Friday, September 20, 2013

Porch reading for fall, from Disney to Kerouac, reviewed from other sites

Autumn closes in on summer this Sunday, regardless of a thermometer reading in the 80s. There's plenty of sunlight and beautiful weather ahead for picture books and other to-read titles in the stacks that will soon have to move inside, from the porch to the couch, where they'll nest for the winter. Here's a selection of interesting porchside books on a variety of themes that are worth a browse, with reviews from other sites.

Above: The Art of Tron: Legacy, Justin Springer, et al (Disney Editions): I haven't seen Tron: Legacy yet, but I've heard murmurings from people that have, both positive and negative... however, even the negatives seem to be in awe of the visuals of the film. Sounds like the same reaction the original got, doesn't it? I've seen a lot of this art on the walls of the Art Department during my set visit last year and it was beautiful. I'm sure The Art of Tron: Legacy is filled to the brim with eye-candy, so it's an easy choice .... 

Animation: The Archive Series (Disney Enterprises): One of the highlights of the last decade was getting to visit Disney's Animation Research Library, a nondescript building somewhere in Los Angeles that houses all of Disney's original animation cels, painted backgrounds, production paintings and sketches. It's not common for someone outside of Disney animators to be granted access, so I feel very blessed, but even spending an hour there I only saw about 1% of what that place stored. If that. So, it was to my great surprise and happiness that I stumbled upon this hardcover series called Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Archive Series, which takes some of these amazing art pieces and in high resolution reproduces them for the masses.(Quint, Ain't It Cool News)

What Was the Hipster? A Sociological Investigation: Mark Greif, et al (n+1 Books) All descriptions of hipsters are doomed to disappoint, because they will not be the hipsters you know. But to those of you who are reading What Was the Hipster in 2050, I can only say: Everything in this book is true, and its impressions are perfect. When we talk about the contemporary hipster, we’re talking about a kind of cross-subcultural figure who emerges by 1999 and enjoys a fairly narrow but robust first phase of existence from 1999 to 2003. At which point the category of hipster seemed about to dissipate and return to the primordial subcultural soup, for something else to take over. Instead what we witnessed was an increasing spread and durability of the term, in an ongoing second phase from 2003 to the present. The truth was that there was no culture worth speaking of, and the people called hipsters just happened to be young and, more often than not, funny-looking. (AnonymousAtomic Books)

Fishers of Men – The Gospel of an Ayahuasca Vision Quest, Adam Elenbaas (Tarcher Press): The cross-generational stories surrounding Elenbaas and his father, and his father and grandfather, sanctify the Freudian influence on drug writing. From the opening chapter when his father lays bleeding, holding a hunting knife, till the final modernist resolution, redefinition of all the relationships occur. It’s very reminiscent of the poem "This Be The Verse" by Philip Larkin: “They fuck you up, your mum and dad./ They may not mean to, but they do./ They fill you with the faults they had/ and add some extra, just for you.” The Freudian model, which places so much emphasis on a child’s relationship with its parents as a foundation for personality structure, is being played out once more as a literary structure: “One of the most intense psychological settings in the world – the visionary space of ayahuasca” (201). The combination of the psychedelic experience and psychodynamic models is firm territory, not only in Fishers of Men, but in modern drug writing generally. (Rob, editor, The Psychedelic Press UK)

Brother Souls: John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation: Ann and Samuel Charters (University Press of Mississippi): ... Holmes, a good friend of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg and a founding member of the original Beat circle in New York City, also wrote several novels that were respectably reviewed. But he lacked the charisma and theatricality of the later Beat writers, and struggled for literary success even as his friends reached explosive levels of fame. It's only because of these legendary friends, and not because of his own fiction, that John Clellon Holmes merits an extensive literary biography by Ann and Samuel Charters today. Brother-Souls: John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation is unusual among literary biographies because its hero never had a breakout success. Instead, he filled out his career with dead end manuscripts, odd magazine assignments and college teaching jobs. In this sense, Brother-Souls is actually a more accurate glimpse of how most writers live than any typical biography of a famous writer. (Levi Asher, Literary Kicks)

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