Needless to say, outside is beastly in the best possible way, but I can't spend too long without before wishing I was within -- and so I have been spending hours taking advantage of that most prized of holiday gifts: books. This year was a good year:
Ceramic Art in Finland -- Thank you, Ellen, for this glimpse into the esoteric and delicious world of Finnish ceramics -- I want nearly all of it, particularly the bird creation of Birger Kaipiainen. More on this to come:
Handcrafted Modern -- I know, hyped (I first read about it on ready4thehouse) -- but let me tell you, all worth it. The text leaves something to be desired. It's difficult for me to believe that this book had an editor, but who cares. It's all about the pictures. This was a present to myself : ). Highlights -- the Russel Wright house, which warms the cockles of my heart. Also, Esherick's home -- not the staircase, the floor entirely in purpleheart! It haunts my dreams:
In Youth is Pleasure -- Easily one of the dirtiest, most visceral and beautifully written books I've ever read -- every sentence is pregnant with meaning that tickles the mind less than some other bits. On creamed spinach:
"Spinach done in this way always reminded Orvil of something. He could not help it; although he tried to rid his mind of the image, it sprang up again with each new sight of the dish. Once in a field full of buttercups he had trodden in a cow-pat. He had looked down at his foot which had broken through the hardened outer crust. It lay in a trough lined in darkest richest green. 'What a wonderful colour!' he'd thought; 'it's just like velvet or jade, or creamed spinach.'
Now, as the waiter put the soft spoonfuls on his plate, the image was with him again. 'I'm eating cow-pat, I'm eating cow-pat!' he said to himself as he dug his fork in."
Thanks, Seth & Danielle. The world keenly observed:
Never Let Me Go -- Doubtless numbingly depressing, I have not yet dipped into this one. But I adore Ishiguro's other works, Remains of the Day being one of my favorite books. It just doesn't get any better. Anyway, grim mysterious boarding school? Melancholy children harvested for organs? Count me in. Thanks, Andy. You know me well:
Exercises in Style -- Treats, treats. Little language hors d'oeuvres, dripping with French wit. Also, some sweet drawings, contortionists complementing the twisted language.
A boy gets mad at a man on the bus for stepping on his feet, and he takes a seat away from the man. Later, we see the boy again getting advice on a button from a friend. That's it, the whole book, and it's brilliant. Thanks, Rich:
Saint Joan -- This one I know little about, except that I like what Shaw I've seen. When I was growing up, there was a salacious Life of Sarah Bernhardt in the living room of our summer house, and I dutifully read it each summer -- much was made of her performance of Saint Joan, and I picked this up, thinking that at last I could read it. Different version of Saint Joan! Woops. But I found it in a box on the street, so, no loss. I guess it was a gift from God?
What are you guys reading these days?