Tag Archives: Books

Podcast Interviews: Craig Brown, Author Of “One Two Three Four – The Beatles In Time” (Monocle)

Monocle on Culture PodcastsRobert Bound speaks to writer Craig Brown about his new biography of the Beatles, called ‘One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time’. How do you say something fresh about one of the most written-about bands in history?

Author/writer Craig Brown
Author Craig Brown

From the award-winning author of Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret comes a fascinating, hilarious, kaleidoscopic biography of the Fab Four.

John Updike compared them to ‘the sun coming out on an Easter morning’. Bob Dylan introduced them to drugs. The Duchess of Windsor adored them. Noel Coward despised them. JRR Tolkien snubbed them. The Rolling Stones copied them. Loenard Bernstein admired them. Muhammad Ali called them ‘little sissies’. Successive Prime Ministers sucked up to them. No one has remained unaffected by the music of The Beatles. As Queen Elizabeth II observed on her golden wedding anniversary, ‘Think what we would have missed if we had never heard The Beatles.’

One Two Three Four traces the chance fusion of the four key elements that made up The Beatles: fire (John), water (Paul), air (George) and earth (Ringo). It also tells the bizarre and often unfortunate tales of the disparate and colourful people within their orbit, among them Fred Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Maharishi, Aunt Mimi, Helen Shapiro, the con artist Magic Alex, Phil Spector, their psychedelic dentist John Riley and their failed nemesis, Det Sgt Norman Pilcher.

From the bestselling author of Ma’am Darling comes a kaleidoscopic mixture of history, etymology, diaries, autobiography, fan letters, essays, parallel lives, party lists, charts, interviews, announcements and stories. One Two Three Four joyfully echoes the frenetic hurly-burly of an era.

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New Art & Nature Books: “What It’s Like To Be A Bird” – David Allen Sibley (2020)

While its focus is on familiar backyard birds–blue jays, nuthatches, chickadees–it also examines certain species that can be fairly easily observed, such as the What It's Like To Be A Bird David Allen Sibley Cover April 15 2020seashore-dwelling Atlantic puffin. David Sibley’s exacting artwork and wide-ranging expertise bring observed behaviors vividly to life. 

The bird book for birders and nonbirders alike that will excite and inspire by providing a new and deeper understanding of what common, mostly backyard, birds are doing–and why.

“Can birds smell?” “Is this the same cardinal that was at my feeder last year?” “Do robins ‘hear’ worms?” In What It’s Like to Be a Bird, David Sibley answers the most frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often. This special, large-format volume is geared as much to nonbirders as it is to the out-and-out obsessed, covering more than two hundred species and including more than 330 new illustrations by the author.

What It's Like To Be A Bird David Allen Sibley April 15 2020

And while the text is aimed at adults–including fascinating new scientific research on the myriad ways birds have adapted to environmental changes–it is nontechnical, making it the perfect occasion for parents and grandparents to share their love of birds with young children, who will delight in the big, full-color illustrations of birds in action. Unlike any other book he has written, What It’s Like to Be a Bird is poised to bring a whole new audience to David Sibley’s world of birds.

Author Website

DAVID ALLEN SIBLEY is the author and illustrator of the series of successful guides to nature that bear his name, including The Sibley Guide to Birds. He has contributed to Smithsonian, Science, The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Birding, BirdWatching, North American Birds, and The New York Times. He is a recipient of the Roger Tory Peterson Award for Promoting the Cause of Birding from the American Birding Association and the Linnaean Society of New York’s Eisenmann Medal. He lives and birds in Massachusetts.

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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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Tribute: Architect-Author Michael Sorkin – “City Air Makes You Free” (1948-2020)

From an Apollo Magazine online article (March 31, 2020):

Michael Sorkin All Over The MapUltimately he was a humane critic of the contemporary city, a serious, funny and poetic voice defending the powerless against big capital and an articulator of how architecture should be used as a tool of resistance. He is indelibly associated with New York, a city he loved with a fervour despite its faults, and of which he defended every inch as a public good. Number 210 in his list was the medieval German phrase ‘Stadtluft macht frei’ – ‘city air makes you free’. He will survive through his magical writing, which makes us all a little freer.

Michael Sorkin, who died last week of complications due to Covid-19, gained his reputation as the architecture critic of The Village Voice in New York, which, in the 1980s, was a publication with a formidable reach and impact on a city just beginning to boom again. He launched fierce attacks against the banality of the contemporary city, the rapacity and greed of developers (notably the current president, including in a 1985 piece entitled ‘Dump the Trump’) and the loss of great landmarks. But he was no nostalgist; he revelled in the potential of architecture to catalyse change and excoriated his contemporaries for caving in to big business, for building prisons and being complicit in a denuded public realm.

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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.