Book Patrol’s Favorite Books of 2014: Part 1 November 30, 2014 – Posted in: Of Interest: Featured Books / Reviews – Tags: Books about Books
2014 was a banner year for the book.
Not only has the ‘death of the book’ mantra been finally put to sleep but the e-book revolution has smoldered and electronic reading begins to settle into its place in the book universe.
In 2014 the well-made book had a strong showing. One of the healthiest by-products of the electronic hysteria has been a greater attention to the production of the book and coupled with the plethora of offerings of books about books, about authors, and about all things bookish makes 2014 one for the books.
The Thing The Book: A Monument to the Book as Object is a magical tribute to our favorite physical object, the printed book.
More than 30 “creative visionaries” were asked to contribute with each being assigned a different traditional element of a book. From endpapers to ribbon bookmarks to page numbers, no part of the codex is left untouched.
Ed Ruscha got the bookplate, Jonathan Lethem got the footnotes, Miranda July got the erratta slip; Lawrence Weiner got the thumb tab; John Baldessari got the epigraph;Rick Moody got the endnotes. You get the drift.
“The forger has but one chance to get it just right”
The Forgers by Bradford Morrow is a bibliomystery soaked in the juices of the antiquarian book trade.
There is plenty here for the bookseller, collector and the mystery crowd. Both Sherlock Holmes and W. B. Yeats have a prominent role and the addiction-like obsession so often associated with hard-core book collecting is expertly portrayed. It is clear Bradford Morrow, himself a former bookseller, has got the book bug.
Published by Mysterious Press.
Burn the Diaries by Moyra Davey and Alison Strayer. Illustrated with photos by Davey.
Comprised of texts from Moyra Davey and Alison Strayer Burn the Diaries is a meditation on the act of writing and much more. Using the works of Jean Genet Davey explores the story of her life in text and photographs. She then shares them with Alison Strayer who responds in kind.
“The act of reading has long been integral to Davey’s work, which is full of images of books; however this is the first time Davey has ever made a book specifically for a gallery installation.”
Published by ICA, University of Pennsylvania/Museum Moderner Kunst /Dancing Foxes Press, 2014.
Writers: Literary Lives in Focus Edited by Goffredo Fofi.
A compilation of 250 photographic portraits of writers. A veritable who’s who of the leading writers and photographers of the 20th century. There’s Auden by Avedon, de Beauvoir by Cartier-Bresson, Duras by Doisneau, Proust by Man Ray, Huxley by Halsman, Apollinaire by Picasso, Raymond Carver by Bob Adelman, Zadie Smith by Eamonn McCabe . . .
This is not only a book of significant photographs for we also get a glimpse of the unique moment of each portrait. Each image is accompanied by text which explains the reason for the choice, recalls the masterpieces of the author, and narrates the story of the image.
The Scribe by Antonio Garrido. Translated by Simon Bruni.
It’s the 8th century and a time where women had about as much status as an animal.
We follow Theresa who thanks to her dad defies all convention. She’s literate, educated and adept at the craft of making parchment. These skills make for a very interesting journey in which the fate of King Charlemagne’s empire hangs in the balance.
Published by Amazon Crossing, 2013.
Bomb: The Author Interviews. Edited by Betsy Sussler. Introduction by Francine Prose. Soho Press, November 2014.
Since 1981 BOMB has been publishing conversations between artists. Collected here are the best from the literary world. These are not your run of the mill author interviews featuring a journalist throwing canned questions at a writer, these are conversations between writers and delve into the essence of creativity. Pairings include Martin Amis and Patrick McGrath Roberto Bolano and Carmen Boullosa, Junot Diaz and Edwidge Danticat, Jennifer Egan and Heidi Juilavits, among others. An amazing compilation of writers talking writing and essential reading for any admirer of contemporary literature.
Jane Austen’s Country Life by Deirdre Le Faye
A beautifully produced and illustrated book that delves into Austen’s surroundings which played a prominent part in her life, her letter and her novels.
If you are a fan of Jane Austen this book’s focus on her environment will provide significant context for her work.
Cocktails for Book Lovers by Tessa Smith McGovern
Collection of 50 original and classic cocktail recipes based on works by famous authors and popular drinks of their era. From Charlotte Bronte to Junot Diaz there should be something in here that will make you go yum. Published by sourcebooks. Buy
Goodnight June by Sarah Jio
Goodnight Moon is an American classic, holding a special place on the bookshelves of infants and toddlers all across the country. In Goodnight June Jio takes us on a heartfelt fictional journey of discovery as we find out just what was the inspiration for Margaret Wise Brown’s “great green room.”
Set in Seattle, the novel focuses on the relationship of Margret Wise Brown and the aunt of the main character June Anderson, a woman named Ruby who owns Bluebird Books. When Ruby dies she leaves the bookstore to June and the tale begins to unravel. Fun read with good books about books and Seattle juice.
Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory: The Complete Story of Willy Wonka, the Golden Ticket, and Roald Dahl’s Most Famous Creation by Lucy Mangan. Foreword by Sophie Dahl. Puffin Books, 2014.
Looking for a nice way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Inside Charlies’s Chocolate Factory provides a in-depth look at the life of this classic. From its publishing history to the history of its illustrators to the movie adaptations to the overall impact the book has had on our culture the book will surely add a sprinkle to Dahl cannon. Who knew that the book was originally published in America and not the UK or that Maurice Sendak was supposed to be the original illustrator but was too busy working on a book called Where The Wild Things Are or that rumors where abound that the NAACP would picket the movie theaters showing the 1971 film version because they were troubled by the title of the book for, at that time, ‘chocolate’ was a derogatory term for black people and that ‘Charlie’ was hipster slang for white people.
First Edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Coming soon: Book Patrol’s Favorite Books of 2014, Part 2