- Caldecott Medal winning illustrator enjoys fruitful career (via JSOnline)
- The release of Chanel trilogy excites (via Myfashionlife)
- Fashion photog Terry Richardson captures Lady Gaga on the road (via Toronto Star)
- Pad & Quill’s old world techniques go into covers and cases for digital reading devices (via Startribune.com)
- The life of textile artist Michael O’Connell captured in new book (via The Age)
- Coffee-table book commemorates 75th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater (via Post Gazette.com)
- The evolution of the “Cape” style home followed in book (via Barnstable Patriot)
- Bookseller and book conservator, all under one roof (via Times News.net)
- Artbooks and more for holiday gifts (via NY Times)
- Photobook captures Bali in all its glory (via Jakarta Globe)
- New graphic design book hits shelves (via SFGate)
- The muscular elegance of the Mustang featured in coffee table book (via Go2Geiger)
- Some big ole coffee table books hit the recommendation list (via Chron.com)
Well, we are racing towards the end of 2011. With the weeks ticking away, we decided to sit down and rank our top ten reviewed books of 2011. So, over the next five weeks, we’ll count down our favorite books of this past year.
Please enjoy this look back and countdown of the Boston Book Bums Top 10 of ’11.
Coming in at Number 10…
As long time devotees of the period, we looked forward to Emelyne Godfrey’s examination of an unchecked topic, violence in real world England and its reflection in literature of the time.
Godfrey points out very early in her work that crime during the mid-19th century in London was low. She slowly pieces together periodicals, fiction and news of the day to explain that sometimes the fear felt by Londoners was more artificial than genuine.
She illuminates the perceived wave of ‘garotting’ attacks on London residents in the 1850s, where thugs would work in teams to choke and rob a pedestrian, and how periodicals stoked the panic.
Balancing examination of period literature, like the Palliser novels or the Sherlock Holmes canon, Godfrey produces interesting portraits of the weapons, defenses and psychologies utilized by Victorian era gentlemen. From studding anti-garroting collars, to belt buckle pistols, canes and even cudgles, Godfrey delves into the tools of defense and how they expressed masculinity in the era. Interestingly, guns were the pinnacle of aggression and rarely utilized by heroes of fiction, even though they captured the imagination of men of the day.
One of the book’s continuing themes is the repressed aggressive instincts of Victorian men, seeking ways to explore physical heights but at the same time mastering one’s desires and become a gentleman at his pinnacle. Competing desires for masculine vigor and intelligent reserve are well explored by Godfrey.
Also, Godfrey spends a smart length examining the fascination with Asian martial arts and how, when they were brought to the UK, were manifested by the little known discipline of Bartitsu. Some who saw the most recent big screen adaptation of Sherlock Holmes scoffed at the pugilistic turn. However, as Godfrey points out, Holmes was a practitioner of bartitsu and it was a key element of crafting the thinking man’s paladin.
Also, Godfrey does leverage Freudian themes, in particular when it comes to weapons/sexuality, but does not bog down the work.
Overall Masculinity, Crime and Self Defence in Victorian Literature is a well constructed voyage into an unexplored subject on the collision of crime, masculinity and literature.
Masculinity, Crime and Self-Defence in Victorian Literature by Emelyne Godfrey was received for free by the Boston Book Bums
- Collecting the stories of veterans before their voices are lost (via Tampa Bay Online)
- Aging Army vet collects and dispatches books to troop, 32,000 strong and growing (via Cleveland.com)
- Australia writes after the wars have been fought (via The Australian)
- New book features women and guns (via NPR)
- A new take on the divided loyalties during the Civil War (via Herald-Mail.com)
- Limited run book on the art of guns and hunting (via RifleShooter)
- Master of the field, arrogant as well (via Stuff NZ)
- Interview with former Special Forces soldier turned author (via Virtual Pulp Press)
- UK booksellers serve up some cookbook suggestions (via Northampton Chronicle)
- Exchanging books for cookbooks (via Daily Journal)
- New cookbook asks what do chefs cook at home (via The Advertiser)
- Holiday season means a stack of cookbook recommendations (via USA Today)
- Books from San Francisco foodie luminaries as gifts (via SF Examiner)
- The art of veggie growing chronicled in new book (via Which UK)
- Books for the foodie in your life (via TC Palm)
- Nostalgia in cookbook form (via Commercial Appeal)
- What are the best foodie books of 2011 (via Esquire)
In The Ice Museum, author Joanna Kavenna goes a physical and intellectual search for this icy land that fascinated ancient and modern men.
Part travelogue, The Ice Museum records Kavenna’s travels throughout northern Europe and westward to Greenland. Enjoyable for that reason alone, The Ice Museum is a chronicle of a icy journey past and present.
Understanding that precious few will know what Thule is, or was, Kavenna wisely spends the first chapter, Flight, exploring the history of Thule from the time when Greek explorer Pytheas claimed to have visited the barren land of ice in the 4th century B.C.E.
Kavenna follows explorers of the 19th and 20th centuries like Richard Francis Burton and Norway’s Fridtjof Nansen. She also notes that any number of writers, from Pytheas, to Pliny the Elder and Edgar Allen Poe, were fixated on the allure of the lost land, reportedly six days sail north of Scotland.
Most interestingly, Kavenna seriously explores how Thule mythology played into the hands of supporters of early Nazi Germany. The Thule Society, which you can find numerous references to online with limited accurate or unbiased information, was founded by quasi-intellectuals reeling from Germany’s World War I loss.
Their anti-Semitism melded with strange beliefs and ‘truth’ of the Norse Sagas to turn the Thule Society into a force to be reckoned with. Kavenna provides a particularly clear profile of the odd and hazily known leader of the Thule Society, Rudolph von Sebottendorff. And while the society ultimately faltered, it helped inspire some of the most detestable figures from history.
Kavenna’s The Ice Museum is solid, illuminating look at not just where Thule might have been (if anywhere at all) but what it inspired in mankind- either in the name of adventure or evil.
The Ice Museum by Joanna Kavenna was purchased for review by Boston Book Bums
- Best art books of the year as gifts (via Wall Street Journal)
- Digital art anthology book to benefit Japan (via Bleeding Cool)
- Painted women and cosmetic art on display in new book (via Telegraph)
- Another round of art books as gift ideas (via SFGate)
- And one more list of art books for the holidays (via NY Times)
- Six must-have books on design (via Fast Company)
- New book features fashion icon Eleanor Lambert (via Style Bistro)
- Street fashion photographer featured in book (via Seattle PI)