a century, the Hudson River piers in Greenwich Village bustled with the maritime commerce that made New York the greatest port in the country. By the 1960s, after years of economic decline, the great waterfront was disappearing. After the West Side Highway was closed in 1973, many of the piers, now abandoned, burned, while others collapsed into the river. By the 1990s, only ghosts were left.Yet there came a moment in time—fifteen years, perhaps—when the decaying piers supported a thriving other life. These ravaged iron structures became the Jones Beach of Manhattan; rotting wooden decks were now stages for musicians, dancers, and acrobats; fishermen trawled for eel and old tires; and the collapsing docks soon created a unique cityscape.In this evocative book, photographer Shelley Seccombe documents 30 years of decay, transformation, and rebirth along the waters of Manhattan’s west side Here are all 68 full color photographs in a unique record of a waterfront long since past—and a vibrant celebration of new city gem, Hudson River Park, opened in 2003. Where once tugs and freighters nosed into gritty docks, today there are green spaces where peoplecome to lie in the sun, listen to water, paddle kayaks, and wonder at the passing vessels. These unforgettable photographs capture a city in change, and the pioneering creation of a new urban space that once again gives the river back to New Yorkers.

Faces in Stone: Architectural Sculpture in New York City

by Robert Arthur King

Hardcover $20.00 - 10%

An architectural impulse book, gift-sized and -priced, for those who love finding unknown corners of New York City. This collection of one hundred architectural details features brief introductions and contextual photographs to show the buildings on which the ornaments appear, the addresses, and transportation information. 322 duotone photographs.

these just in … 26 June, 2008

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican

by Benjamin Blech & Roy Doliner

Hardcover $26.95 - 10%

Five hundred years ago Michelangelo began work on a painting that became one of the most famous pieces of art in the world—the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Every year millions of people come to see Michelangelo’s Sistine ceiling, which is the largest fresco painting on earth in the holiest of Christianity’s chapels; yet there is not one single Christian image in this vast, magnificent artwork.The Sistine Secrets tells the fascinating story of how Michelangelo embedded messages of brotherhood, tolerance, and freethinking in his painting to encourage “fellow travelers” to challenge the repressive Roman Catholic Church of his time.

“Driven by the truths he had come to recognize during his years of study in private nontraditional schooling in Florence, truths rooted in his involvement with Judaic texts as well as Kabbalistic training that conflicted with approved Christian doctrine, Michelangelo needed to find a way to let viewers discern what he truly believed. He could not allow the Church to forever silence his soul. And what the Church would not permit him to communicate openly, he ingeniously found a way to convey to those diligent enough to learn his secret language.”—from the Preface

Blech and Doliner reveal what Michelangelo meant in the angelic representations that brilliantly mocked his papal patron, how he managed to sneak unorthodox heresies into his ostensibly pious portrayals, and how he was able to fulfill his lifelong ambition to bridge the wisdom of science with the strictures of faith. The Sistine Secrets unearths secrets that have remained hidden in plain sight for centuries.

The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order

by Joan Wickersham

Hardcover $25.00 - 10%

When you kill yourself, you kill every memory everyone has of you. You’re saying “I’m gone and you can’t even be sure who it is that’s gone, because you never knew me.” Sixteen years ago, Joan Wickersham’s father shot himself in the head. The father she loved would never have killed himself, and yet he had. His death made a mystery of his entire life. Using an index—that most formal and orderly of structures—Wickersham explores this chaotic and incomprehensible reality. Every bit of family history—marriage, parents, business failures—and every encounter with friends, doctors, and other survivors exposes another facet of elusive truth. Dark, funny, sad, and gripping, at once a philosophical and deeply personal exploration, The Suicide Index is, finally, a daughter’s anguished, loving elegy to her father.

Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China

by Jen Lin-Liu
Hardcover $24.00 - 10%
As a freelance journalist and food writer living in Beijing, Jen Lin-Liu already had a ringside seat for China’s exploding food scene. When she decided to enroll in a local cooking school—held in an unheated classroom with nary a measuring cup in sight—she jumped into the ring herself. In Serve the People, Lin-Liu gives a memorable and mouthwatering cook’s tour of today’s China as she progresses from cooking student to noodle-stall and dumpling-house apprentice to intern at a chic Shanghai restaurant. The characters she meets along the way include poor young men and women streaming in from the provinces in search of a “rice bowl” (living wage), a burgeoning urban middle class hungry for luxury after decades of turmoil and privation, and the mentors who take her in hand in the kitchen and beyond. Together they present an unforgettable slice of contemporary China in the full swing of social and economic transformation.

Gather Up the Fragments: The Andrews Shaker Collection

by Mario S. De Pillis & Christian Goodwillie
Hardcover $75.00 - 10%

Struck by the beauty of every visible object in a Shaker kitchen they chanced to visit in 1923, young Edward Deming Andrews and his wife, Faith Young Andrews, embarked on a collection that became the passion of their lives. During the following decades, at a time when the art and artifacts of the Shakers were considered “low” art and unworthy of collecting or exhibiting, the Andrewses energetically collected objects, studied sources, and eventually mounted exhibits and published books on Shaker culture.

This beautiful book is the first to document their unparalleled collection, presenting some 600 photographs, most never before published. In addition, the book brings to light the extraordinary story of the Andrewses’ collecting and scholarship, their relationships with members of the United Society of Believers (commonly called Shakers) and with important New York City art-world figures of the 1930s, as well as their contributions toward the birth of the field of Shaker Studies. More than passionate collectors, Edward and Faith Andrews were intent on saving a distinct culture, and their accomplishment was to preserve for future generations the most comprehensive body of knowledge ever assembled about the Shakers.

Graphic Thought Facility

by Zoe Ryan
Paperback $16.95

London-based Graphic Thought Facility (GTF) has emerged as one of today’s most progressive and versatile design firms. Established in 1990, it has a reputation for a non-conformist approach to graphic design. The firm’s originality results from its combination of a handmade aesthetic, knowledge of digital technology, and an interest in new materials and production methods.

This handsomely designed and produced catalogue includes photographs and essays that highlight GTF’s most notable projects and commissions, which range from graphic identity to marketing materials to exhibition and catalogue design. Whether providing innovative design materials for the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London,Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Tate Museum, the furniture and interior design store Habitat, or designers such as Ron Arad and Tord Boontje, GTF encourages us to appreciate the visual richness of the world around us.

Jeff Koons

edited by Francesco Bonami
Hardcover $45.00 - 10%
In 1975, a young art student named Jeff Koons moved to Chicago, where he studied at the School of the Art Institute; worked as a studio assistant to his hero, painter Ed Paschke, for $1 an hour; and socialized with many of the city’s most talented artists. This handsome book takes a fresh look at the rise and career of Jeff Koons, who is now arguably one of the world’s most famous artists.Koons collaborated extensively on this book, which accompanies the first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. in 16 years and offers a survey of nearly thirty years of his work, beginning with iconic sculptures from 1979 to new paintings completed in 2007. Francesco Bonami reconsiders his career, making intriguing connections to the work of Andy Warhol, A. A. Milne, Marcel Duchamp, and Gustave Courbet, among others. This is the first publication to explore a little-known but highly influential period in the artist’s career, his time in Chicago in the 1970s. It also provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to Koons’ work for new audiences and short texts about each of his series and many major works.

these just in … 24 June, 2008

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Le Corbusier Le Grand

by The Editors of Phaidon

Hardcover $200.00 - 10%

Le Corbusier Le Grand is an enormous and enormously appealing monograph on one of the greatest and most controversial visionaries of the twentieth century: Le Corbusier (1887-1965). Publisher Phaidon’s super-sized volume features thousands of stunning photographs of the seminal architect, his buildings and plans, writings, and related documents (sketchbooks, personal snapshots, even postcards). With the turn of each page, readers can follow Corbusier’s trajectory from revolutionary young artist and prolific writer to globe-trotting, celebrity-crusader for modern architecture and urban planning. Esteemed architectural historian and Corbusier expert Jean-Louis Cohen provides an elegant introductory essay to this veritable archive of images. We learn that although the Swiss-born Le Corbusier hailed from a small town in a small country under the modest name Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, he was destined for greatness-largely of his own design. A prime mover behind the International Style (perhaps the first truly global architectural-design language), Corbusier brought modern design principles and their promise of improved living standards to the world stage. Futuristic high rise apartment complexes, office towers, highly functional streamlined interiors and furniture made primarily of industrial materials may all be attributed in part to him and his controversial utopian mission to transform our daily lives into a highly functional and beautiful system. Le Corbusier Le Grand is an extravagant, yet essential tome for libraries, those interested in modernism, city planning, and especially those with a really big coffee table.

Iron Fists: Branding the 20th-Century Totalarian State

by Steven Heller

Hardcover $90.00 - 10%

It was just over 60 years ago that Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, two of the world’s most powerfully imposing leaders, died and their regimes crumbled. One of the most illuminating facts about this dark era of history is the way in which these tyrants, and others like them, used graphic design as an instrument of power. But how did these regimes succeed in influencing the minds of millions? It is in the visual language the imagery, the typeface, the color palette that the answers truly take shape.

Phaidon Press is pleased to announce the publication of Iron Fists: Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State by Steven Heller, the first illustrated survey of the propaganda art, graphics, and artifacts created by the totalitarian governments of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the Communist regimes of the USSR and China. The book sets the disturbingly powerful graphic devices in historical context.

The infamous symbols produced by these regimes are recognized universally: the swastika and gothic typography of Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s streamlined Futurist posters and Black Shirt uniforms, the stolid Social Realism of Stalin’s USSR and Mao s Little Red Book. Author Steven Heller, a world-renowned design historian, who has long collected two-and-three-dimensional examples from this period, reveals how these symbols were used in a wide variety of propaganda, from posters, magazines and advertisements to uniforms, flags and figurines.

In addition to using logos and symbols, all of the leaders researched in this book deliberately cultivated certain personal characteristics (Hitler’s mustache, Mussolini’s baldness, Lenin’s goatee, Mao’s smile), in an attempt to transform their corporeal selves into icons. These regime personalities were blanketed across public venues, from monuments to postage stamps. The Nazis, for example, installed an intricate graphic program that featured Hitler s face as a ”logo,” a system remarkably similar to modern corporate identity creations.

By integrating color images of artifacts with archival black and white photographs, Iron Fists offers unique insight into how these regimes were effective in using graphic design to further their causes. In the section on Fascist Italy, for example, there are numerous reproductions of stylized posters, magazines and handbooks designed to excite impressionable youth. Heller then connects this printed propaganda with historic photographs of Italian children dressed as men prepared for battle stoic and serious their small hands clutching guns instead of toys.

Divided into four sections by regime, Heller also explores the color systems (each dictatorship had a distinctive palette), typefaces, and slogans used to both rally and terrorize the populace. In result, he demonstrates how these elements were used to ”sell” the totalitarian message. The first extensively illustrated book on the subject, Iron Fists will have an obvious appeal to graphic designers but will also be an important contribution to the study of the history of the totalitarian state.

Inner Workings: Literary Essays 2000-2005

by J. M. Coetzee, intro by Derek Attridge
Paperback $16.00

In his second volume of literary essays, following Stranger Shores (2001), Nobel laureate Coetzee conducts deep readings primarily of major twentieth-century European and American writers. Cosmopolitan in range and erudite in texture, Coetzee’s biocritical explications delve into the art, times, and humanity of, among others, Italo Svevo, Robert Musil, Paul Celan, Gunter Grass, Graham Greene, and W. G. Sebald. As a South African expat, Coetzee is attuned to literature under pressure as writers write in lands other than home, contending with language gaps and facing a world in violent upheaval. In his American essays, Coetzee brings an unusual perspective to Walt Whitman’s eroticism, Faulkner’s vision of the South, Philip Roth’s Plot against America, and Arthur Miller’s screenplay for The Misfits. In each case, Coetzee tells a story as much as he interprets the work, riding in the slipstream of his subject’s life and writings as he parses matters personal, technical, aesthetic, moral, and political with both subtlety and vigor. Coetzee’s profound fascination with the clarity and mystery of literature reaffirms its significance.

these just in … 4 June, 2008

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Tokyolife: Art and Design

by Ian Luna, Tom Mes, Lauren A. Gould, David G. Imber, Yoshida Mika, intro by Toshiko Mori
Hardcover $75.00 - 10%
Tokyolife is is a lavish, whip-smart insider’s guide to the last few years of cultural production in one of the world’s great centers of creativity, and is organized around the physical city, and the role of the megalopolis itself as both the site and inspiration for an unprecedented explosion in design and the visual arts.
Tokyo and its avant-garde occupy a disproportionate role in the creation of global culture. Represented in this book is the work of over eighty creatives—painters, architects, interior designers, industrial designers, fashion designers, filmmakers and photographers, many highly influential, and some as yet unknown in the West. Announcing a generational transition, the divergent personalities profiled in the book have collectively engineered entirely new ways of seeing, expanding their influence well beyond Japan and into the arts of Asia, Western Europe, and North America.

Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America

by Charles LeerhsenHardcover $26.00 - 10%

A hundred years ago, the most famous athlete in America was a horse. But Dan Patch was more than a sports star; he was a cultural icon in the days before the automobile. Born crippled and unable to stand, he was nearly euthanized. For a while, he pulled the grocer’s wagon in his hometown of Oxford, Indiana. But when he was entered in a race at the county fair, he won — and he kept on winning. Harness racing was the top sport in America at the time, and Dan, a pacer, set the world record for the mile. He eventually lowered the mark by four seconds, an unheard-of achievement that would not be surpassed for decades.

America loved Dan Patch, who, though kind and gentle, seemed to understand that he was a superstar: he acknowledged applause from the grandstands with a nod or two of his majestic head and stopped as if to pose when he saw a camera. He became the first celebrity sports endorser; his name appeared on breakfast cereals, washing machines, cigars, razors, and sleds. At a time when the highest-paid baseball player, Ty Cobb, was making $12,000 a year, Dan Patch was earning over a million dollars.

But even then horse racing attracted hustlers, cheats, and touts. Drivers and owners bet heavily on races, which were often fixed; horses were drugged with whiskey or cocaine, or switched off with “ringers.” Although Dan never lost a race, some of his races were rigged so that large sums of money could change hands. Dan’s original owner was intimidated into selling him, and America’s favorite horse spent the second half of his career touring the country in a plush private railroad car and putting on speed shows for crowds that sometimes exceeded 100,000 people. But the automobile cooled America’s romance with the horse, and by the time he died in 1916, Dan was all but forgotten. His last owner, a Minnesota entrepreneur gone bankrupt, buried him in an unmarked grave. His achievements have faded, but throughout the years, a faithful few kept alive the legend of Dan Patch, and in Crazy Good, Charles Leerhsen travels through their world to bring back to life this fascinating story of triumph and treachery in small-town America and big-city racetracks.

Falling Man: A Novel

by Don DeLillo
Paperback $14.00
From Publishers Weekly
When DeLillo’s novel Players was published in 1977, one of the main characters, Pammy, worked in the newly built World Trade Center. She felt that “the towers didn’t seem permanent. They remained concepts, no less transient for all their bulk than some routine distortion of light.” DeLillo’s new novel begins 24 years later, with Keith Neudecker standing in a New York City street covered with dust, glass shards and blood, holding somebody else’s briefcase, while that intimation of the building’s mortality is realized in a sickening roar behind him. On that day, Keith, one half of a classic DeLillo well-educated married couple, returns to Lianne, from whom he’d separated, and to their young son, Justin. Keith and Lianne know it is Keith’s Lazarus moment, although DeLillo reserves the bravura sequence that describes Keith’s escape from the first tower—as well as the last moments of one of the hijackers, Hammad—until the end of the novel. Reconciliation for Keith and Lianne occurs in a sort of stunned unconsciousness; the two hardly engage in the teasing, ludic interchanges common to couples in other DeLillo novels. Lianne goes through a paranoid period of rage against everything Mideastern; Keith is drawn to another survivor. Lianne’s mother, Nina, roils her 20-year affair with Martin, a German leftist; Keith unhooks from his law practice to become a professional poker player. Justin participates in a child’s game involving binoculars, plane spotting and waiting for a man named “Bill Lawton.” DeLillo’s last novel, Cosmopolis, was a disappointment, all attitude (DeLillo is always a brilliant stager of attitude) and no heart. This novel is a return to DeLillo’s best work. No other writer could encompass 9/11 quite like DeLillo does here, down to the interludes following Hammad as he listens to a man who “was very genius”—Mohammed Atta. The writing has the intricacy and purpose of a wiring diagram. The mores of the after-the-event are represented with no cuteness—save, perhaps, the falling man performance artist. It is as if Players, The Names, Libra, White Noise, Underworld—with their toxic events, secret histories, moral panics—converge, in that day’s narrative of systematic vulnerability, scatter and tentative regrouping.

Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape

by Raja Shehadeh
Paperback $15.00
Raja Shehadeh is a passionate hill walker. He enjoys nothing more than heading out into the countryside that surrounds his home. But in recent years, his hikes have become less than bucolic and sometimes downright dangerous. That is because his home is Ramallah, on the Palestinian West Bank, and the landscape he traverses is now the site of a tense standoff between his fellow Palestinians and settlers newly arrived from Israel.In this original and evocative book, we accompany Raja on six walks taken between 1978 and 2006. The earlier forays are peaceful affairs, allowing our guide to meditate at length on the character of his native land, a terrain of olive trees on terraced hillsides, luxuriant valleys carved by sacred springs, carpets of wild iris and hyacinth and ancient monasteries built more than a thousand years ago. Shehadeh’s love for this magical place saturates his renderings of its history and topography. But latterly, as seemingly endless concrete is poured to build settlements and their surrounding walls, he finds the old trails are now impassable and the countryside he once traversed freely has become contested ground. He is harassed by Israeli border patrols, watches in terror as a young hiking companion picks up an unexploded missile and even, on one occasion when accompanied by his wife, comes under prolonged gunfire.
Amid the many and varied tragedies of the Middle East, the loss of a simple pleasure such as the ability to roam the countryside at will may seem a minor matter. But in Palestinian Walks, Raja Shehadeh’s elegy for his lost footpaths becomes a heartbreaking metaphor for the deprivations of an entire people estranged from their land.

Letterati: An Unauthorized Look at Scrabble

by Paul McCarthy
Paperback $16.95
This guide charts the development of competitive Scrabble in North America and the control of the game exerted by Hasbro, Inc., the holder of the game’s trademark. Through more than a hundred interviews, the evolution of Scrabble from the hustler-populated game rooms of New York City in the 1960s, before the organized game even existed, to the 2004 National Championship, where more than 800 players vied for $89,000 in prize money is detailed. Examining its origins, strategies, changes, and the business behind it all, this is a comprehensive look behind the game of Scrabble.

Black Flies: A Novel

by Shannon Burke
Paperback $14.95
Novelist Shannon Burke earned stunning reviews for his debut book, Safelight, and now he returns with the same minimalist intensity in this arresting follow-up. Black Flies is the story of paramedic Ollie Cross and his first year on the job in mid-’90s New York. It is a ground’s eye view of life on the streets: the shoot-outs, the bad cops, unhinged medics, the hopeless patients, the dark humor in bizarre circumstances, and one medic’s struggle to balance his desire to help against his own growing callousness. It is the story of lives that hang in the balance, and of a single job with a misdiagnosed newborn that sends Cross and his partner into a life-changing struggle between good and evil.


Edited by Alix Lambert, Damon Murray, Stephen Sorrell, Ariana Speyer
Hardcover $45.00 - 10%
How much do criminal acts and their representation in cinema, literature and music really have in common? Is the execution of crime in everyday life as appealing or as inspired as creative artists have made it seem since, say, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Moriarty? Does the film industry continue to learn from the real-life Mafia, or have the imaginings of scriptwriters had their own effect on organized crime? And what experience do these people who mold our perceptions of crime and criminals have of the real thing? This remarkable book is the first to explore our images of crime by interviewing those involved on, in and around all sides of the law, both real and fictional, and often somewhere in between. Through a series of exclusive interviews with artists, authors and actors such as Ben Affleck, David Cronenberg, Elmore Leonard, Viggo Mortensen, Ice-T, David Mamet and Takeshi Kitano, as well as real life bank robbers, gangsters and current prison inmates, editor Alix Lambert (artist, photographer of Russian prisoners’ tattoos and writer for HBO’s Deadwood) explores the gaps and overlaps between real crime and its representation in the arts, each commenting on and assessing the impact of the other.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames

by David Sedaris
Hardcover $25.99 - 10%
Table of Contents:

It’s Catching
Keeping Up
The Understudy
This Old House
Buddy, Can You Spare a Tie?
Road Trips
What I Learned
That’s Amore
The Monster Mash
In the Waiting Room
Solutions to Saturday’s Puzzle
Adult Figures Charging Toward a Concrete Toadstool
Memento Mori
All the Beauty You Will Ever Need
Town and Country
The Man in the Hut
Of Mice and Men
April in Paris
Old Faithful
The Smoking Section

The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City

by Kelly Coyne & Erik Knutzen
Paperback $16.95
The Urban Homestead is the essential handbook for a fast-growing new movement: urbanites are becoming gardeners and farmers. Rejecting both end-times hand wringing and dewy-eyed faith that technology will save us from ourselves, urban homesteaders choose instead to act. By growing their own food and harnessing natural energy, they are planting seeds for the future of our cities.

If you would like to harvest your own vegetables, raise city chickens, or convert to solar energy, this practical, hands-on book is full of step-by-step projects that will get you started homesteading immediately, whether you live in an apartment or a house. It is also a guidebook to the larger movement and will point you to the best books and Internet resources on self-sufficiency topics.

Projects include:

  • How to grow food on a patio or balcony
  • How to clean your house without toxins
  • How to preserve food
  • How to cook with solar energy
  • How to divert your grey water to your garden
  • How to choose the best homestead for you

Written by city dwellers for city dwellers, this illustrated, smartly designed, two-color instruction book proposes a paradigm shift that will improve our lives, our community, and our planet. Authors Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen happily farm in Los Angeles and run the urban homestead blog

The Two Kinds of Decay: A Memoir

by Sarah Manguso
Hardcover $22.00 - 10%
“Here is a beautiful, brave memoir that takes us into the heart of a young woman’s illness, its pains and terrors and mysteries, yet leads us somehow into brightness. For all its clinical precision of the physical, The Two Kinds of Decay is one of the most movingly humane books I have read in a long time; it is a hard-earned vision of life, every word grounded in both body and soul. Sarah Manguso is a brilliantly talented writer, and this is a book not to be missed.”—John Burnham Schwartz“If art can be described as the paths one takes toward some form of compassion, this distilled and luminous book offers us one such a map. An exploration of a body at a particular moment in its history, narrated by an unsparing yet appealing consciousness, The Two Kinds of Decay brings the reader to a place of grace and compassion that is absolutely breathtaking.” —Nick Flynn

“At the white-hot center of this book burns the intelligence and wit of Sarah Manguso, one of the most brilliantly talented writers at work today. She is a clear-eyed visionary, a connoisseur of the penetrating declarative, an unsentimental chronicler of the horrifying insult of illness and of the desires that drive us headlong into adulthood. With a poet’s brevity, with riveting narrative energy, with searing insight and compassion, Manguso leads us into hell and back again; every step of the way, there’s the thrill of knowing we’re in the hands of a new literary master.” —Julie Orringer, author of How to Breathe Underwater

“In The Two Kinds of Decay, Sarah Manguso has miraculously elevated the act of memory.  She has found honesty, fear, longing and beauty in every moment of her young life, giving this book an intensity found nowhere else.  You put it down panting with wonder and grief, but never with pity.  A breakthrough in the memoir, and in writing.” —Andrew Sean Greer

Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It

by Elizabeth Royte
Hardcover $24.99 - 10%
An incisive, intrepid, and habit-changing narrative investigation into the commercialization of our most basic human need: drinking water.
Having already surpassed milk and beer, and second now only to soda, bottled water is on the verge of becoming the most popular beverage in the country. The brands have become so ubiquitous that we’re hardly conscious that Poland Spring and Evian were once real springs, bubbling in remote corners of Maine and France. Only now, with the water industry trading in the billions of dollars, have we begun to question what it is we’re drinking and why.
In this intelligent, eye-opening work of narrative journalism, Elizabeth Royte does for water what Eric Schlosser did for fast food: she finds the people, machines, economies, and cultural trends that bring it from nature to our supermarkets. Along the way, she investigates the questions we must inevitably answer. Who owns our water? What happens when a bottled-water company stakes a claim on your town’s source? Should we have to pay for water? Is the stuff coming from the tap completely safe? And if so, how many chemicals are dumped in to make it potable? What’s the environmental footprint of making, transporting, and disposing of all those plastic bottles?
A riveting chronicle of one of the greatest marketing coups of the twentieth century as well as a powerful environmental wake-up call, Bottlemania is essential reading for anyone who shells out two dollars to quench their daily thirst.

The Garden of Last Days: A Novel

by Andre Dubus III
Hardcover $24.95 - 10%
One early September night in Florida, a stripper brings her daughter to work. April’s usual babysitter is in the hospital, so she decides it’s best to have her three-year-old daughter close by, watching children’s videos in the office, while she works.

Except that April works at the Puma Club for Men. And tonight she has an unusual client, a foreigner both remote and too personal, and free with his money. Lots of it, all cash. His name is Bassam. Meanwhile, another man, AJ, has been thrown out of the club for holding hands with his favorite stripper, and he’s drunk and angry and lonely.

From these explosive elements comes a relentless, raw, searing, passionate, page-turning narrative, a big-hearted and painful novel about sex and parenthood and honor and masculinity. Set in the seamy underside of American life at the moment before the world changed, it juxtaposes lust for domination with hunger for connection, sexual violence with family love. It seizes the reader by the throat with the same psychological tension, depth, and realism that characterized Andre Dubus’s #1 bestseller, House of Sand and Fog—and an even greater sense of the dark and anguished places in the human heart.

McCain’s Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking About Hope

Paperback $11.95

these just in … 22 May, 2008

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Apples: A Novel
by Richard Milward

Paperback $15.00

Apples, an unassuming debut novel plucked from the imagination of a remarkable new twenty-one-year-old talent, and published to rave reviews in London, is a surprising, affecting, ingeniously crafted little coming-of age novel that has critics calling Richard Milward the voice of the MySpace generation.

As a distraction from sleazy male admirers, spiteful classmates, and her mother’s progressing cancer, Eve’s adolescent eyes are opened to a multicolored life of fumbling one-night stands, drug-fuelled clubs, endless varieties of candy-flavored cheap booze, and banal consumerist choices. She barely has time to notice Adam. Adam, however, notices Eve. While contending with sexual frustration, an asshole father, and increasingly compulsive behavior, is Adam too busy furtively reading porn in his bedroom to make his move on Eve?

A paean to the scattershot difficulties of growing up, the complications of friendship, and the consequences of hormones in overdrive, Apples is a deliciously pitch-perfect debut.

Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey
by Chuck Palahniuk

Paperback $13.95

Buster “Rant” Casey just may be the most efficient serial killer of our time. A high school rebel, Rant Casey escapes from his small town home for the big city where he becomes the leader of an urban demolition derby called Party Crashing. Rant Casey will die a spectacular highway death, after which his friends gather the testimony needed to build an oral history of his short, violent life. With hilarity, horror, and blazing insight, Rant is a mind-bending vision of the future, as only Chuck Palahniuk could ever imagine.

Netherland: A Novel
by Joseph O’Neill

Hardcover $23.95 - 10%

In a New York City made phantasmagorical by the events of 9/11, Hans-a banker originally from the Netherlands-finds himself marooned among the strange occupants of the Chelsea Hotel after his English wife and son return to London. Alone and untethered, feeling lost in the country he had come to regard as home, Hans stumbles upon the vibrant New York subculture of cricket, where he revisits his lost childhood and, thanks to a friendship with a charismatic and charming Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon, begins to reconnect with his life and his adopted country. Ramkissoon, a Gatsby-like figure who is part idealist and part operator, introduces Hans to an “other” New York populated by immigrants and strivers of every race and nationality. Hans is alternately seduced and instructed by Chuck’s particular brand of naivete and chutzpah-by his ability to a hold fast to a sense of American and human possibility in which Hans has come to lose faith.

Netherland gives us both a flawlessly drawn picture of a little-known New York and a story of much larger, and brilliantly achieved ambition: the grand strangeness and fading promise of 21st century America from an outsider’s vantage point, and the complicated relationship between the American dream and the particular dreamers. Most immediately, though, it is the story of one man-of a marriage foundering and recuperating in its mystery and ordinariness, of the shallows and depths of male friendship, of mourning and memory. Joseph O’Neill’s prose, in its conscientiousness and beauty, involves us utterly in the struggle for meaning that governs any single life.

A Wild Haruki Chase: Reading Murakami Around the World
by Japan Foundation

Paperback $16.95

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami’s best-selling books, including Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and Kafka on the Shore, have been translated into over forty languages, and his dreamlike prose delights readers across borders and datelines. What lies behind this phenomenal international appeal? The Japan Foundation asked novelists, translators, artists, and critics from around the world to answer this question. A Wild Haruki Chase presents their intriguing findings. Neuroscience, revolution, a secret Chinese connection . . . you’ll never read Murakami the same way again.

Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History
by Ted Sorensen

Hardcover $27.95 - 10%

In January 1953 the newly-elected Senator John F. Kennedy hired a young Nebraskan lawyer named Theodore Sorensen as his legislative assistant. Sorensen quickly rose up the ranks in JFK’s senate office, from research aide to speechwriter to campaigner and advisor, eventually working closely with JFK on his speeches and books, including Profiles in Courage, and encouraging JFK’s interest in the vice presidential nomination. Though JFK’s pursuit of that nomination fell short at the 1956 Democratic Convention, he had emerged as a prominent national figure; and JFK and Sorensen traveled over the next three years to all fifty states exploring his prospects for the presidential nomination in 1960. Upon his election, Kennedy appointed Sorensen as his Special Counsel-a role that allowed him to seve as the President’s own lawyer, speechwriter, and trusted confidante.

Sorensen recounts in thrilling detail his experience advising JFK through some of the most dramatic moments in American history, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, when JFK requested that Sorensen draft a letter to Khrushchev at the most critical point of the world’s first nuclear confrontation. Sorensen was immersed in everything from civil rights to the decision to go to the moon, and he also had a hand in JFK’s most important speeches.

Illuminating, revelatory, and utterly compelling, Counselor is the brilliant long-awaited memoir from a man who shaped the presidency and legacy of JFK as no one else could.

Philosophical Tales
by Martin Cohen, Illustrated by Raul, III Gonzalez

Paperback $19.95

Was Socrates really the saintly figure he became for later philosophy? Why is it doubtful that Descartes ever really uttered, “I think, therefore I am”? And what did Sartre ever have against waiters, anyway? The history of philosophy is filled with great tales - many of them fictions, misrepresentations, falsehoods, lies and fibs. Or are they just misstatements, prevarications, and narratives not entirely based on fact? In the true spirit of a broad philosophical debate, Philosophical Tales dips a toe into the great sea of philosophy to collect, deconstruct, and relate many of history’s great - and not so great - philosophical tales.

Enlightening and entertaining, Philosophical Tales examines a few of the fascinating biographical details of history’s greatest philosophers (alas, mostly men) and highlights their contributions to the field. By applying the true philosophical approach to philosophy itself, the text provides us with a refreshing “alternative history” of philosophy.

But why should someone want to know that Kant rolled himself three times in his sheets each night before sleeping, that Schopenhauer pushed a poor old lady down the stairs, or Marx spent as much time on beer and women as he did in the British Library? By examining the seeming trivialities of philosophers’ lives - and skewering a few cherished myths along the way - Philosophical Tales provides us with illuminating insights that will encourage a more active, critical way of thinking. Blaise Pascal may have put it best when he said, “To make light of philosophy is to be a true philosopher.”
The Last Summer (of You and Me)
by Ann Brashares

Paperback $14.00

Riley and Alice, two sisters now in their twenties, and as fiercely different as they are loyal, have spent every summer at their parents’ modest beach house on New York’s Fire Island. Each year, they return to the house and community they have known since they were children—and to Paul, the boy next door. But this summer marks a season of change: budding love and sexual interest, an illness, and a deep secret force all three to confront the increasing complexities of their lives and friendships.

On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine
by Nicolas Rasmussen

Hardcover $29.95 - 10%

Rasmussen documents America’s eighty year love affair with amphetamine and its various permutations. Monumental in scope and research, the book traces the history of this seductive drugs uses for a myriad of illnesses when the true sickness may be inherent to our unique American society. Given our current extraordinary use of this drug, On Speed is an urgent and necessary read. -Lawrence Diller, M.D., author of Running on Ritalin

Sock Monkey
by Arne Svenson & Ron Warren

Hardcover $19.95

McSweeney’s Issue 27

Plunging straight into the grayish, faintly understood area of the art world that involves oddly drawn objects coupled with uncertainly spelled text, McSweeney’s 27 brings together a previously uncategorized cadre of pithy draftsmen, genius doodlers, and fine-artistic cartoonists, and buffets them with essays examining just what it is that these people are doing and why the world should know about it. With work by Art Spiegelman, David Shrigley, Tucker Nichols, and many others, and stories by a wide variety of excellent writers.

1000 Dogs
by Taschen

Paperback $14.99


Magazine $15.00

Esopus 10 (Spring 2008)
Magazine $10.00

“Untitled, 2008″ (removable insert)

“Untitled, 2008″

Introduction and interview by Scott MacDonald

Letters by Robert Guest

“The Real Story of the Superheroes”

By Lesley Clayton

Interview by Tod Lippy

By Jen Bervin

Introduction by Michelle Elligott

By Angus Trumble

By Berhanu Taffa. Edited by Paul VanDeCarr.