Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

T.E. Lawrence

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Over the course of two nights and one cat nap I watched the much revered 3 hour and 47 minute motion picture classic “Lawrence of Arabia” for the first time.

I didn’t adore all of it, and I don’t think I understood all of it either but now Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence is stuck in my head.

An introverted egotist and supposedly celibate sadomasochist, the 1962 film was based on Lawrence’s autobiographical tome The Seven Pillars of Wisdom which I now am intent on reading.

The film and Peter O’Toole’s playfully poker-faced performance within it create a coy and quivering image of the man T.E. Lawrence may have been. But whenever it appears The Lt. Col.’s psychological make up is near enough for us to finally, fully know – everything slithers up off the sand and back into mystery like a desert dune mirage.

So I’m gonna read up on the man, in his words and in those of others, and see if I can maybe figure him out. The best mysteries in life are the ones of who people are.

Depending on which edition I find on eBay, my copy of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom might be a little bit beautiful but it certainly won’t rival the glorious tooling featured on the cover of the first 1922 printing of the book.

Within twin scimitars it reads in gold: The sword also means clean-ness + death.

It’s this very sense for the dryly dramatic that made ol’ Lawrence the larger-than-life legend he would become.

Only In France…

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

After five hours of traveling we capped off our 95 minute sprint through Mt. St. Michel with a cone of crispy Chu-Chis, deep fried twigs of dough that are then doused in a dramatic downpour of sugar. Like a funnel cake, but tough and crunchier.

We were held up by Mean Mickey at the Porte de Vanves flea market. It’s a drastic makeover, but he wears armed & insane surprisingly well.

Flower-buddy spices at the Galleries Lafayette über-market.

I assumed the golden nose on this $1400 McClown lamp was its on switch, but, sadly, the joke was on me.

France is the land of 10,000 carousels. We saw many, rode one, and photographed most of them.

Down in Nice there was a strong Italian influence and so we strolled around the city with gelatto cones twice a day. At our favorite shop, if you ordered two flavors, they didn’t just plop one down on the other, snow-man style, but created radial little blossoms of creamy coolness.

Whenever I’m in a foreign land, I like to hunt down grocery market finds by brands we have back at home of specific products which we do not. I even sacrificed precious room in my suitcase to pack in a big box of Kellogg’s Tresor cereal.

The daffy door leading to the unisex restrooms at Colette.

As you can see, France isn’t all fussy refinement. It can flash a little crass and whole lot of sass.

Unpublished

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

One of my very first Treasury posts seemed like a boy-blog exclusive, and I sure was excited about it. I had randomly discovered that the first J.D. Salinger book in decades was to be published in January of 2009. A novella originally published in a 1965 edition of The New Yorker, it was titled Hapworth 16, 1924.

But that January shivered on silently and Hapworth never materialized.

The New Yorker has just released a new essay by the publisher Salinger had been personally working with to release his book since way back in 1988.

The image below is the spare and strange sample cover that Salinger had approved for his book before the arrangement fell to pouty little pieces.

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My brain likes to roam around, for much longer, in what almost was, than in what actually is.

The Life Cinematic

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Channel your inner Wes Anderson with these blazing yellow booklets, storyboard-ing your every well-composed wish into cinematic reality.

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Previously sold out but back in stock once again!

Book Club

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Around this time last year the Rogues Gallery webshop had copies of a non-redesigned edition of The Call of The Wild for sale. With winter coming, and having never read the classic story, I figured it was a perfect time to add it to my library.

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I didn’t necessarily expect myself to read it or enjoy it. Sometimes the so-called classics read too outdated, dry and homework-like to really be enjoyable, but The Call of The Wild was smoothly and simply written and I flipped from page to page eagerly. Most interestingly, the story is told from the point of view of Buck, the dog, but in an organic and understated way that doesn’t over-personify him into a cute or cartoony Beverly Hills Chihuahua or something.

If you’re at all like me, you’ll imagine your own dog in the center of the story, being stolen from its carefree and cushiony domesticated life into a cold and cruel existence that may or may not be the more appropriate place for your four-legged friend.

Just thinking about the book again makes me wanna go pet my pup.

Quote, Unquote

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Last night I finally cracked open a book I wasn’t specifically thrilled to have received as a gift a few birthdays back. Early on, halfway down page eight I came across a passage that made me stop. I re-read it again and closed the book halfway to just think.

It’s good when books do that. Here’s what got me thinking.

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Materialism isn’t noble, it is perhaps downright ridiculous. But really, I never feel so bored, boring, and uninteresting as when there’s nothing on Earth that I have the desire to buy.

Quote taken from Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy by Robert Leleux.

Summer Reading

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

This is what I picked up at Magers & Quinn, the best bookstore in my’ hood, last Friday night.

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Soldiers is broken down into nine separate stories of young British boys who grew up, usually by happenstance, to become military career men. I’ve just started on the second soldier’s story but already I’m struck by the upbeat attitudes of these men in the face of chilly and choice-less lives. We’ve become such an entitled and whiny troop since then. It’s horrible really.

So far the first two military careers commence with the first world war, which is interesting to read about, since its usually the second great war that hogs the media spotlight.

I usually can’t get three pages into a book without falling asleep, and I’m marching super swiftly through this one, so consider that a rocking recommendation.

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Most of my missions to Magers involve tracking down devilishly designed old Agatha Christie mysteries that I’ve either never read, or have forgotten enough of to warrant a second reading. I’m not even sure which slot Death On the Nile belongs under.

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My mother’s read more paperback mysteries than anyone you’ll ever know. I’d spend the dog days of summer as a teen combing her bookshelves for creepy Christie titles. Some of which I’d finish, some of which I wouldn’t.

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All grown up, I like to take on a title or two now every summer. I’m always up for anything that stands as a re-enactment of my youth.

Re-Imagined

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Classic vinyl records dressed up as pretend-classic paperbacks.
For no good reason, but good nonetheless.

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Peruse the rest of the stacks here.

From the Office of…

Friday, March 6th, 2009

This handsome little handbook was loafing unceremoniously on my desk for about a year, so I figured I’d dust it off and share it.

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A page I didn’t scan in presents the proper marching order for a (celebratory) Civilian Defense parade. Oh, the ceremony of it all.

I Can Read Movies

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

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Product tie-ins today feel so forced and flaccid. These faux-book covers remind me of the thrill of previous decades, and of being 13 – when turning a movie into a book, a backpack, and a breakfast cereal didn’t seem crass, it just seemed a blast.

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These are three of a twenty-five part series by retro-minded graphic designer Spacesick.

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His blog promises a second series shortly. I’m hoping The Goonies, Space Camp, or The Allnighter (starring doe-eyed darling Susanna Hoffs) might make the next round.

Could’ve Been

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

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From J.D.’s Wikipedia page:

In 1996 Salinger gave a small publisher, Orchises Press, permission to publish “Hapworth 16, 1924” the previously uncollected novella. It was to be published that year, and listings for it appeared at Amazon.com and other book-sellers. After a flurry of articles and critical reviews of the story appeared in the press, the publication date was pushed back repeatedly before apparently being cancelled altogether. Amazon now lists that Orchises will publish the story in January 2009.

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I read that blurb this fall, and when I searched at Amazon.com, sure enough there was a listing for it. No cover work, price, or exact release date, but yes indeedy, it was there!

January is all but over now, the Amazon listing for the work is gone, and though I’m not stunned…I am for sure bummed.