Category Archives: Books

Travel & Photography: “Amalfi Coast” – “Pinnacle Of The Italian Dream” (Assouline, April 2020)

Amalfi Coast by Carlos Souza and Charlene Shorto Assouline April 2020The Amalfi Coast is the pinnacle of the Italian dream. Tucked amongst the lemon blossoms and the bougainvillea is a line of thirteen towns that comprise the Amalfi Coast. Known for its vertical landscape, the villages are only accessible via the Strada Statale 163 — a narrow, winding, cliffside route that while unsettling to traverse, offers unparalleled views.

This magical strip joins the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea below and aesthetes from around the world flock here year after year to enjoy its quaint pebbled beaches, scenic hikes, perfect climate and legendary establishments, which are not limited to storied hotels and restaurants.

Amalfi Coast by Carlos Souza and Charlene Shorto Assouline 2020

Landmarks from the Cathedral in Amalfi to Villa Rufolo in Ravello, all evoke the culture and the spirit of bygone centuries, and landmarks enjoyed by the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy, John Steinbeck, and Gore Vidal abound. With its signature limoncello, both grown and enjoyed locally, finest villas and breathtaking vistas, the Amalfi Coast is in a class of its own.

Carlos Souza is a global brand ambassador for Valentino and a contributor at Architectural Digest with over forty years of experience in the art and fashion world. His photography career began at the request of Andy Warhol, who asked him to shoot fashion shows for Interview. He has previously worked with Assouline on #Carlos’s Places (2014) and Comporta Bliss (2018).

Charlene Shorto was born in Recife, Brazil, and educated in Switzerland and Great Britain. She is wed to Carlos Souza and has two sons, Sean and Anthony. The family moved to Rome, where Charlene worked tirelessly under the fashion designer Valentino, eventually ascending to the position of director of Oliver by Valentino. Shorto also collaborated with Souza on Comporta Bliss (2018).

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Interviews: “Courtyard Living” Author Charmaine Chan – “Domestic Solitude Solution” (Podcast)

Monocle on Design PodcastCharmaine Chan, design editor for ‘South China Morning Post’ believes that courtyards offer an excellent urban solution to domestic solitude. She explains how they can be hubs of community and calm.

Courtyard Living Charmaine ChanCourtyards have long played an important function in residential design, regulating light, shade, and the use of space. With thousands of years of tradition as inspiration, contemporary architects are now realizing courtyard living afresh. This lavish survey of twenty-five residences across the Asia-Pacific region features homes from Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, India, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka.

Structured by courtyard function, the book’s five chapters—on privacy; multigenerational living; sightlines; light and ventilation; and living with nature—are richly illustrated with photography and architectural illustrations showing courtyard positions within floor plans.

Showcasing the unique lifestyle opportunities afforded by contemporary courtyard design, this is an inspirational resource for anyone interested in indoor-outdoor living.

Charmaine Chan is Design Editor at the South China Morning Post. She began her journalism career in Sydney, pursued it in Tokyo and moved to Hong Kong in 1997 to join the Post. Her writing focuses on design and architecture in Asia.

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Travel & History Books: “Great Camps Of The Adirondacks” – Gorgeous Updated 2nd Edition (2020)

The foremost guide to the historic camps of the Adirondacks―a unique vernacular style of rustic architecture designed to complement the land. Now available in a Great Camps of the Adirondacks Harvey H Kaiser 2020second and enlarged edition, here is the foremost guide to the historic camps within America’s spectacular forest preserve, the six million acre Adirondack Park.

When first published in 1982, Great Camps of the Adirondacks launched a campaign for the preservation of these architectural treasures while also sparking a trend in great camp-inspired home design, a cohesive approach to building that author Harvey H. Kaiser named Adirondack Rustic Style.

Great Camps of the Adirondacks - Harvey Kaiser 2020

In this second edition, preservationists will find a success story. Designers and builders will discover page after page of inspiration. All readers will see the history of a region unfold as Americans from the mid-1870s to the late-1930s, including the very wealthiest New Yorkers, sought out the wilderness. The camps they built as private seasonal retreats are distinguished both as architectural responses to the Adirondack environment in the use of logs and stone, and as successful examples of buildings blended into the forest and the natural contours of the mountains and lakes―homes built to serve as beautiful complements to the land itself.

Harvey H. Kaiser served as the Senior Vice President for Facilities Administration and University Architect at Syracuse University between 1972 and 1995. His 1982 book Great Camps of the Adirondacks popularized the term “Great Camps” to refer to the grand summer residences that wealthy families built in the Adirondack Mountains in the nineteenth century, and revitalized interest in these sites. Several studies on western national park architecture culminated in his 2008 book The National Park Architecture Sourcebook.


Steven Engelhart is the executive director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) located in Keeseville, New York. AARCH is a private, nonprofit. historic preservation organization for New York State’s Adirondack Park, whose mission is to promote better public understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the region’s architecture, communities, and historic sites.

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Interviews: 66-Year Old American Author Erik Larson On Writing “The Splendid And The Vile”

Erik Larson, #1 New York Times bestselling author, shares his writing process.

In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. 

Erik Larson Books

Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” to whom he turns in the hardest moments.

Erik Larson is the author of eight books, six of which became New York Times bestsellers. His latest books, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, both hit no. 1 on the list soon after launch. His saga of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, The Devil in the White City, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and won an Edgar Award for fact-crime writing; it lingered on various Times bestseller lists for the better part of a decade.

Top New Books: “The Art Of Earth Architecture – Past, Present, Future” (Mar 2020)

The Art of Earth Architecture Past, Present, Future Jean Dethier March 2020The Art of Earth Architecture demonstrates the wide-ranging applications and sustainability of this building material, while presenting a manifesto for its ecological significance. Featuring raw-earth masterpieces, monumental structures, and little known works, the book includes the temples and palaces of Mesopotamia, the Great Wall of China, large-scale urban developments in Tenochtitlan in Mexico, the medinas of Morocco, and housing in Marrakech and Bogota.

For almost ten thousand years, unbaked earth has been used to build remarkable structures, from simple dwellings to palaces, temples, and fortresses both grand and durable. Jean Dethier spent fifty years researching this landmark global survey, which spans five continents and 250 sites.

This definitive reference features many UNESCO World Heritage sites and contains essays on the historical, technical, and cultural aspects of raw-earth construction from twenty experts in the field, as well as hundreds of photographs, illustrations, and architectural drawings.

The Art of Earth Architecture Past, Present, Future Jean Dethier March 2020

Jean Dethier has dedicated his life to the research, safeguarding, and development of earth structures around the world. Dethier worked at the Centre Pompidou as a curator of influential architectural exhibits for thirty years. Winner of the prestigious Grand Prix national de l’architecture, he sat on the jury of the 2016 Terra Award, the first international prize for contemporary earthen structures.

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New Art Books: “Edward Hopper: A New Perspective on Landscape” (April 2020)

Edward Hopper A New Perspective on Landscape April 2020Edward Hopper’s world-famous, instantly recognizable paintings articulate an idiosyncratic view of modern life, unfolding in a world of lonely lighthouses, gas stations, movie theaters, bars and hotel rooms. With his impressive subjects, independent pictorial vocabulary and virtuoso play of colors, Hopper’s work continues to this day to color our memory and imaginary of the United States in the first half of the 20th century.

A fresh look at Hopper’s iconic vision of the American landscape—its gas stations, diners and highways.

Hopper began his career as an illustrator and became famous around the globe for his Edward Hopper Landscape Paintingsoil paintings. These paintings testify to the artist’s great interest in the effects of color and his mastery in depicting light and shadow, at work whether the artist was painting alienated figures in dreamlike interiors or desolate American landscapes.

Edward Hopper: A New Perspective on Landscape is published to accompany a major exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler of Hopper’s iconic images of the vast American landscape. The catalog gathers together paintings, watercolors and drawings made by the artist between the 1910s and the 1960s, and supplements them with essays by Erika Doss, David Lubin and Katharina Rüppell, focused on the subject of depicting the landscape.

Edward Hopper (1882–1967) was the master of American Realism. His paintings captured the mood and atmosphere of his era. His style of painting and subject matter became the stylistic foundation for a distinct type of American modernism. A source of inspiration for countless painters, photographers and filmmakers, Hopper’s body of work continues to be influential to this day.

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Literature: A Reading Of “Letters Of John Keats To His Family And Friends” – “Inside His Brilliant Mind”

Letters of John Keats to His Family and Friends by John KEATS (1795 – 1821) and Sidney COLVIN (1845 – 1927)

Read by: Nemo and Eva Davis

Chapters: 00:00:00  – 00 – Preface 00:21:11 – 01 – Letter 1 – to Charles Cowden Clarke 00:22:21 – 02 – Letter 2 – to Benjamin Robert Haydon 00:24:06 – 03 – Letter 3 – to Benjamin Robert Haydon 00:25:00 – 04 – Letter 4 – to Charles Cowden Clarke 00:26:57 – 05 – Letter 5 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 00:28:25 – 06 – Letter 6 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 00:29:52 – 07 – Letter 7 – to George and Thomas Keats 00:34:17 – 08 – Letter 8 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 00:42:14 – 09 – Letter 9 – to Leigh Hunt 00:50:13 – 10 – Letter 10 – to Benjamin Robert Haydon 01:00:31 – 11 – Letter 11 – to Messrs. Taylor and Hessey 01:03:50 – 12 – Letter 12 – to Messrs. Taylor and Hessey 01:06:07 – 13 – Letter 13 – to Mariane and Jane Reynolds 01:10:34 – 14 – Letter 14 – to Fanny Keats 01:18:27 – 15 – Letter 15 – to Jane Reynolds 01:26:44 – 16 – Letter 16 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 01:34:49 – 17 – Letter 17 – to Benjamin Robert Haydon 01:37:39 – 18 – Letter 18 – to Benjamin Bailey 01:43:58 – 19 – Letter 19 – to Benjamin Bailey 01:51:33 – 20 – Letter 20 – to Benjamin Bailey 01:54:19 – 21 – Letter 21 – to Charles Wentworth Dilke 01:55:20 – 22 – Letter 22 – to Benjamin Bailey 02:05:23 – 23 – Letter 23 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 02:11:23 – 24 – Letter 24 – to George and Thomas Keats 02:16:25 – 25 – Letter 25 – to George and Thomas Keats 02:26:06 – 26 – Letter 26 – to Benjamin Robert Haydon 02:28:19 – 27 – Letter 27 – to John Taylor 02:29:30 – 28 – Letter 28 – to George and Thomas Keats 02:35:45 – 29 – Letter 29 – to John Taylor 02:37:09 – 30 – Letter 30 – to George and Thomas Keats 02:45:42 – 31 – Letter 31 – to Benjamin Bailey 02:53:40 – 32 – Letter 32 – to John Taylor 02:55:38 – 33 – Letter 33 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 03:00:19 – 34 – Letter 34 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 03:09:32 – 35 – Letter 35 – to John Taylor 03:10:23 – 36 – Letter 36 – to George and Thomas Keats 03:14:06 – 37 – Letter 37 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 03:20:52 – 38 – Letter 38 – to George and Thomas Keats 03:25:16 – 39 – Letter 39 – to John Taylor 03:28:39 – 40 – Letter 40 – to Messrs. Taylor and Hessey 03:29:39 – 41 – Letter 41 – to Benjamin Bailey 03:39:27 – 42 – Letter 42 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 03:46:04 – 43 – Letter 43 – to Benjamin Robert Haydon 03:51:10 – 44 – Letter 44 – to Messrs. Taylor and Hessey 03:52:54 – 45 – Letter 45 – to James Rice 03:58:59 – 46 – Letter 46 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 04:06:50 – 47 – Letter 47 – to Benjamin Robert Haydon 04:12:07 – 48 – Letter 48 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 04:17:53 – 49 – Letter 49 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 04:20:39 – 50 – Letter 50 – to John Taylor 04:24:29 – 51 – Letter 51 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 04:29:41 – 52 – Letter 52 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 04:46:49 – 53 – Letter 53 – to Benjamin Bailey 04:52:06 – 54 – Letter 54 – to Benjamin Bailey 04:57:26 – 55 – Letter 55 – to John Taylor 04:59:14 – 56 – Letter 56 – to Thomas Keats 05:08:57 – 57 – Letter 57 – to Fanny Keats 05:18:23 – 58 – Letter 58 – to Thomas Keats 05:28:49 – 59 – Letter 59 – to Thomas Keats 05:39:49 – 60 – Letter 60 – to John Hamilton Reynolds 05:48:19 – 61 – Letter 61 – to Thomas Keats 06:01:55 – 62 – Letter 62 – to Benjamin Bailey 06:16:12 – 63 – Letter 63 – to Thomas Keats 06:30:05 – 64 – Letter 64 – to Thomas Keats 06:43:57 – 65 – Letter 65 – to Mrs. Wylie 06:50:42 – 66 – Letter 66 – to Fanny Keats 06:53:45 – 67 – Letter 67 – to Fanny Keats 06:55:12 – 68 – Letter 68 – to Jane Reynolds 06:56:23 – 69 – Letter 69 – to Charles Wentworth Dilke

These are the letters of John Keats, as written to family, close friends and others during his brief, eventful years as an artist. (However, the editor chose to exclude love letters to Fanny Brawne, respecting their private nature.) The celebrated Keats letters were written between 1816-1820, and include those colorful entries penned during his 44-day tour with Charles Brown as they rambled through England, Ireland and Scotland. Also included are the famous, lengthy ‘journal letters,’ written to his brother George and sister-in-law in America. Not only a poetic genius, Keats shines in epistolary form. His letters brim with the emotion, wit and intelligence he routinely shared with intimates. – Summary by NemoR