2004 Holiday Selections
Broadway: The American Musical, by Michael Kantor and Laurence Maslon (Bulfinch Press, 470 pages, $60), celebrates a uniquely American art form in a comprehensive, richly illustrated production that has been released in conjunction with a six-part series that recently aired on PBS.
Oscar Night: 75 Years of Hollywood Parties, by the editors of Vanity Fair, edited by Graydon Carter and David Friend, afterword by Dominick Dunne (Alfred A. Knopf, 384 pages, $75), is a splashy tribute to the Academy Awards, presented in an over-sized tome that goes heavy on un-posed, spontaneous photos, a tasty treat for film buffs.
By contrast, Twentieth Century Fox: Inside the Photo Archive, preface by Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopoulos, foreword by Martin Scorsese (Harry N. Abrams, 242 pages, $50), is an evocative selection of behind-the-scenes studio shots and unit stills from the archives of one of the world’s legendary studios.
Presenting Celia Cruz, by Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte; Clarkson Potter (152 pages, $45 hardcover, $24.95 trade paper), is a visual feast for the millions of admirers of the Cuban-born Queen of Salsa who won five Grammys and two Latin Grammys during a career that spanned 50 years. This pictorial tribute includes numerous essays dedicated to the legendary diva who died last year at 78, all presented in both English and Spanish.
For those who appreciate the history and preparation of food? and their adherents number in the millions—a must addition to their shelves is The Art of Cooking: The First Modern Cookery Book, by the Eminent Maestro Martino of Como the first "celebrity chef," we learn), translation of the original fifteenth-century Italian text and introduction by Jeremy Parzen, with recipes modernized by Stefania Barzini (University of California Press, 208 pages, $29.95).
Just as off-beat, but no less fascinating for the energetic at heart, is Bicycle, by David V. Herlihy (Yale University Press, 470 pages, $35),an erudite chronicle of the centuries-old obsession humans have had to travel by means of self-locomotion. Fully researched and impressively documented, the narrative is authoritative, but carries its scholarship with a light touch, and boasts period illustrations that everyone will enjoy.
Who among us does not love what were once known as the "funny pages" in our newspapers? The Comics Before 1945, by Brian Walker (Harry N. Abrams, 336 pages with 575 illustrations, $50), a companion volume to The Comics Since 1945, reproduces a wealth of rare artwork, much of it from private collections that has not been seen publicly in decades, making for a superb survey of an often overlooked artform.
Dream Palaces: The Last Royal Courts of Europe, by Jerome Coignard, photographs by Marc Walter (Vendome Press, 288 pages, $65), is one of the most interesting architectural books of the season, a panoramic introduction to the extraordinary "cottages" built and maintained throughout Europe in the nineteenth century by royal and imperial families, Nicholas I of Russia, Napoleon III of France, and Empress Elizabeth of Austria among them.
The black-and-white film image continues to resonate among photography purists, with several notable collections just released that are sure to please:
Ansel Adams: Trees, photographs by Ansel Adams (1902-1984), with selected writings by John Muir, Robinson Jeffers, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others (Bulfinch Press, 104 pages, $50), focuses on a theme close to the great California photographer?s heart, trees in all their glory, with fifty tri-tone images newly printed from the original negatives.
Many Are Called (Yale University Press, 208 pages, $40), by Walker Evans (1903-1975), with an introduction by James Agee (1909-1955), gathers candid photographs taken of passengers on the New York subway system between during the late 1930s while Evans and Agee were working on their other collaboration, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which has become a landmark; this lesser-known effort has been out of print for years.
All the Mighty World: The Photographs of Roger Fenton, 1852-1860 (Yale University Press, 290 pages, $65), is the catalog of a major exhibition that will tour the country early next year of one of photography’s first super-stars, Roger Fenton (1819-1869), an Englishman whose eclectic images in the earliest years of the medium were regarded as legitimate works of art; this beautifully packaged volume includes 90 images and nine superb essays.
Those with a special passion for history will want to take a close look at Panorama of the Classical World (Getty Publications, 368 pages, $50), an impressive analysis of the Greek, Roman, and Etruscan contributions to Western civilization by Nigel Spivey and Michael Squire that draws on the latest scholarship and reproduces more than 500 illustrations.
For the past twenty-two years the Library of America has been embarked on an inspired mission to place the cornerstones of our literary heritage in print, and to keep them there in authoritative editions that are both affordable to own and beautiful to behold. More than 150 volumes have been issued in the series to date, with this year marking the first release of what can legitimately be described as a coffee-table book, one that boasts energetic text and beautiful illustrations.
American Writers at Home (Library of America/Vendome Press, 224 pages, $50), by J. D. McClatchy, and photographs by Erica Lennard), pays tribute to the places that have nurtured the creative process, coast to coast, border to border. Where America’s authors slept, where they ate, to be sure, are there, but most importantly, where the wellsprings of creativity flowed so copiously are pictured in abundance.
James Joyce’s Dublin: A Topographical Guide to the Dublin of ‘Ulysses,’ by Ian Gunn and Clive Hart (Thames and Hudson Inc., 160 pages, with 121 illustrations, $45), allows readers to trace, step by step and place by place, the meanderings about Dublin on June 16, 1904 (Bloomsday), of Leopold Bloom and dozens of other characters in James Joyce’s landmark novel of the twentieth century.
A new edition of The Silmarillion, by J.R.R Tolkien (Houghton Mifflin, 386 pages, $35), the Middle-earth saga that pits the forces of good against the forces of evil, edited by Christopher Tolkien, the late author’s son, features 45 newly commissioned paintings by Ted Nasmith; aficionados will be tempted to frame and hang on the wall a fold-out map that is tipped in the back cover.