Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Famicon Express

Published May 25, 2010 by Molly

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Looking for a one-stop shop for all your zine and small-press book needs? Search no further than Famicon Express, which deserves permanent status on the ole’ bookmarks list.

The shop provides a vast selection of comics, special projects books, travel adventures, ghost stories, prints inspired by Grand Theft Auto imagery, and more, all of which are immaculately designed and many of which feature special crafty bonuses (like hand-pulled silkscreen covers or neat stitching).

We’re suckers for crafty bonuses. Who isn’t!?

Alexandra Roucheray

Published May 19, 2010 by Molly

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“Graphic designer” sounds so much cooler in French (”Designer graphique”) and that is one of many reasons why we’re in love with Alexandra Roucheray, whose work is as varied and glorious as her native language.

Explore her books and record designs and manifestos and more here, at her website. Employ a translator if necessary.

Thomas Wellmann

Published April 20, 2010 by Molly

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Wish we knew how to say enthusiastic things in German, but alas! Gotta do it in English. Thomas Wellmann is a comics maestro who recently released Der Ziegensauger, a 100-page comicbook adventure in his signature style. (This is where the “wish-we-could-speak-German” urge kicks in really strongly; for now we’re gonna rely on a heavy visual exegesis plus basic dictionary for our reading strategy.)

Book aside, Wellmann makes nutty/awesome fantasy illustrations and game designs and more. His sketchbook/zine Schulheft is one of our all-time favorites: an intimate, prettily-produced pocket of sketchy joy.

Napa Books

Published April 15, 2010 by Molly

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Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Is there anything more exciting than discovering a promising small press of exacting standards and prolific output? (That’s a rhetorical question.) Napa Press has been publishing art books and graphic novels and hosting flipbook competitions since 1997, and it’s still going strong. Managed by artist Jenni Rope and a gallery board, the press is rooted in a gallery and shop in the heart of Helsinki and supplements its bound output with limited posters and prints by Napa artists.

The creativity stemming from Napa is astounding and never-ending. There are egg-painting parties, illustration exhibitions, animation DVDs, documentary photo books and so much more. Check out the web shop here, or hey! Why not take a stroll past the gallery in Google maps to round out your conception of it?

Books You Might Not Have Read Yet: Fever Chart

Published February 26, 2010 by Molly

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Super dark and fast-paced, Fever Chart is Bill Cotter’s debut novel published (with typically brilliant design niceties) by McSweeney’s. The hero of the novel is Jerome Coe, an off-kilter narrator who jettisons a mental hospital in order to find his merry way through New Orleans, encountering scenes of beauty and grotesquerie as he reveals, piece by piece, the reasons why he might have ended up institutionalized to begin with.

The plot is thick, the sentences are punchy, and the author is a man who previously found employment as a debt collector, toilet scrubber, door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen and book restorer. Imagine the wealth of those experiences distilled into a careening single novel, and you have Fever Chart pretty much pegged. If it didn’t sound so foolish, you could probably classify it as “zany realism”… or something along those lines.

Books You Might Not Have Read Yet: I Remember

Published February 5, 2010 by Molly

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You can often get a fair idea of what a book is like by glancing at the Library of Congress categorizations on the copyright page. In I Remember, a book by the late great artist Joe Brainard, these categories include:

*Childhood and youth
*United States—social life and customs 1945-1970
*Authors
*Biography
*Memory

I Remember isn’t a book in any recognizable sense of the word, though it does come printed on pages and bound with a matte cover. It is composed entirely of sentences that begin with the words “I remember” and form, within those constraints, an appreciable narrative. Excerpt:

I remember “Any little kid could do that”

I remember “Well it may be good but I just don’t understand it.”

I remember “I like the colors.”

I remember “You couldn’t give it to me.”

I remember Bermuda shorts and knee-length socks.

I remember the first time I saw myself in a full-length mirror in Bermuda shorts. I never wore them again.

And so on. Those familiar with Brainard’s work will dig the obtuse (but personal) entry into his thought processes. Those unfamiliar with Brainard’s work will dig it for what it is: a sweet, gnomic account of days long gone.

Books You Might Not Have Read Yet: Dirty Havana Trilogy

Published January 12, 2010 by Molly

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“Being brave and seeking fun in rough conditions” could be the subtitle of Pedro Juan Gutiérrez’s Dirty Havana Trilogy, a novel about a former journalist pulling himself up by the bootstraps in modern-day Havana. In prose that sounds a little like Henry Miller and a little like Charles Bukowski—that is to say, vivid and slightly dirty and always truthful—Gutiérrez records the escapades of his hero chapter by chapter until the power of the stories equals way more than the sum of its parts.

If you’ve ever cocked an eye at a certain Caribbean region of the map and wondered what life is like on that island between Miami and Jamaica, Dirty Havana Trilogy is as close as you can get to visiting without doing anything illegal. Needless to say, the book is banned in its country of origin. Seek it out and count your blessings.

R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis

Published January 11, 2010 by Molly

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Robert Crumb is possibly the only person could take a segment of text that has been translated into *literally* every language and somehow make it fresh. His version of the The Book of Genesis takes its text straight from the King James Version of the Bible and presents it, in Crumb’s words, as “a straight illustration job” with no liberties taken. Thus we get Adam and Eve, Sodom and Gomorrah, Cain and Abel and the rest of the stories covered in the first fifty chapters of the Bible, all fleshed out in classic Crumb form. There are brawny babes, hairy dudes, a wild-eyed God and many excellent depictions of lust, fury, temptation and agony.

Two things makes themselves clear upon paging through the book. One: the subject is perfectly matched to Crumb, whose signature has long been a fascination with both the fiery and foolish elements of human behavior. Two: these are stories that everyone should know, not necessarily as elements of a religious instruction but as damn good yarns in their own right. Like gummy vitamins, Crumb’s Book of Genesis is a delicious way to stuff yourself with vital nutrients.

Adventures in Human Anatomy

Published January 8, 2010 by Molly

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Like the concept of infinity or the size of an XL fountain drink purchased at a movie theater, the human body is one of those entities that provokes thoughts of awe and astonishment whenever one stops to dwell upon it. It’s fortunate, then, that a book exists to satisfy our curiosity about the mechanics and mysteries of human anatomy (with lotsa pictures, naturally).

Human Anatomy: From the Renaissance to the Digital Age covers the history of anatomical illustration over five centuries from Leonardo da Vinci to Vesalius to Bernard Siegfried Albinus to Charles Estienne. It even includes illustrations considered too crazeballs for their own time, including Thomas Eakins’ The Gross Clinic (you can google that one; FYI it is gross.)

If the images are occasionally nauseating (many of them owe their fine detail to cadavers dissected for the purpose of drawing), they’re also never less than immaculately prepared. Nice to know that there were 16th century doctors sawing corpses in half so that we could all know exactly what was inside us, no? Thanks, guys.

Dave Eggers: The Wild Things

Published September 21, 2009 by Molly

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The Wild Things is a book by Dave Eggers adapted from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and based on the screenplay by Eggers and Spike. Got that? Cool.

In typical McSweeney’s fashion, The Wild Things is as much a tactile and visual experience as a literary one. A title silhouette of wolf-suited Max against a burgundy jungle background gives the volume a treasure-box feel, like something you might store beneath your pillow between chapters.

The novel is a cross between a children’s book and a book for adults, and the idea of a novelization originally belonged to Sendak, who suggested it to Eggers. Fittingly, the book is a pleasure to read: tender, colorful, and as richly imagined a work as you’d expect from Eggers. Or Sendak. Or––in this case, in some ways––both!