Harper's works are ultra-simple arrays of line, geometry and color. Selected by the dozen,they make for a favorable wall calendar. His subjects are poHarper's works are ultra-simple arrays of line, geometry and color. Selected by the dozen,they make for a favorable wall calendar. His subjects are popular, most often birds, science and nature. He is an American modernist with minimal realism. But none of these things are what makes his art compelling.
Harper clearly comprehends his subjects on a deeper level. He shows us how they move, where they live and in some cases, the science and stories that surround them, using a few masterful lines and brazen combinations of color. I have always appreciated the narrative on nature that Harper portrays, but I did not realize before I saw this collection of all his work what a large scope he had. It is a pleasure to flip through the illustrations for cookbooks, science texts, Ford Times Magazine, advertisements and posters. These are a reflection of the times, but they also endure as an inspiration today.
The fact that these prints are quite small or slightly off-color does not deter from the value I get from having them all in one place. This book is an effective reference for my own drawing, and if I wanted crisp, beautiful images I would buy another calendar....more
This was an entertaining grapple at best. Chuck Klosterman gives a nod to nofarious pop culture villains- some fictional, some mid-real-life-crises, aThis was an entertaining grapple at best. Chuck Klosterman gives a nod to nofarious pop culture villains- some fictional, some mid-real-life-crises, and some long-buried- once again showing his flair for deciphering the code by which public figures must live. Klosterman asserts that "Writing about other people is a form of writing about oneself", and if this is true then Black Hat must be viewed as a whole lot of navel gazing. It is less about the modern villain identity and more about the neurotic haze of middle aged men who know they've committed crime....more
Rybczynski chooses a seemingly boundless topic and communicates it with a thoughtful series of essay-like chapters. He begins in the Middle Ages and wRybczynski chooses a seemingly boundless topic and communicates it with a thoughtful series of essay-like chapters. He begins in the Middle Ages and works his way up to modern times using significant themes of each period, also including period-paintings of home life in his discussion.
At no point does the book seem like an encyclopedia or catalogue, which is the tendency for so many other books on this topic. It was enjoyable to read the chapters of this book in the same way I might read an article in Architectural Digest, yet be transported to quite different societies. Rybczynski was able to fully engage on the hows and whys of each event as well as the people involved. He successfully completes a picture of home in the Western world, with respect to contemporary readers....more
I knew I wanted to try this book after seeing How to Cook Your Life, a documentary on the zen monastery where the author teaches, about a year ago. WhI knew I wanted to try this book after seeing How to Cook Your Life, a documentary on the zen monastery where the author teaches, about a year ago. When I picked up a copy of the book and I read Brown's intro and the reviews of his recipes by famous chefs, I realized what a beloved work this was. Then I went to cross-reference my own pizza dough recipe (which I have been using for years) with Brown's recipe for foccasia bread- exact same recipe! Coincidence?
The techniques Brown describes helped me improve my process of bread making, and his approach fosters a deep appreciation of this simple task. The result is a whole lotta love, and some very tasty loaves....more
Finally, after all the hype from well-meaning folks, I picked this one up. Had to put it down once I got a job offer though. Not quite my bag of chipsFinally, after all the hype from well-meaning folks, I picked this one up. Had to put it down once I got a job offer though. Not quite my bag of chips....more
These recipe instructions have everything I need when I'm cooking: cursing, profanity and knife threats. (And I'd expect no less from a chef who's worThese recipe instructions have everything I need when I'm cooking: cursing, profanity and knife threats. (And I'd expect no less from a chef who's worked in professional kitchens for years.) Instructions aside, the mix of ingredients is also quite fresh. Can't wait to try the watermelon and feta salad....more
If "writing a book is like climbing Mt. Everest," as the author remarks in his acknowledgements, then the tiny fragment of us who have actually experiIf "writing a book is like climbing Mt. Everest," as the author remarks in his acknowledgements, then the tiny fragment of us who have actually experienced the world's highest mountain top can nod our heads in approval. This may or may not include Horan himself. Horan may not have witnessed the life cycles and growth habits of many of the trees he visits in his book, and he may not have delved very deeply into researching the famous folks he talks about, but one thing is for certain: he successfully fills many baggies full of tree seeds to take home.
Horan's goal, as it seems, is less about gathering information and experience on trees and people than it is about taking something from them (the seeds) for himself. The self-proclaimed postcard nut, who wishes there was a tree that grew postcards instead of seeds so that he could name it after himself, stops at almost nothing to collect seeds. (Albeit, he does stop at the gift shop on occasion.)While scouring the forest floor with a golf club, looking for acorns in March, he explains "I had chosen a seven iron because I figured a seven would give me enough angle and leverage to slice into the leaves..."
On another occasion, "Doing what I was doing- gathering eucalyptus seeds for planting-would have been considered tantamount to arson in some Californian communities. In no time my baggy was full, and we were walking slowly across the grounds..."
As if his consideration for the ecosystems he tours is not lacking enough, he also spreads misinformation about trees themselves: "And because sycamore is the only common tree (along with field maple and lime) with insect-pollinated flowers, it is a vital source of pollen and nectar for bees- and a major allergy season irritant." Thousands of tree species,some of them major food crops, rely on insects for pollination. Furthermore, it is not these species but the ones that rely on wind for pollination which cause allergy irritation.
Horan gives the same loose regard to the people in his book. It's no surprise that he is always disappointed when he sees a park ranger without a quintessential wide-brim hat, or when he is less entertained by a tour of Thomas Jefferson's estate than by watching an HBO sitcom in his car in the parking lot.
What is surprising is that in the end, Horan is able to grow the seeds into seedlings. He also makes a connection with someone who is genuinely interested in raising them to create an arboretum. Though his book was not a great read, Horan's quest seemed to end in some degree of success.
Oleander shines when she is waxing romantic about Florida, and when she is peering into the mind of one of Florida's most infamous plant collectors. IOleander shines when she is waxing romantic about Florida, and when she is peering into the mind of one of Florida's most infamous plant collectors. I was transported by her accounts of famous plant explorers of the past too. I expected the main plot in her narrative to unravel more readily. Exactly how did the orchids get stolen, and what actions led up to this? I think that knowing this would have revealed some thematic truths about Laroche and everyone else involved in a less subjective way. I wasn't too invested in the author's quest to see the ghost orchid either, as she gives no reason why she is so resolute to that end. The fact that she is still trudging through the swamps in the final pages makes no sense to me. I suppose it's the journey that counts in the end?...more