Growing up in a home with an atheistic mother and a non-participating Catholic father did not stop four-year-old Akiane Kramarik from finding God. This girl's dreams began a conversation in the home that has eventually brought them all to Christianity and the world's attention. Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry is a collection of the best of Akiane's full-color paintings and poetry created from ages 4 to 10, along with details of her family and the amazing stories that surround each unique artwork. Already a media professional, Akiane has been interviewed on programs such as Oprah, World News Tonight, Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN, and Schuller's Hour of Power. Akiane will be one of twenty visual artists participating in the October "Listen" event raising money for the world's needy children. Today Akiane's art is available online at www.artakiane.com.
Adapted from Decoded, Meltzer’s hit show on the HISTORY network, History Decoded explores fascinating, unexplained questions. Is Fort Knox empty? Why was Hitler so intent on capturing the Roman “Spear of Destiny”? What’s the government hiding in Area 51? Where did the Confederacy’s $19 million in gold and silver go at the end of the Civil War? And did Lee Harvey Oswald really act alone? Meltzer sifts through the evidence; weighs competing theories; separates what we know to be true with what’s still—and perhaps forever—unproved or unprovable; and in the end, decodes the mystery, arriving at the most likely solution. Along the way we meet Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Nazi propagandists, and the real DB Cooper.
At the beginning of each story is a custom-designed envelope—a faux 19th-century leather satchel, a U.S. government classified file—containing facsimiles of relevant evidence: John Wilkes Booth’s alleged unsigned will, a map of the Vatican, Kennedy’s death certificate. The whole is a riveting, interactive adventure through the compelling world of mysteries and conspiracies.
Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous portrait photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. But when he was thirty-two years old, in 1900, he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared.
Curtis spent the next three decades documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty North American tribes. It took tremendous perseverance — ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him to observe their Snake Dance ceremony. And the undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. Curtis would amass more than 40,000 photographs and 10,000 audio recordings, and he is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian.
“A darn good yarn. Egan is a muscular storyteller and his book is a rollicking page-turner with a colorfully drawn hero.” — San Francisco Chronicle
"A riveting biography of an American original." – Boston Globe
YOU MIGHT BE A ZOMBIE…
You're going to wish you never picked up this book.
Some facts are too terrifying to teach in school. Unfortunately, Cracked.com is more than happy to fill you in:
* A zombie apocalypse? It could happen. 50% of humans are infected with a parasite that can take over your brain.
* The FDA wouldn't let you eat bugs, right? Actually, you might want to put down those jelly beans. And that apple. And that strawberry yogurt.
* Think dolphins are our friends? Then these sex-crazed thrill killers of the sea have you right where they want you.
* The most important discovery in the history of genetics? Francis Crick came up with it while on LSD.
* Think you're going to choose whether or not to buy this book? Scientists say your brain secretly makes all your decisions 10 seconds before you even know what they are.
If you’re a fan of The Oatmeal or Frak.com and hate being wrong about stuff, you’ll love what you find in YOU MIGHT BE A ZOMBIE from the twisted minds at Cracked.
From the National Book Award–winning author of Just Kids: an unforgettable odyssey of a legendary artist, told through the prism of the cafés and haunts she has worked in around the world. It is a book Patti Smith has described as “a roadmap to my life.”
M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, and across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations, we travel to Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Mexico; to a meeting of an Arctic explorer’s society in Berlin; to a ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York’s Far Rockaway that Smith acquires just before Hurricane Sandy hits; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud, and Mishima.
Woven throughout are reflections on the writer’s craft and on artistic creation. Here, too, are singular memories of Smith’s life in Michigan and the irremediable loss of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith.
Braiding despair with hope and consolation, illustrated with her signature Polaroids, M Train is a meditation on travel, detective shows, literature, and coffee. It is a powerful, deeply moving book by one of the most remarkable multiplatform artists at work today.
From the Hardcover edition.
Jennings takes readers on a world tour of geogeeks from the London Map Fair to the bowels of the Library of Congress, from the prepubescent geniuses at the National Geographic Bee to the computer programmers at Google Earth. Each chapter delves into a different aspect of map culture: highpointing, geocaching, road atlas rallying, even the “unreal estate” charted on the maps of fiction and fantasy. He also considers the ways in which cartography has shaped our history, suggesting that the impulse to make and read maps is as relevant today as it has ever been.
From the “Here be dragons” parchment maps of the Age of Discovery to the spinning globes of grade school to the postmodern revolution of digital maps and GPS, Maphead is filled with intriguing details, engaging anecdotes, and enlightening analysis. If you’re an inveterate map lover yourself—or even if you’re among the cartographically clueless who can get lost in a supermarket—let Ken Jennings be your guide to the strange world of mapheads.
Diane von Furstenberg started with a suitcase full of jersey dresses and an idea of who she wanted to be—in her words, “the kind of woman who is independent and who doesn’t rely on a man to pay her bills.” She has since become that woman, establishing herself as a major force in the fashion industry, all the while raising a family, maintaining that “my children are my greatest creation.”
In The Woman I Wanted to Be, “an intriguing page-turner filled with revelations” (More), von Furstenberg reflects on her extraordinary life—from her childhood in Brussels to her days as a young, jet-set princess, to creating the dress that came to symbolize independence and power for generations of women. With remarkable honesty and wisdom, von Furstenberg mines the rich territory of what it means to be a woman. She opens up about her family and career, overcoming cancer, building a global brand, and devoting herself to empowering other women. This “inspiring, compelling, deliciously detailed celebrity autobiography…is as much of a smashing success as the determined, savvy, well-intentioned woman who wrote it” (Chicago Tribune).
Trivia fans will be eager to dive into this book for an edifying and entertaining tour of all the things they didn't know that they didn't know. There is something here for everyone and every occasion, with topics including Space and Science, Being Human, Sports, Music, Food and Drink, and Famous Inventions. It's full of conversation starters, from Herbert Hoover's pet alligators to the longest recorded bout of hiccups (it lasted for 68 years). Brimming with surprising facts, this comprehensive collection of trivia is sure to puzzle and delight.
After leaving the world of academe to become Phil Sparrow, a tattoo artist on Chicago's notorious South State Street, Steward worked closely with Alfred Kinsey on his landmark sex research. During the early 1960s, Steward changed his name and identity once again, this time to write exceptionally literate, upbeat pro-homosexual pornography under the name of Phil Andros.
Until today he has been known only as Phil Sparrow—but an extraordinary archive of his papers, lost since his death in 1993, has provided Justin Spring with the material for an exceptionally compassionate and brilliantly illuminating life-and-times biography. More than merely the story of one remarkable man, Secret Historian is a moving portrait of homosexual life long before Stonewall and gay liberation.
Secret Historian is a 2010 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.
As the Xerox Corporation's official webmaster, Bill McLain often fielded as many as 1,000 questions a day on just about everything under the sun -- and beyond. The wildest, funniest, and even most astute are collected here (along with their answers) in McLain's second volume that's as fascinating and enlightening as his first, Do Fish Drink Water? A "veritable Internet legend known for having all the answers" (San Francisco Chronicle), McLain explains what keeps squirrels from toppling off telephone wires; why the skin on your fingers and toes shrivels up in the water; how seedless watermelons are created; and more. Whether it's animal, vegetable, mineral, or something completely different, the answer is bound to be as interesting as the question itself, and certain to satisfy the trivia hound in everyone.
War photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir It’s What I Do is the story of how the relentless pursuit of truth, in virtually every major theater of war in the twenty-first century, has shaped her life. What she does, with clarity, beauty, and candor, is to document, often in their most extreme moments, the complex lives of others. It’s her work, but it’s much more than that: it’s her singular calling.
Lynsey Addario was just finding her way as a young photographer when September 11 changed the world. One of the few photojournalists with experience in Afghanistan, she gets the call to return and cover the American invasion. She makes a decision she would often find herself making—not to stay home, not to lead a quiet or predictable life, but to set out across the world, face the chaos of crisis, and make a name for herself.
Addario finds a way to travel with a purpose. She photographs the Afghan people before and after the Taliban reign, the civilian casualties and misunderstood insurgents of the Iraq War, as well as the burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She exposes a culture of violence against women in the Congo and tells the riveting story of her headline-making kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in the Libyan civil war.
Addario takes bravery for granted but she is not fearless. She uses her fear and it creates empathy; it is that feeling, that empathy, that is essential to her work. We see this clearly on display as she interviews rape victims in the Congo, or photographs a fallen soldier with whom she had been embedded in Iraq, or documents the tragic lives of starving Somali children. Lynsey takes us there and we begin to understand how getting to the hard truth trumps fear.
As a woman photojournalist determined to be taken as seriously as her male peers, Addario fights her way into a boys’ club of a profession. Rather than choose between her personal life and her career, Addario learns to strike a necessary balance. In the man who will become her husband, she finds at last a real love to complement her work, not take away from it, and as a new mother, she gains an all the more intensely personal understanding of the fragility of life.
Watching uprisings unfold and people fight to the death for their freedom, Addario understands she is documenting not only news but also the fate of society. It’s What I Do is more than just a snapshot of life on the front lines; it is witness to the human cost of war.
Role Models is, in fact, a self-portrait told through intimate profiles of favorite personalities—some famous, some unknown, some criminal, some surprisingly middle-of-the-road. From Esther Martin, owner of the scariest bar in Baltimore, to the playwright Tennessee Williams; from the atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair to the insane martyr Saint Catherine of Siena; from the English novelist Denton Welch to the timelessly appealing singer Johnny Mathis—these are the extreme figures who helped the author form his own brand of neurotic happiness.
Role Models is a personal invitation into one of the most unique, perverse, and hilarious artistic minds of our time.
Fell asleep during history class in high school when World War II was covered? Learned the table of elements at one time but have forgotten it since? Always wondered who really invented the World Wide Web? Here is the book for you, with all the answers you've been looking for: The New York Times Presents Smarter by Sunday is based on the premise that there is a recognizable group of topics in history, literature, science, art, religion, philosophy, politics, and music that educated people should be familiar with today. Over 100 of these have been identified and arranged in a way that they can be studied over a year's time by spending two hours on a topic every weekend.
Challenging what most of us assume to be verifiable truths in areas like history, literature, science, nature, and more,The Book of General Ignorance is a witty “gotcha” compendium of how little we actually know about anything. It’ll have you scratching your head wondering why we even bother to go to school.
Think Magellan was the first man to circumnavigate the globe, baseball was invented in America, Henry VIII had six wives, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain? Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again. You’ll be surprised at how much you don’t know! Check out THE BOOK OF GENERAL IGNORANCE for more fun entries and complete answers to the following:
How long can a chicken live without its head?
About two years.
What do chameleons do?
They don’t change color to match the background. Never have; never will. Complete myth. Utter fabrication. Total Lie. They change color as a result of different emotional states.
How many legs does a centipede have?
Not a hundred.
How many toes has a two-toed sloth?
It’s either six or eight.
Who was the first American president?
What were George Washington’s false teeth made from?
What was James Bond’s favorite drink?
Not the vodka martini.
From the Hardcover edition.
At twenty-eight years old, Krista Schlyer sold almost everything she owned and packed the rest of it in a station wagon bound for the American wild. Her two best friends joined her—one a grumpy, grieving introvert, the other a feisty dog—and together they sought out every national park, historic site, forest, and wilderness they could get to before their money ran out or their minds gave in.
The journey began as a desperate escape from urban isolation, heartbreak, and despair, but became an adventure beyond imagining. Chronicling their colorful escapade, Almost Anywhere explores the courage, cowardice, and heroics that live in all of us, as well as the life of nature and the nature of life.
This eloquent and accessible memoir is at once an immersion in the pain of losing someone particularly close and especially young and a healing journey of a broken life given over to the whimsy and humor of living on the road.
Renowned architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable?s biography Frank Lloyd Wright looks at the architect and the man, from his tumultuous personal life to his long career as a master builder. Along the way she introduces Wright?s masterpieces? from the tranquil Fallingwater to Taliesin, rebuilt after tragedy and murder?not only exploring the mind of the man who drew the blueprints but also delving into the very heart of the medium, which he changed forever.
In 2010, more than 750,000 people stood in line at Marina Abramović’s MoMA retrospective for the chance to sit across from her and communicate with her nonverbally in an unprecedented durational performance that lasted more than 700 hours. This celebration of nearly fifty years of groundbreaking performance art demonstrated once again that Marina Abramović is truly a force of nature.
The child of Communist war-hero parents under Tito’s regime in postwar Yugoslavia, she was raised with a relentless work ethic. Even as she was beginning to build an international artistic career, Marina lived at home under her mother’s abusive control, strictly obeying a 10 p.m. curfew. But nothing could quell her insatiable curiosity, her desire to connect with people, or her distinctly Balkan sense of humor—all of which informs her art and her life. The beating heart of Walk Through Walls is an operatic love story—a twelve-year collaboration with fellow performance artist Ulay, much of which was spent penniless in a van traveling across Europe—a relationship that began to unravel and came to a dramatic end atop the Great Wall of China.
Marina’s story, by turns moving, epic, and dryly funny, informs an incomparable artistic career that involves pushing her body past the limits of fear, pain, exhaustion, and danger in an uncompromising quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. A remarkable work of performance in its own right, Walk Through Walls is a vivid and powerful rendering of the unparalleled life of an extraordinary artist.
For example–February 21: In 1912, on this day, Teddy Roosevelt coined the political phrase “hat in the ring,” so Ken Jennings fires off a series of “ring” questions. What two NFL quarterbacks have four Super Bowl rings each?* What rings are divided by the Cassini Division?** Also on this date, in 1981, the “goth” music scene was born in London, so here’s a quiz on black-clad icons like Darth Vader, Johnny Cash, and Zorro. Do you know the secret identities of Ivanhoe’s Black Knight*** or Men in Black’s Agent M****?
In this ultimate book for trivia buffs and other assorted know-it-alls, the 365 entries feature “This Day in History” factoids, trivia quizzes, and questions categorized by Jennings as “Easy,” “Hard,” and “Yeah, Good Luck.” Topics cover every subject under the sun, from paleontology to mixology, sports feats to Bach suites, medieval popes to daytime soaps. This addictive gathering of facts, oddities, devilishly clever quizzes, and other flights of fancy will make each day a fun and intriguing new challenge.
From the Hardcover edition.
A FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE IN BIOGRAPHY AND SHORTLISTED FOR THE PEN/JACQUELINE BOGRAD WELD AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY
"Welcome to Rockwell Land," writes Deborah Solomon in the introduction to this spirited and authoritative biography of the painter who provided twentieth-century America with a defining image of itself. As the star illustrator of The Saturday Evening Post for nearly half a century, Norman Rockwell mingled fact and fiction in paintings that reflected the we-the-people, communitarian ideals of American democracy. Freckled Boy Scouts and their mutts, sprightly grandmothers, a young man standing up to speak at a town hall meeting, a little black girl named Ruby Bridges walking into an all-white school—here was an America whose citizens seemed to believe in equality and gladness for all.
Who was this man who served as our unofficial "artist in chief" and bolstered our country's national identity? Behind the folksy, pipe-smoking façade lay a surprisingly complex figure—a lonely painter who suffered from depression and was consumed by a sense of inadequacy. He wound up in treatment with the celebrated psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. In fact, Rockwell moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts so that he and his wife could be near Austen Riggs, a leading psychiatric hospital. "What's interesting is how Rockwell's personal desire for inclusion and normalcy spoke to the national desire for inclusion and normalcy," writes Solomon. "His work mirrors his own temperament—his sense of humor, his fear of depths—and struck Americans as a truer version of themselves than the sallow, solemn, hard-bitten Puritans they knew from eighteenth-century portraits."
Deborah Solomon, a biographer and art critic, draws on a wealth of unpublished letters and documents to explore the relationship between Rockwell's despairing personality and his genius for reflecting America's brightest hopes. "The thrill of his work," she writes, "is that he was able to use a commercial form [that of magazine illustration] to thrash out his private obsessions." In American Mirror, Solomon trains her perceptive eye not only on Rockwell and his art but on the development of visual journalism as it evolved from illustration in the 1920s to photography in the 1930s to television in the 1950s. She offers vivid cameos of the many famous Americans whom Rockwell counted as friends, including President Dwight Eisenhower, the folk artist Grandma Moses, the rock musician Al Kooper, and the generation of now-forgotten painters who ushered in the Golden Age of illustration, especially J. C. Leyendecker, the reclusive legend who created the Arrow Collar Man.
Although derided by critics in his lifetime as a mere illustrator whose work could not compete with that of the Abstract Expressionists and other modern art movements, Rockwell has since attracted a passionate following in the art world. His faith in the power of storytelling puts his work in sync with the current art scene. American Mirror brilliantly explains why he deserves to be remembered as an American master of the first rank.
Diane Arbus became famous for her intimate and unconventional portraits of twins, dwarfs, sideshow performers, eccentrics, and everyday “freaks.” Condemned by some for voyeurism, praised by others for compassion, she was nonetheless a transformative figure in twentieth-century photography and hailed by all for her undeniable genius. Her life was cut short when she committed suicide in 1971 at the peak of her career. In the first complete biography of Arbus, author Patricia Bosworth traces the arc of Arbus’s remarkable life: her sheltered upper-class childhood and passionate, all-consuming marriage to Allan Arbus; her roles as wife and devoted mother; and her evolution from fashion photographer to critically acclaimed artist—one who forever altered the boundaries of photography.
More useless than ever before! Impress know-it-all friends with this all-new hodgepodge of frivolous facts and silly statistics that no one really needs to know. But honestly, how cool is it to find out that...
? There is a place in Maryland called Monkey's Eyebrow
? Giving yellow flowers is a sign of bad luck in Russia
? One brow wrinkle is the result of 200,000 frowns
? Paper can be made from asparagus
This is the book that will also tell you...
? The meaning of 'mageirocophobia'
? Where it is illegal to kill a butterfly
? Huckleberry Finn's remedy for warts
? What bodily fluid the Romans used as a hair treatment
And much, much more!
Born in Fort Scott, Kansas, on November 30, 1912, he left home at age fifteen when his mother passed away. For the next twelve years, he lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, working as a piano player, bus boy, Civilian Conservation Corpsman, and professional basketball player before taking up photography in the late 1930s and moving to Chicago. He was awarded the first Julius Rosenwald Fellowship in photography in 1942 and chose to work with Roy Stryker at the Farm Security Administration (FSA) in Washington, D.C. During World War II, he was an Office of War Information (OWI) correspondent.
He photographed fashion for Vogue and Glamour before joining the staff of Life in 1949 and remained a photojournalist for the magazine until 1969. He also became famous in the late 1960s for his stories on Black revolutionaries, later incorporated into his book Born Black. He was a founder and editorial director of Essence magazine from 1970 to 1973.
His film career began in 1961 when he wrote and directed a documentary, Flavio. He received an Emmy Award for another documentary, Diary of a Harlem Family, in 1968. He produced and directed Hollywood films including The Learning Tree, Shaft, Shaft's Big Score, The Super Cops, and Leadbelly.
He is first and foremost a celebrated photojournalist and fine art photographer whose work, collected and exhibited worldwide, is emblematic of American culture. In A Hungry Heart, he reaches into the corridors of his memory and recounts the people and events that shaped him: from growing up poor on the Kansas prairie to withstanding the unbearably cold winters of Minnesota to living on the edge of starvation in Harlem during the Depression. He more than survived the challenges and crises of his life; he thrived and has become one of the most celebrated and diversely talented figures in American culture.
Okay, so maybe you know all the stuff you're supposed to know--that there are teenier things than atoms, that Remembrance of Things Past has something to do with a perfumed cookie, that the Monroe Doctrine means we get to take over small South American countries when we feel like it. But really, is this kind of knowledge going to make you the hit of the cocktail party, or the loser spending forty-five minutes examining the host's bookshelves?
Wouldn't you rather learn things like how the invention of the bicycle affected the evolution of underwear? Or that the 1949 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to a doctor who performed lobotomies with a household ice pick? Or how Catherine the Great really died? Or that heroin was sold over the counter not too long ago?
For the truly well-rounded "intellectual," nothing fascinates so much as the subversive, the contrarian, the suppressed, and the bizarre. Richard Zacks, auto-didact extraordinaire, has unloosed his admittedly strange mind and astonishing research abilities upon the entire spectrum of human knowledge, ferreting out endlessly fascinating facts, stories, photos, and images guaranteed to make you laugh, gasp in wonder, and occasionally shudder at the depths of human depravity. The result of his labors is this fantastically illustrated quasi-encyclopedia that provides alternative takes on art, business, crime, science, medicine, sex (lots of that), and many other facets of human experience.
Immensely entertaining, and arguably enlightening, An Underground Education is the only book that explains the birth of motion pictures using photos of naked baseball players.
Richard Zacks is the author of History Laid Bare: Love, Sex and Perversity from the Ancient Etruscans to Warren G. Harding, which was excerpted in classy magazines like Harper's and earned the attention of the even classier New York Times, which noted that "Zacks specializes in the raunchy and perverse." The Georgia State Legislature voted on whether to ban the book from public libraries. He has studied Arabic, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and Hebrew, and received the Phillips Classical Greek Award at the University of Michigan. He has also told his publisher that he made a living in Cairo cheating royalty from a certain Arab country at games of chance, although the claim remains unverified. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Time, Life, Sports Illustrated, The Village Voice, TV Guide, and similarly diverse publications. Zacks is married and busy warping the minds of his two children, Georgia and Ziegfield. He resides in New York City, and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Hardcover edition.
This book (part of the “What’s So Great About…”) series, gives kids insight into life, times and career of Walt Disney.
As portrayed by acclaimed biographer Neal Thompson, Ripley’s life is the stuff of a classic American fairy tale. Buck-toothed and cursed by shyness, Ripley turned his sense of being an outsider into an appreciation for the strangeness of the world. After selling his first cartoon to Time magazine at age eighteen, more cartooning triumphs followed, but it was his “Believe It or Not” conceit and the wildly popular radio shows it birthed that would make him one of the most successful entertainment figures of his time and spur him to search the globe’s farthest corners for bizarre facts, exotic human curiosities, and shocking phenomena.
Ripley delighted in making outrageous declarations that somehow always turned out to be true—such as that Charles Lindbergh was only the sixty-seventh man to fly across the Atlantic or that “The Star Spangled Banner” was not the national anthem. Assisted by an exotic harem of female admirers and by ex-banker Norbert Pearlroth, a devoted researcher who spoke eleven languages, Ripley simultaneously embodied the spirit of Peter Pan, the fearlessness of Marco Polo and the marketing savvy of P. T. Barnum.
In a very real sense, Ripley sought to remake the world’s aesthetic. He demanded respect for those who were labeled “eccentrics” or “freaks”—whether it be E. L. Blystone, who wrote 1,615 alphabet letters on a grain of rice, or the man who could swallow his own nose.
By the 1930s Ripley possessed a vast fortune, a private yacht, and a twenty-eight room mansion stocked with such “oddities” as shrunken heads and medieval torture devices, and his pioneering firsts in print, radio, and television were tapping into something deep in the American consciousness—a taste for the titillating and exotic, and a fascination with the fastest, biggest, dumbest and most weird. Today, that legacy continues and can be seen in reality TV, YouTube, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Jackass, MythBusters and a host of other pop-culture phenomena.
In the end Robert L. Ripley changed everything. The supreme irony of his life, which was dedicated to exalting the strange and unusual, is that he may have been the most amazing oddity of all.
From the Hardcover edition.
"A first rate book and a joy to read.... It's doubtful that a complete understanding of the director's artistry can be obtained without reading this book.... Also indispensable for budding directors are the addenda, in which Kurosawa lays out his beliefs on the primacy of a good script, on scriptwriting as an essential tool for directors, on directing actors, on camera placement, and on the value of steeping oneself in literature, from great novels to detective fiction."
"For the lover of Kurosawa's movies...this is nothing short of must reading...a fitting companion piece to his many dynamic and absorbing screen entertainments."
--Washington Post Book World
We see Leonardo, having just completed The Last Supper, and being celebrated by all of Florence for his miraculous portrait of the wife of a textile manufacturer. That painting—the Mona Lisa—being called the most lifelike anyone had ever seen yet, more divine than human, was captivating the entire Florentine Republic.
And Michelangelo, completing a commissioned statue of David, the first colossus of the Renaissance, the archetype hero for the Republic epitomizing the triumph of the weak over the strong, helping to reshape the public identity of the city of Florence and conquer its heart.
In The Lost Battles, published in England to great acclaim (“Superb”—The Observer; “Beguilingly written”—The Guardian), Jonathan Jones brilliantly sets the scene of the time—the politics; the world of art and artisans; and the shifting, agitated cultural landscape.
We see Florence, a city freed from the oppressive reach of the Medicis, lurching from one crisis to another, trying to protect its liberty in an Italy descending into chaos, with the new head of the Republic in search of a metaphor that will make clear the glory that is Florence, and seeing in the commissioned paintings the expression of his vision.
Jones reconstructs the paintings that Leonardo and Michelangelo undertook—Leonardo’s Battle of Anghiari, a nightmare seen in the eyes of the warrior (it became the first modern depiction of the disenchantment of war) and Michelangelo’s Battle of Cascina, a call to arms and the first great transfiguration of the erotic into art. Jones writes about the competition; how it unfolded and became the defining moment in the transformation of “craftsman” to “artist”; why the Florentine government began to fall out of love with one artist in favor of the other; and how—and why—in a competition that had no formal prize to clearly resolve the outcome, the battle became one for the hearts and minds of the Florentine Republic, with Michelangelo setting out to prove that his work, not Leonardo’s, embodied the future of art. Finally, we see how the result of the competition went on to shape a generation of narrative paintings, beginning with those of Raphael.
A riveting exploration into one of history’s most resonant exchanges of ideas, a rich, fascinating book that gives us a whole new understanding of an age and those at its center.
Don't get defensive! It's not your fault. For decades your teachers, authority figures and textbooks have been lying to you. You do not have five senses. Your tongue doesn't have neatly segregated taste-bud zones. You don't know what the pyramids really looked like. You're even pooping wrong - Jesus, you're a wreck!
But it's going to be okay. Because we're here to help. Packed with more sexy facts than the Encyclopedia Pornographica, the Cracked De-Textbook will teach you about the true stars of history, why you picture everything from Velociraptors to Ancient Rome incorrectly, and finally, at long last - how to pop a proper squat. This book was built from the ground up to systematically seek out, dismantle and destroy the many untruths that years of misguided education have left festering inside of you, and leave you a smarter person...whether you like it or not. The De-Textbook is a merciless, brutal learning machine. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are informed.
ABOUT THE BOOK
It is impossible to separate Frida Kahlo's work from her life. This most autobiographical of artists created a virtual timeline in her paintings that spanned her entire career as an artist. From the time she began painting while recovering from a brutal accident that left her disabled, to her final struggles, shortly before her death, with a body that was literally wired together, Frida Kahlo chronicled her life on canvas. Above the gruesome aspects of her injuries, above the pain and the surgeries, rose a white hot flame of passion and creativity. When Frida Kahlo suffered, she suffered intensely; when she celebrated, her world became a celebration.
Because of the intensity of these highs and lows, the visceral effect of Frida Kahlo's work hits you with a virtual punch to the stomach. Before you realize it, you're drawn into her world, captivated by those solemn, staring portraits which, in turn, are scrutinizing you as well.
Matthew Santoro's originality and humor has attracted millions of fans, making him a beloved YouTube star. His weekly videos on amazing and little-known facts are eagerly anticipated by his many subscribers and followers around the world. In his first-ever book, Matthew's love of weird and wacky knowledge explodes with new facts and stories from around the planet, and beyond. Surprising, and always entertaining, Mind = Blown offers even more of Matthew's unique take on this hilarious, crazy world:
The most ridiculous laws from past and present
Crazy doppelgangers of people, places, and unexpected things
Historical wizards who actually lived
Real-life animal avengers
And a special section: Japan Blows My Mind!
From shin-kicking competitions and beer pong-playing robots, to enormous fire-balls shooting through space, you won't believe what you'll discover in Mind = Blown. But beware: there is too much astounding trivia for any one mind to contain!
Painter Jean-Michel Basquiat was the Jimi Hendrix of the art world. In less than a decade, he went from being a teenage graffiti artist to an international art star; he was dead of a drug overdose at age twenty-seven. Basquiat’s brief career spanned the giddy 1980s art boom and epitomized its outrageous excess. A legend in his own lifetime, Basquiat was a fixture of the downtown scene, a wild nexus of music, fashion, art, and drugs. Along the way, the artist got involved with many of the period’s most celebrated personalities, from his friendships with Keith Haring and Andy Warhol to his brief romantic fling with Madonna.
Nearly thirty years after his death, Basquiat’s story—and his art—continue to resonate and inspire. Posthumously, Basquiat is more successful than ever, with international retrospectives, critical acclaim, and multimillion dollar sales. Widely considered to be a major twentieth-century artist, Basquiat’s work has permeated the culture, from hip-hop shout-outs to a plethora of products. A definitive biography of this charismatic figure, Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art is as much a portrait of the era as a portrait of the artist; an incisive exposé of the eighties art market that paints a vivid picture of the rise and fall of the graffiti movement, the East Village art scene, and the art galleries and auction houses that fueled his meteoric career. Basquiat resurrects both the painter and his time.
"With the precision of a surgeon, Schiller slices through the façade of Marilyn Monroe in his unflinching memoir. Revealing and readable, it’s a book I couldn’t put down." —Tina Brown
When he pulled his station wagon into the 20th Century-Fox studios parking lot in Los Angeles in 1960, twenty-three-year-old Lawrence Schiller kept telling himself that this was just another assignment, just another pretty girl. But the assignment and the girl were anything but ordinary. Schiller was a photographer for Look magazine and his subject was Marilyn Monroe, America's sweetheart and sex symbol. In this intimate memoir, Schiller recalls the friendship that developed between him and Monroe while he photographed her in Hollywood in 1960 and 1962 on the sets of Let's Make Love and the unfinished feature Something's Got to Give, the last film she worked on.
Schiller recalls Marilyn as tough and determined, enormously insecure as an actress but totally self-assured as a photographer’s model. Monroe knew how to use her looks and sexuality to generate publicity, and in 1962 she allowed Schiller to publish the first nude photographs of her in over ten years, which she then used as a weapon against a studio that wanted to have her fired—and ultimately succeeded. The Marilyn Schiller knew and writes about was adept at hiding deep psychological scars, but she was also warm and open, candid and disarming, a movie star who wished to be taken more seriously than she was.
Accompanying the text are eighteen of the author’s own photographs, some never previously published. Many writers have tried to capture her essence on the page, but as someone who was in the room, a young man Marilyn could connect with and trust, Schiller gives us a unique look at the real woman offscreen.
"In this short, splendid memoir, Lawrence Schiller offers us another cut on the scintillating diamond that is Marilyn Monroe. In clear honest straightforward prose, Schiller allows us to dwell in the heart of another time. He captures Marilyn, both in photographs and words, and in so doing he gives us intimate access into one of the great stories of the 20th century: the complicated cocktail of joy and sadness that goes along with both beauty and fame." —Colum McCann
From the Hardcover edition.
"Beautiful, haunted, evocative and so open to where memory takes you. I kept thinking that this is the book that I have waited for: where objects, and poetry intertwine. Just wonderful and completely sui generis." (Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with Amber Eyes)
An unforgettable voyage across the reaches of America and the depths of memory, Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay follows one incredible family to discover a unique craft tradition grounded in America¹s vast natural landscape. Looking back through the generations, renowned critic Christopher Benfey unearths an ancestry--and an aesthetic--that is quintessentially American. His mother descends from colonial explorers and Quaker craftsmen, who carved new arts from the trackless wilds of the frontier. Benfey¹s father escaped from Nazi Europe--along with his aunt and uncle, the famed Bauhaus artists Josef and Anni Albers--by fleeing across the Atlantic and finding an eventual haven in the American South.
Bricks form the backbone of life in North Carolina¹s rural Piedmont, where Benfey¹s mother was raised among centuries-old folk potteries, tobacco farms, and clay pits. Her father, like his father before him, believed in the deep honesty of brick, that men might build good lives with the bricks they laid. Nurtured in this red-clay world of ancient craft and Quaker radicalism, Benfey¹s mother was poised to set out from home when a tragic romance cracked her young life in two. Salvaging the broken shards of his mother¹s past and exploring the revitalized folk arts resisting industrialization, Benfey discovers a world brimming with possibility and creativity.
Benfey¹s father had no such foundation in his young life, nor did his aunt and uncle. Exiled artists from Berlin¹s Bauhaus school, Josef and Anni Albers were offered sanctuary not far from the Piedmont at Black Mountain College. A radical experiment in unifying education and art, Black Mountain made a monumental impact on American culture under Josef¹s leadership, counting Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, and Buckminster Fuller among its influential students and teachers. Focusing on the natural world, innovative craftsmanship, and the physical reality of materials, Black Mountain became a home and symbol for an emerging vision of American art.
Threading these stories together into a radiant and mesmerizing harmony, Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay is an extraordinary quest to the heart of America and the origins of its art.
Greg Proops is an internationally renowned comedian, best known for starring on the hit improv-comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway? and for his popular award-winning podcast, “The Smartest Man in the World,” which Rolling Stone called “some of the boldest comedy on the podcasting frontier right now.” But Proops is also a fountain of historical knowledge, a wealth of pop culture trivia, and a generally charming know-it-all.
The Smartest Book in the World is a rollicking reference guide to the most essential areas of knowledge in Proops’s universe, from history’s juiciest tales and curious backstories to the movies you must see and the albums you must hear. Full of eclectic and humorous knowledge, it is a concentrated collection and comic cultural dictionary of the essential Proops topics including poetry, proper punctuation, and Satchel Paige, all delivered with his signature style, making the full Proops experience complete.
So if you’re stuck wondering why Alexander was so Great (well, he did conquer the world), which cinema bombshell would be the best shortstop (Hedy Lamarr, of course), what great work of art would be the best to steal (not that you would), or the finest way to prepare vodka-flavored vodka (add vodka), don’t fret, pumpkin butter—The Smartest Book in the World has what you need right now.
Do you want to know what a cockroach’s favorite food is, or how long it would take to drive to the sun?
Amaze your friends and family by telling them that a baby giraffe is six feet long when it is born, or that tigers have striped skin!
From the creators of The Book of Useless Information, this is an amazing collection of the wildest, oddest, funniest facts about history, science, food, animals, and more!
Did you know?
• Wagner only ever wore pink silk underwear.
• There are 34,000 statues of Kim Il Sung in North Korea.
• There is a cult in Malaysia that worships a giant teapot.
• Earthworms have five hearts.
• Your eyebrows renew themselves every 64 days.
• Charles Darwin's tortoise Harriet died in 2006 at the age of 176.
Every fact in this magnificent little volume has been researched with punctilious care in order to bring you the truth in its purest form.
Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling recounts the fascinating story of the four extraordinary years he spent laboring over the twelve thousand square feet of the vast ceiling, while war and the power politics and personal rivalries that abounded in Rome swirled around him. A panorama of illustrious figures intersected during this time-the brilliant young painter Raphael, with whom Michelangelo formed a rivalry; the fiery preacher Girolamo Savonarola and the great Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus; a youthful Martin Luther, who made his only trip to Rome at this time and was disgusted by the corruption all around him. Ross King blends these figures into a magnificent tapestry of day-to-day life on the ingenious Sistine scaffolding and outside in the upheaval of early-sixteenth-century Italy, while also offering uncommon insight into the connection between art and history.
In Montmartre is a colorful history of the birth of Modernist art as it arose from one of the most astonishing collections of artistic talent ever assembled. It begins in October 1900, as a teenage Pablo Picasso, eager for fame and fortune, first makes his way up the hillside of Paris’s famous windmill-topped district. Over the next decade, among the studios, salons, cafés, dance halls, and galleries of Montmartre, the young Spaniard joins the likes of Henri Matisse, André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Georges Braque, Amedeo Modigliani, Constantin Brancusi, Gertrude Stein, and many more, in revolutionizing artistic expression.
Sue Roe has blended exceptional scholarship with graceful prose to write this remarkable group portrait of the men and women who profoundly changed the arts of painting, sculpture, dance, music, literature, and fashion. She describes the origins of movements like Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism, and reconstructs the stories behind immortal paintings by Picasso and Matisse. Relating the colorful lives and complicated relationships of this dramatic bohemian scene, Roe illuminates the excitement of the moment when these bold experiments in artistic representation and performance began to take shape.
A thrilling account, In Montmartre captures an extraordinary group on the cusp of fame and immortality. Through their stories, Roe brings to life one of the key moments in the history of art.
Praise for In Montmartre
"Lively and engaging….[Readers] will find a fresh sense of how all these people—the geniuses and the hangers-on, the wealthy collectors and the unworldly painters—related to each other…..In [Roe’s] entertaining, ingeniously structured account Roe brings Montmatre’s hedyday back to life." —Sunday Times (London)
"With evocative imagery Roe sketches out the intensely visual spectacle on which Montmatre’s artistic community was able to draw…. Roe is particularly good at communicating the extraordinary devotion of Matisse and Picasso to their work." —Financial Times
From the Hardcover edition.
How do you tell the Balkans from the Caucasus? What’s the difference between fission and fusion? Whigs and Tories? Shiites and Sunnis? Deduction and induction? Why aren’t all Shakespearean comedies necessarily thigh-slappers? What are transcendental numbers and what are they good for? What really happened in Plato’s cave? Is postmodernism dead or just having a bad hair day? And for extra credit, when should you use the adjective continual and when should you use continuous?
An Incomplete Education answers these and thousands of other questions with incomparable wit, style, and clarity. American Studies, Art History, Economics, Film, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Science, and World History: Here’s the bottom line on each of these major disciplines, distilled to its essence and served up with consummate flair.
In this revised edition you’ll find a vitally expanded treatment of international issues, reflecting the seismic geopolitical upheavals of the past decade, from economic free-fall in South America to Central Africa’s world war, and from violent radicalization in the Muslim world to the crucial trade agreements that are defining globalization for the twenty-first century. And don’t forget to read the section A Nervous American’s Guide to Living and Loving on Five Continents before you answer a personal ad in the International Herald Tribune.
As delightful as it is illuminating, An Incomplete Education packs ten thousand years of culture into a single superbly readable volume. This is a book to celebrate, to share, to give and receive, to pore over and browse through, and to return to again and again.
From the Hardcover edition.