Tag Archives: Top New Books

New Arts & Culture Books: “La Colombe d’Or – Saint Paul de Vence” (Assouline)

La Colombe d'Or - Assouline“Provence has a treasure; it’s a Colombe d’Or. It has the precious scent of thyme and nostalgia and the golden colour of olive oil and happy days. The Colombe is a part of my life. For me, it’s a place that’s as full of promise as of magnificent memories. The Colombe is indefinable, inimitable. I’m happy that today a book brings back the atmosphere of this place which is like no other in the world.”

La Colombe d’Or hotel and restaurant in the South of France is known all over the world as a privileged place where the Provençal art de vivre goes hand in hand with an astonishing private COLLECTION of modern art.

La Colombe d'Or - Assouline

First opened in 1920 as Chez Robinson, a café-bar with an open-air terrace, it quickly became a very popular meeting place and expanded into a small hotel and restaurant. The friendly atmosphere together with owner Paul Roux’s deep interest in the arts attracted many artists of the day, and the walls were soon covered by paintings, often exchanged for a stay or a few meals. As regular visitors to this beautiful place, Matisse, Braque, Léger, Calder, César, and many other artists have left magnificent works that now form part of the unique setting, including splendid pages in the fascinating guest books—presented to the world for the first time in this volume—in which the greatest artists of our time have drawn and signed moments of happiness. The next generation of the Roux family continues to care for the Colombe d’Or, and the art COLLECTION is still growing today.

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Health & Nature Books: “The Well-Gardened Mind” By Sue Stuart-Smith (2020)

 ‘The Well-Gardened Mind’ provides a new perspective on the power of gardening to change people’s lives. Here, Sue Stuart-Smith investigates the many ways in which mind and garden can interact and explores how the process of tending a plot can be a way of sustaining an innermost self.

A distinguished psychiatrist and avid gardener offers an inspiring and consoling work about the healing effects of gardening and its ability to decrease stress and foster mental well-being in our everyday lives.

The garden is often seen as a refuge, a place to forget worldly cares, removed from the “real” life that lies outside. But when we get our hands in the earth we connect with the cycle of life in nature through which destruction and decay are followed by regrowth and renewal. Gardening is one of the quintessential nurturing activities and yet we understand so little about it.

Stuart-Smith’s own love of gardening developed as she studied to become a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. From her grandfather’s return from World War I to Freud’s obsession with flowers to case histories with her own patients to progressive gardening programs in such places as Rikers Island prison in New York City, Stuart-Smith weaves thoughtful yet powerful examples to argue that gardening is much more important to our cognition than we think. Recent research is showing how green nature has direct antidepressant effects on humans. Essential and pragmatic, The Well-Gardened Mind is a book for gardeners and the perfect read for people seeking healthier mental lives.

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New Astronomy Books: “Expanding Universe – The Hubble Space Telescope”

With investigations into everything from black holes to exoplanets, the Hubble Telescope has changed not only the face of astronomy but also our very sense of being in the universe. On the 30th anniversary of its launch into low-earth orbit, this updated edition of Expanding Universe presents 30 brand new images, unveiling more hidden gems from the Hubble’s archives.

Expanding Universe - The Hubble Space Telescope - Taschen June 2020

Ultra-high resolution and taken with almost no background light, these pictures have answered some of the most compelling questions of time and space while also revealing new mysteries, like the strange “dark energy” that sees the universe expanding at an ever-accelerating rate.

The collection is accompanied by an essay from photography critic Owen Edwards and an interview with Zoltan Levay, who explains how the pictures are composed. Veteran Hubble astronauts Charles F. Bolden, Jr. and John Mace Grunsfeld also offer their insights on Hubble’s legacy and future space exploration.

The contributors

Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Major General, USMC (Ret.), is a former Administrator of NASA, where he oversaw the completion of the International Space Station. He spent 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Corps, and commanded and piloted the Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-31, which launched the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.

Owen Edwards has written about photography for more than 30 years for numerous publications including American PhotographerNew York Times Magazine, and Smithsonian.

John Mace Grunsfeld, PhD, is an astrophysicist and a NASA astronaut. He has flown five times on the Space Shuttle, including three Hubble servicing missions. He has served as the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, the NASA Chief Scientist, and as the Deputy Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Zoltan Levay is a retired principle science visuals developer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, where he worked with astronomers and communicators worldwide to publicize science results from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

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Art & Photography Books: “Massimo Listri -Cabinet of Curiosities” (Taschen)

From the Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici and Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II to Archduke Ferdinand II of Habsburg, these aristocratic virtuosos acquired, selected, and displayed the objects in real-life catalogues that represented the entire world—spanning architecture, interior design, painting, sculpture, gemology, geology, botany, biology and taxonomy, astrology, alchemy, anthropology, ethnography, and history.

Listri

The Wunderkammer, or “cabinet of curiosities,” saw collectors gathering objects from many strands of artistic, scientific, and intellectual endeavor, in an ambitious attempt to encompass all of humankind’s knowledge in a single room.

Marvel at the unicorn horns (narwhal tusks), gems, rare coral growths, Murano glasswork, paintings and peculiar mechanical automata. Browse through illustrations of exotic and mythical creatures and discover the famed “Coburg ivories,” an astounding collection of crafted artifacts. These collections are nothing short of a journey through time, from the Renaissance and Age of Discovery, the Mannerist and Baroque periods, up to the present day. Although many of these cabinets of curiosities no longer exist, others have been meticulously reconstructed, and new ones born.

These marvelous cabinets of curiosities can now be explored by all in this XXL collection. To realize this mammoth undertaking, Massimo Listri traveled to seven European countries over several decades; the result is a set of gorgeous photographs, an authoritative yet accessible introduction, and detailed commentary on each of the 19 chambers highlighting the most remarkable items in each collection. Discover how these timeless treasures both describe and defined civilization, the modern concept of the museum, and our very knowledge of the universe.

The authors

Giulia ML Carciotto graduated in art history from the Sapienza University in Rome. She was a Research Fellow at the Warburg Institute in London, where she also worked for Christie’s. She was editor-in-chief of the art publisher Franco Maria Ricci Editore in Milan, and now teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo and at the Abadir Academy in Catania.

Antonio Paolucci studied art history under Roberto Longhi in Florence and began his career in the management of cultural heritage. He was the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage in Venice, Verona, and Mantua. He later became Director of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence and, for almost twenty years, the Superintendent for the Polo Museale Fiorentino. Most recently, Paolucci was the Director of the Vatican Museums from 2007 to 2016. A specialist in Italian Renaissance art, he is the author of museum and exhibition catalogues, as well as publications on Donatello, Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Benvenuto Cellini, among others.

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Podcast Interviews: Alexander Vreeland On His Fashion Journalist Grandmother “Diana”

The StackAlexander Vreeland, grandson of fashion journalist Diana Vreeland, tells us about his new book, ‘Bon Mots: Words of Wisdom from the Empress of Fashion’.

81vcK3Ok10LDiana Vreeland’s insightful edicts and evocative aphorisms remain her strongest legacy. She looked at life as a romantic and lived through dreams and imagination. Showing leadership, vision, and timeless wit, this book celebrates her visionary words that not only transformed the world of fashion, but also gave us sage advice to live by.

Sourced and edited by her grandson Alexander, Diana Vreeland: Bon Mots covers Vreeland’s incisive views of subjects such as allure, fashion, and style (“I mean, a new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life you’re living in the dress”); beauty (“The neck is the beginning and end of looking like anybody”); age (“The quickest way to show your age is to try to look young”); color (“Black is the hardest color to get right–except for gray”); and her powerfully creative way of thinking (“I’m looking for the suggestion of something I’ve never seen”) Brought to life by illustrator Luke Edward Hall, Bon Mots vividly displays Mrs. Vreeland’s original thought and speech, which is equally as inspiring and relevant now as it was then.

About the Author

Diana Vreeland (1903-1989) joined Harper’s Bazaar as fashion editor in 1936; was the editor in chief of Vogue from 1962 to 1971; and later oversaw the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Alexander Vreeland has had an extensive career in fashion and beauty and is the president of the Diana Vreeland Estate and the author of Diana Vreeland Memos (Rizzoli, 2013) and Diana Vreeland: The Modern Woman (Rizzoli, 2015). Luke Edward Hall is a London-based artist and designer.

Top New Books: “The Language Of Butterflies” By Wendy Williams (2020)

The Language of ButterfliesButterflies are one of the world’s most beloved insects. From butterfly gardens to zoo exhibitions, they are one of the few insects we’ve encouraged to infiltrate our lives. Yet, what has drawn us to these creatures in the first place? And what are their lives really like? In this groundbreaking book, New York Times bestselling author and science journalist Wendy Williams reveals the inner lives of these “flying flowers”—creatures far more intelligent and tougher than we give them credit for.

In this fascinating book from the New York Times bestselling author of The Horse, Wendy Williams explores the lives of one of the world’s most resilient creatures—the butterfly—shedding light on the role that they play in our ecosystem and in our human lives.

Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles each year from Canada to Mexico. Other species have learned how to fool ants into taking care of them. Butterflies’ scales are inspiring researchers to create new life-saving medical technology. Williams takes readers to butterfly habitats across the globe and introduces us to not only various species, but to the scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying them.

Coupled with years of research and knowledge gained from experts in the field, this accessible “butterfly biography” explores the ancient partnership between these special creatures and humans, and why they continue to fascinate us today. Touching, eye-opening, and incredibly profound, The Language of Butterflies reveals the critical role they play in our world.

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Best New Fiction Books: “Shadowplay” By Joseph O’Connor – “Ingenious”

Shadowplay by Joseph O'Connor“Shadowplay” opens in Dublin in the winter of 1876, with O’Connor painting that ravishing city with a soft lyricism that Stoker himself might have envied: “Smacks heading down the estuary, trailing petticoats of nets, out towards the expanse of the sea.” Stoker, a government clerk who moonlights as a theater critic, is reeling from the visceral intensity of Irving’s performance in Dublin as Hamlet. “Eyes glowing red in the gaslight,” Irving terrifies the audience, “slinking towards the lip of the stage, left hand on hip, wiping his wet mouth with the back of his sleeve. Sneering, he regarded them. Then he spat.” (NY Times Review)

Henry Irving is Victorian London’s most celebrated actor and theater impresario. He has introduced groundbreaking ideas to the theater, bringing to the stage performances that are spectacular, shocking, and always entertaining. When Irving decides to open his own London theater with the goal of making it the greatest playhouse on earth, he hires a young Dublin clerk harboring literary ambitions by the name of Bram Stoker to manage it. As Irving’s theater grows in reputation and financial solvency, he lures to his company of mummers the century’s most beloved actress, the dazzlingly talented leading lady Ellen Terry, who nightly casts a spell not only on her audiences but also on Stoker and Irving both.

Bram Stoker’s extraordinary experiences at the Lyceum Theatre, his early morning walks on the streets of a London terrorized by a serial killer, his long, tempestuous relationship with Irving, and the closeness he finds with Ellen Terry, inspire him to write DRACULA, the most iconic and best-selling supernatural tale ever published.

A magnificent portrait both of lamp-lit London and of lives and loves enacted on the stage, Shadowplay’s rich prose, incomparable storytelling, and vivid characters will linger in readers’ hearts and minds for many years.

Novelist, screenwriter, playwright and broadcaster, Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. He is the author of nine novels including Star of the Sea, Ghost Light (Dublin One City One Book novel 2011) and Shadowplay (June 2019). Among his awards are the Prix Zepter for European Novel of the Year, France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, an American Library Association Award and the Irish Pen Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature. His work has been translated into forty languages. In 2014 he was appointed Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick. Twice-Booker Prize-winner Peter Carey has written, ‘There are few living writers who can take us back in time so assuredly, through such gorgeous sentences. Joseph O’Connor is a wonder, and Shadowplay is a triumph.’

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Art & Photography Books: “Dreamscapes & Artificial Architecture” (Gestalten)

DREAMSCAPES & ARTIFICIAL ARCHITECTURE IMAGINED INTERIOR DESIGN IN DIGITAL ART - Gestalten - June 2020This inspiring compilation of the most innovative projects in digital art covers the work of the artists and creatives at the forefront of this aesthetic. Discover Filip Hodas and his captivating pop culture dystopia artwork series, explore Massimo Colonna’s surrealist urban landscapes and dive into the abstract compositions of Ezequiel Pini, founder of Six N. Five studio.

Digital renderings have long served architects and interior designers to help visualize spaces before the building begins. But a new generation of digital artists are taking this craft a step further to create otherworldly scenes that can’t, and won’t, ever be built.

DREAMSCAPES & ARTIFICIAL ARCHITECTURE IMAGINED INTERIOR DESIGN IN DIGITAL ART - Gestalten - June 2020

Dreamscapes & Artificial Architecture presents the work of leading creatives from across the globe, exploring the infinite ways to conceptualize utopian oases and dystopian nightmares. With their roots in spatial design, their ideas present a new creative current defined by the fusion of digital techniques such as computer rendering and 3D art, and an aesthetic that moves between fantasy and reality. Freed from the constraints of the physical world, these dreamscapes expand the possibilities for architecture and interior design.

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Top New Books: “The Idea Of The Brain” By Matthew Cobb – “A Supercomputer”

The Idea of the Brain - Matthew Cobb - April 2020Although it might seem to be a story of ever-increasing knowledge of biology, Cobb shows how our ideas about the brain have been shaped by each era’s most significant technologies. Today we might think the brain is like a supercomputer. In the past, it has been compared to a telegraph, a telephone exchange, or some kind of hydraulic system. What will we think the brain is like tomorrow, when new technology arises?

For thousands of years, thinkers and scientists have tried to understand what the brain does. Yet, despite the astonishing discoveries of science, we still have only the vaguest idea of how the brain works. In The Idea of the Brain, scientist and historian Matthew Cobb traces how our conception of the brain has evolved over the centuries.

READ EXCERPT OF FIRST 30 PAGES

The result is an essential read for anyone interested in the complex processes that drive science and the forces that have shaped our marvelous brains.

Matthew Cobb is Professor of Zoology at the University of Manchester. His previous books include Life’s Greatest Secret:The Race to Discover the Genetic Code, which was shortlisted for the the Royal Society Winton Book Prize, and the acclaimed histories The Resistance and Eleven Days in August. He is also the award-winning translator of books on the history of molecular biology, on Darwin’s ideas and on the nature of life.

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Top Photography Books: “Zanzibar” By Aline Coquelle (Assouline)

Zanzibar Travel & Photography Book - Assouline May 2020Off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean sits an archipelago known as Zanzibar. It all started ten million years ago when the island of Pemba separated from mainland Africa and then ten thousand years ago, the island of Unguja followed suit. Thus, begins the legend of Zanzibar.

For centuries, Zanzibar has been the haven and gateway for explorers including Richard Burton and David Livingstone to penetrate the unknown African Continent. Forward to present day, and it is still possible to experience the unique wildlife whether that is by scuba diving off the coast of a private island, infinite lagoons, visiting mangroves or endemic wild forests; getting lost and immersing yourself into the historical labyrinthine streets of Stonetown.

Zanzibar Travel & Photography Book - Assouline May 2020

This cluster of islands is at a crossroads of cultures, featuring Omani architecture, Portuguese and British heritages as well as Swahili rituals.

Photographer Aline Coquelle shares an intimate portrait of a community bursting with life. With original photography, a disappearing, indigenous culture is preserved and celebrated. This volume invites the reader to experience the paradise that is Zanzibar.

With a degree in art history and anthropology, nomadic Parisian photographer Aline Coquelle has always traveled the world—she has lived and worked in Central and South America, Asia, and Africa and has been visiting Zanzibar for over twenty years. She contributes to prestigious international publications, and shoots marketing campaigns for luxury brands. Coquelle often works with silver film in order to keep alive the magic of old-time photography because she believes “transcending tradition is the new modernity” and her gelatin silver prints are sought by collectors worldwide. Her other books with Assouline are Palm Springs Style (2005); The Cartier Polo Games (2006); Polo: The Nomadic Tribe (2009); The Italian Dream: Wine, Heritage, Soul (2016); and Be Extraordinary, The Spirit of Bentley (2017).

Mirella Ricciardi is a renowned photographer and author. Her childhood in Kenya has inspired her work and she has published several volumes of photographs including Vanishing Africa (1971), African Saga (1981), and Vanishing Amazon (1991).

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