Tag Archives: Books

Reading: New York Public Library Celebrates 125 Years With “125 Books List”

New York Public Library logoThe New York Public Library is marking its 125th birthday this year—in part with this list of their favorite books written for adults from the past 125 years, which they hope will “inspire a lifelong love of reading.” 

New York Public Library Celebrates 125 Years with 125 Favorite Books List

New York Public Library Celebrates 125 Years with 125 Favorite Books List

See the full list here

Debates: 55 Years Since “James Baldwin – William F. Buckley” (Cambridge 1965)

It has been 55 years since civil-rights activist, James Baldwin, and founder of the conservative National Review, William F. Buckley, Jr., met for a debate on race in America. That discussion and the lives of the two cultural giants are subjects of a new book, “The Fire is Upon Us.” Zachary Green spoke with author and political scientist Nicholas Buccola about how the debate’s still resonating.

Profiles: 71-Year Old Physicist And Author Alan Lightman’s “Creative Life”

From a New York Times online article (February 13, 2020):

“I love physics, but what was even more important to me was leading a creative life,” Dr. Lightman said. “And I knew that writers could continue doing their best work later in life.”

Alan Lightman Books

Lightman is best known in literary circles for his 1992 novel, “Einstein’s Dreams,” which is all about the vicissitudes – romantic, physical and otherwise – of time. It recounts the nightly visions of a young patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland, as he struggles to finish his theory of relativity.

But before that, Dr. Lightman was an astrophysicist, a card-carrying wizard of space and time, with a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology and subsequent posts at Cornell and Harvard In 1989, at the peak of his prowess as a physicist, he began to walk away from the world of black holes to enter the world of black ink and the uncertain, lonely life of the writer.

Recently he was in New York for the opening of “Einstein’s Dreams,” an off-Broadway play based on his book. There have been dozens of such stage adaptations over the last 30 years.

Read full article

New Art Books: “The Art Of Still Life” By Todd M. Casey

The Art of Still Life A Contemporary Guide to Classical Techniques Composition and Painting in Oil Todd M CaseyEvery artist needs to learn and master the still life. Written by a well-known artist and expert instructor, The Art of Still Life offers a comprehensive, contemporary approach to the subject that instructs artists on the foundation basics and advanced techniques they need for successful drawing and painting.

In addition to Casey’s stunning paintings, the work of over fifty past and present masters is included, so that the book will do double duty as a hardworking how-to The Art of Still Life Todd M Casey Feb 2020manual and a visual treasure trove of some of the finest still life art throughout history and being created today.

A Massachusetts native, TODD M. CASEY studied at art schools in Boston and San Francisco before embarking on the classical artistic education offered by Jacob Collins’s famed Water Street Atelier in New York City. A modern master of the still life genre, Casey teaches at several institutions, including the Art Students League of New York. He is represented by Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York, and his paintings are held in numerous private collections worldwide. He lives with his wife and daughter in New York’s Hudson Valley. Visit his website at toddmcasey.com.

Read more or purchase

New Art Books: “Cherry Blossoms – Sakura Collections From The Library Of Congress”

Cherry Blossoms Sakura Collections from the Library of Congress book February 11 2020“Cherry Blossoms” reflects on the long tradition of flower viewing in Japanese culture with vivid color woodblock prints by ukiyo-e master artists, photographs, color lithographic posters and Kōkichi Tsunoi’s exquisite watercolor drawings from 1921. The book highlights the rich connections between Japan’s centuries-old traditions and contemporary counterparts. The American public’s affection for the blossoms is revealed in vintage and contemporary photographs of the Tidal Basin, collections related to the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Cherry Blossom Princess Program, as well as decades’ worth of creatively designed festival posters.

Vibrant springtime traditions of cherry blossom viewing in Japan and Washington, D.C., are explored in the new book “Cherry Blossoms: Sakura Collections from the Library of Congress,” published today by Smithsonian Books, in association with the Library of Congress.

Visual art, including prints, drawings and photographs from the Library’s collections, provide a fresh look at the tradition of cherry blossom celebrations that originated more than 1,200 years ago. Japan shared the tradition with the United States when they presented the nation’s capital with 3,020 cherry trees in 1912. Ever since, D.C. residents and visitors have been mesmerized by the trees and have joined in the festivities of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which draws more than 1.5 million visitors each year.

Fascinating Facts about Cherry Blossom Traditions:

  • It started over 1,200 years ago…with plum blossoms! The Japanese custom of flower viewing, or hanami, is thousands of years old. Beginning in the 9th century, saplings and trees were brought down from the mountains to grace the gardens of the aristocracy. The practice was first associated with plum (ume) blossoms before it became linked almost exclusively with cherry blossoms during the Heian period (794-1185).
  • A feudal warlord threw some of the most lavish parties. Before it became popular with people at all levels of society, cherry blossom viewing in Japan was reserved for the elite. Legendary feudal warlord and samurai Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-98) sponsored some of history’s most lavish cherry blossom-viewing events. His 1594 celebration at Mount Yoshino included a poetry party, a nō play, and a hanami party with 5,000 guests. In 1598, he built hillside teahouses to accommodate guests for his party at Kyoto’s Daigoji temple and transplanted 700 cherry trees to the site.
  • Blossoms Symbolize Fleeting Delights in Life. Cherry blossoms are heralds of spring, but their short blooming period also evokes the ephemeral beauty of life. Edo period (1603-1868) hanami celebrations featured the pleasure of food and drink, poetry and music – tinged with wistful appreciation of the fleeting beauty of both blossoms and earthly delights. This tradition continues. The transitory beauty of life becomes vivid when gusty spring winds end the blooming season with showers of drifting petals, an effect the Japanese call hanafubuki (cherry blossom blizzard).
  • A “Field of Cherries” in Potomac Park? It took the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers three decades to transform the low-lying area known as Potomac Flats into Potomac Park. A 1914 sightseer map of Washington features the new park and labels the road around the west end of the Tidal Basin as the “Speedway.” U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist David Fairchild and cherry tree advocate Eliza Scidmore promoted the site as an ideal place for a “field of cherries.”
  • Not all cherry blossoms are pink. Cherry blossoms varieties include multiple colors: white, pink, yellow – even green. Twelve different varieties of cherry blossom trees were sent from the city of Tokyo to Washington D.C. in 1912. While most were the white-pink Somei Yoshino, there were also 10 different varieties of double-flowered (or manifold) trees, one variety with green blossoms, called Gyoikō, and some varieties with fragrance. The trees around today’s Tidal Basin are limited primarily to Somei Yoshino and Kwan-Zan.

Authors Mari Nakahara and Katherine Blood, both curators in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, present a comprehensive view of the history of this annual celebration, illustrated by prints, posters, photographs and artifacts from the Library’s rich collections.


New Books: “London Life – The Magazine Of The Swinging Sixties” (2020)

London Life The Magazine of the Swinging Sixties Edited by Simon Wells March 2020With imagery from the likes of David Bailey, Duffy and Terence Donovan, designs from Peter Blake, David Hockney, Gerald Scarfe and fledgling artist Ian Dury plus words and opinions from those riding high on the city`s cutting-edge, London Life remains the coolest document from the capital’s most exciting period.

While many books, films and documentaries claim to have captured the phenomenon that was Swinging London, just one magazine was present in the capital during the 1960s to illustrate this extraordinary moment as it unravelled. London Life emerged in October 1965 and, over the next fifteen months, would document the capital s action at its absolute zenith.

Collected for the first time, including forewords from Peter Blake and David Puttnam and a scene-setting introduction from Simon Wells, London Life offers a remarkable and candid view on a period when London was the creative hub of the world.

Top Photography Books: “At Glacier’s End” In Iceland By Chris Burkard

At Glacier's End by Chris Burkard December 2019 Release“Iceland’s glacial rivers are nature’s abstract paintings. It seems obvious that rivers this wild and stunning are protected, yet the harsh reality is that many have been dammed, mainly to provide power for aluminum plants.

A massive conservation movement is underway to preserve these rivers, but will it succeed? At Glacier’s End gives a voice to Iceland’s glacial rivers – providing both a cultural and environmental perspective – on the journey from glacier to sea.”

At Glacier's End by Chris Burkard December 2019 Release

Read more or purchase book