50th Anniversary of Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

July 11, 2010

Brainiac Books pays tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, first published July 11, 1960.  This novel was one of our favorite books growing up, and the classic film was a great favorite as well.

Shown here is a used copy available from another seller, vintagevampe at Etsy.com.

Below, Brainiac Books‘ sister shop, Arcanium Antiques, has curated this selection of Etsy.com arts, crafts, and vintage items that have resonances with To Kill a Mockingbird.  (Clicking on the image will open a new browser window.)

To Kill a Mockingbird 50th Anniversary by arcaniumantiques on Etsy.

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Of related interest at Brainiac Books:

Answered Prayers: The Unfinished Novel, by Truman Capote.

Softcover published 1988 by Plume Contemporary Fiction/New American Library.  180 pages. “Although Truman Capote’s last novel was unfinished at the time of his death, its surviving portions offer a devastating group portrait of the high and low society of his time.  As it follows the career of a writer of uncertain parentage and omnivorous erotic tastes, Answered Prayers careens from a louche bar in Tangiers to a banquette at La Cote Basque, from literary salons to high-priced whorehouses. It takes in calculating beauties and sadistic husbands along with such real-life supporting characters as Colette, the Duchess of Windsor, Montgomery Clift, and Tallulah Bankhead.  Above all, this malevolently funny book displays Capote at his most relentlessly observant and murderously witty.”–from the publisher.

The South in Modern America: A Region at Odds, by Dewey W. Grantham.

Hardcover published 1994 by HarperCollins.  350pp, Index, B/W photos, maps.  “For almost two decades HarperCollins’s New American Nation series has been synonymous with efforts to synthesize history for both students and scholars.  As the historical discipline diversified, some of the original volumes fell into disuse, even disfavor.  Grantham’s survey of the South since Reconstruction demonstrates the publisher’s wisdom in choosing not to jettison the entire series.  The author (history, Vanderbilt Univ.) took upon himself a formidable task.  It would have been easy to portray the dramatic change brought about by the Civil Rights revolution and the region’s economic progress as a clear focus for modern Southern history.  Instead, Grantham gives the reader background to the vastly different Southern society of a century ago and how that heritage both persisted and was tranformed to where it is today.  Most significantly, he demonstrates how strongly the South continues to influence the rest of the nation while remaining a distinctive region.  Recommended for general and academic collections.”–Charles K. Piehl, Library Journal, 1994.

Dirt Roads to Dixie: Accessibility and Modernization in the South, 1885-1935, by Howard Lawrence Preston.

Softcover published 1991 by University of Tennessee Press.  206 pages; Index; Notes; bibliographic essay; Chronology; black-and-white photos.  “At the conclusion of the nineteenth century, one of the issues that attracted the attention of reformers in the South was road improvements. Populists who subscribed to the tenets of the good roads movement sought to provide farmers with better access to markets, make the cultural and employment opportunities of cities more available, and perhaps even halt the mass exodus of young people from the farms.”–from back cover. Keywords: automobile, Southern, United States, America, American, studies, construction, long-distance, tourist, tourism, highways, interstate, route, motorist, economic, prosperity, transportation, travel.

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If you are interested in more particulars about any of our featured books, search our store at BrainiacBooks.com for the title. If the book is still in our stock, you’ll be taken to the page for that title.

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The Magic Ring of Myth: Some Books on Mythology for Children

June 1, 2010

“Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation.   Religions, philosophies, the arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep all boil up from the basic magic ring of myth.”— Joseph Campbell.

Ancient myths from around the world — along with fairy tales, folklore, and legends — are among the most enduring and appealing subjects of children’s books. The bards and storytellers of oral tradition around the world knew how to capture an audience’s attention, stirring emotions with exciting renditions of adventurous quests.  These tales lend themselves well to particularly beautiful or fanciful illustrations in picture books.

Brainiac Books regularly stocks a good selection of vintage and used books for kids and young adults on the subject of mythology.  Here are some relevant titles currently for sale.   A brief description of each book follows the slideshow.   Visit the online store at Brainiac Books for availability, price, and full description of condition: just use the title search!

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A Brush With Magic: Based on a Traditional Chinese Story, by William J. Brooke; illustrated by Michael Koelsch. Hardcover with dustjacket published 1993 by HarperCollins.  For ages ca. 9-12.  Liang, an orphan boy with a magic paintbrush that brings to life whatever he paints, travels to the court of the Emperor of China to find his fortune and true love.  Keywords: juvenile, children’s book, fantasy, fiction, folk tale, folklore.

Folk Tales of the World: Greece, by A. W. Crown; illustrated by Dean Mitchell.  Hardcover reprint Merit Book Edition published 1967 by Houghton Mifflin. A general introduction to Greek myths for young readers, with lively artwork reminiscent of figures on Greek amphorae.  80 pages; duotone illustrations.  For ages ca. 9-15.  Keywords: juvenile, children’s books, mythology, folklore, legend, Atalanta, Orpheus, Euridice, Theseus, Ariadne, Perseus, Arachne, Cadmus, Europa, Psyche, Eros, 1960s, Sixties.

Folk-Tales of the British Isles, edited by Kevin Crossley-Holland.  Softcover 1985 Pantheon.   393pp, Bibliography.  67 tales from the rich Celtic/English/Norse tradition.  Black-and-white wood engravings by Hannah Firmin.  Language: English.  For ages 15-up.  Keywords: folklore, mythology, fairy tales, fairytales, fables, stories, Great Britain, England, English, United Kingdom, Scotland, Scottish, Ireland, Irish, Wales, Welsh, storytelling, anthology, fairies, beasts, animals, ghosts, giants, heroes, saints, devils, enchantment, enchanted.

The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus, by Aliki.  Softcover published 1994 by HarperTrophy.  48 pages; large, vivid color illustrations on every page.  “Long ago in ancient Greece people created stories — myths — to explain the mysteries of life.  These myths told of gods and goddesses, fearful monsters, brave heroes, and mysterious beauties.  In these pages you will meet the great immortals: Zeus, the powerful king of the gods, and Hera, his beautiful yet jealous wife.  You will meet Athena, who sprung from Zeus’s head fully grown, and the lovely Aphrodite, who rose out of the sea on a cushion of foam.  You will hear the story of the fierce battle fought to earn them their golden thrones.  The awesome Olympians of Greek mythology come to life as Aliki skillfully weaves many of the tales that have fascinated children for generations.” — from back cover. Keywords: picture book, juvenile, Aliki Brandenberg.

Gods and Myths of the Aztecs, by Norman Bancroft Hunt.  Coffee-table hardcover with dustjacket published 1996 by Smithmark.  112 pages; Index; map; large color and black-and-white photos of artifacts and archaeological sites.  For ages 15-up.  ‘[I]ntroduces the traditions, beliefs, and attitudes that governed the Aztec world-view . . . [including] monumental architecture in the form of temples and pyramids, widespread human sacrifice, a sacred calendar on which ritual activities were based, hieroglyphic writing, ritual ball games, [and] a pantheon of gods’–from jacket flap.  Keywords: folklore, mythology, Pre-Columbian, Mexico, Mesoamerica.

Isimeme’s Stories, by Isimeme Ibazebo; illustrated by John Hurford.  Hardcover 1993 Spindlewood, Devon, UK.  32 pages; color illustrations. Language: English.  For ages ca. 4-8.  Three Nigerian / African folk tales: Nnenna and Her Udara Tree, Why the Bat Flies at Night, and Onye and Tunde.  Very dramatic, colorful watercolor and ink artwork; strong portraits of Nigerian people and majestic African animals.  Keywords: juvenile, picture book, children, Africa, folklore.

John Henry: Steel-Driving Man (Folk Tales of America series), by C. J. Naden; illustrated by Bert Dodson.   Slim softcover book published 1980 by Troll Associates.  48 pages; black-and-white illustrations with touches of red.  For ages ca. 5-9.  Tells the tall tales of the legendary (as opposed to the possibly real) railroad worker John Henry and how he beat the steam drill in a race.  Keywords: children’s books, juvenile, African American, Americana, South, Southern, folklore, legend, hero, ‘died with a hammer in his hand’, folk song.

King Midas: The Golden Touch, by Demi. Hardcover with dustjacket published 2002 by Margaret K. McElderry Books.  Ca. 32 pages (pages not numbered).  For ages ca. 4-8.  Gorgeous illustrations in the style of classical Greek vase paintings, and lavished with gold; includes 4-page foldout.  “King Midas is a proud and foolish king who loves gold above all else. In return for helping him one day, a satyr grants the king his dearest wish — all that he touches will turn to gold.  For a time, the king enjoys his gift.  But then the food he puts to his mouth turns to gold so he cannot eat.  And the horse he mounts turns to gold so he cannot ride.  And everyone he touches turns to gold so he no longer has any family or friends.  He has all the gold he could ever want, but he’s not at all happy.  How King Midas learns his lesson and finds happiness is the heart of this classic Greek myth, brought to new life by award-winning artist Demi’s own golden touch.  Sparkling with the colors of the Aegean Sea and with the splendor of gold, this elegant and humorous retelling of an ancient myth will be cherished by readers of all ages.” — from jacket flap.  Keywords: children, juvenile, picture book, mythology, myth, ancient, Grecian.

Land of the Five Suns (Looking at Aztec Myths and Legends), by Kay McManus. Hardcover published 1997 by British Museum Press. 48 pages; color photos from museum collections. For ages ca. 9-12.  Retelling of traditional tales in which the boy Stone Turtle uses creation myths and tales of Aztec gods to distract his younger brother, Two Rabbit Leaping Frog, in order to keep him out of trouble. Includes stories about the founding of the city of Tenochtitlan; the creation and destruction of the first four suns; the creation of human beings; how maize was found; how music was brought to the world; the creation of the sun and moon; and the discovery of chocolate.  Set in the early 1500s, when Spaniards and Aztecs were encountering one another for the first time, this book includes photos of Aztec artwork and artifacts, such as illustrations from the Codex Mendoza.  Keywords: folklore, mythology, juvenile, Pre-Columbian, Mexico.

Legends of the Rhine, by Wilhelm Ruland. Small hardcover with dustjacket, 3rd edition published by Stollfuss Verlag, Bonn. No date stated; circa 1980s?.  286 pages; black-and-white illustrations.  Language: English (translated from the German by Andrew Mitchell and H. J. Findlay).  Also known as The Finest Legends of the Rhine.  Contents include The Nibelungen Lied; The Bells of Speyer; The Knave of Bergen; Heinrich Frauenlob; Eginhard and Emma; The Mouse-Tower; Castle Gutenfels; St. Clement’s Chapel; more.  Keywords: Germany, legend, legendary, folklore, folk tale, fairy tale.

Little Lit: Folklore and Fairy Tale Funnies, edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly. Oversized hardcover published 2000 by RAW Junior / Joanna Cotler Books.  Our copy is SIGNED by both editors (Pulitzer Prize-winner Art Spiegelman and his wife, ‘The New Yorker’ art editor Francoise Mouly) on half-title page.  64 pages.  For ages ca. 5-adult.  Endpapers fold out to create a ‘board’ game, FairyTale Road Rage.  Contributors: Art Spiegelman, Walt Kelly, David Macaulay, William Joyce, Kaz, Daniel Clowes, Barbara McClintock, Harry Bliss, Lorenzo Mattotti, David Mazzucchelli, Joost Swarte, Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Bruce McCall, Ever Meulen, Claude Ponti, J. Otto Siebold.  Designed by Spiegelman and Chip Kidd.  “This is a cool book: cool in the sense that it is presented by 18 renowned cartoonists; cool in the McLuhan sense of comics as a medium that commands audience involvement through iconic forms; and cool in the sense of a marriage of form and content that is brilliant in concept. …  Each [cartoonist] uses a unique style of sequential art to interpret a fairy tale….  This is a sensational introduction to traditional literature for a visually sophisticated generation.  It will live happily ever after in the hands of readers everywhere.” — Kate McClelland, School Library Journal, 2000.  Keywords: juvenile, children, picture book, comix.

Myths and Legends of the Greeks, by Nicola Ann Sissons; illustrated by Rafaello Busoni. Hardcover published 1960 by Hart Publishing Co., NY.  191 pages; black-and-white drawings.  The Sunrise Library series.  26 stories with vivid, realistic, action-packed illustrations.  From front cover: “A fascinating collection of those classic tales which contribute so much to understanding the literature of today. Simple, clear-cut language enhances these beloved favorites.”  Appropriate for ages ca. 5-12.  Keywords: juvenile, fairytales, folklore, mythology, ancient, Greece, heroes, gods, goddesses, monsters, classical.

Prince Ring: Icelandic Fairy Tale, edited by Ann Redpath and Etienne Delessert; illustrated by Heinz Edelmann. Hardcover published 1983 by Creative Education.   Ca. 28 pages (pages not numbered); color illustrations.  With the help of Snati, a talking dog, Prince Ring must perform several miraculous tasks to marry the King’s daughter and break a witch’s spell.  Keywords: Iceland, fairytale, folk tale, folklore, juvenile, princess, Ingiborg, giant.

A Selection of Jataka Tales, by Mahendra Siriwardene.   Softcover reprint published by The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taiwan.  No date stated; circa 1980s.  103 pages; color illustrations.  Language: English.  Stories about Mahasara, Serivanija, Vannupatha, Candakinnara, Culla Sethi, Culladhanuggaha, Illisa, Tilamuthi, Namasiddhi, and Mahasilava.  Keywords: religion, sacred, folklore, folk tale, legend, mythology, Buddhism, Buddhist, Bodhisatva.

Of Witches and Monsters and Wondrous Creatures, by Lisl Weil.   Hardcover with dustjacket published 1985 by Atheneum.  48 pages.  For ages ca. 8-12.  Kids’ overview of magical beings of various cultures since ancient times, such as phoenix, sphinx, dragons, trolls, and witches.  Lively artwork in purple, gold, and turquoise.  Keywords: juvenile, children, myth, mythology, folklore.

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If you are interested in more particulars about any of our featured books, search our store at BrainiacBooks.com for the title. If the book is still in our stock, you’ll be taken to the page for that title.

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Happy Birthday, Irving Berlin

May 11, 2010

Thinking of Irving Berlin (May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989) today on his birthday.  Here is a selection of his classics performed by Bernadette Peters and Peter Allen at the 1982 Academy Awards: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH5tSDBH5gs&feature=related.

Brainiac Books currently has in stock two books about this great 20th-century songwriter:

Irving Berlin: American Troubadour, by Edward Jablonski.  Hardcover published 1999 by Henry Holt.  406 pages; Index; black-and-white photos; list of all known Berlin songs. Language: English.

“Jablonski — biographer of the Gershwins, Harold Arlen and Alan Jay Lerner — has written a vibrant, royally entertaining, song-drenched biography of Irving Berlin.  Jablonski fleshes out the familiar saga of elementary school dropout Izzy (Israel) Baline’s metamorphosis from singing waiter in Manhattan’s Chinatown to fabulously wealthy, endlessly prolific songwriter, Broadway producer, Algonquin Round Table wit and creator of such classics as ‘White Christmas,’ ‘God Bless America’ and ‘There’s No Business like Show Business.’  Chock-full of little-known Berlin lyrics, peppered with gemlike anecdotes and cameos of George M. Cohan, Victor Herbert, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, the Marx Brothers, George Gershwin and many others, this whirlwind portrait cuts a broad swath through the history of Broadway musical theater, Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood.  Jablonski doesn’t disguise his enthusiasm for his subject, though his preferences are debatable.  He ranks Berlin’s score for the 1940 show Louisiana Purchase (inspired by Senator Huey Long’s antics) as a very close second to that for Annie Get Your Gun, and is at pains to defend the corny Mr. President (1962).  Although Berlin (who died in 1989 at age 101) is portrayed as a kindly, edgy, astute lifelong insomniac and less reclusive in his later years than critics contend, the inner man remains somewhat elusive.  Jablonski, who interviewed Berlin, has produced a labor of love, a moving tribute to a streetwise Broadway bard who seemingly instinctively created great popular art.”–Publishers Weekly, 1999.

Irving Berlin: A Daughter’s Memoir, by Mary Ellin Barrett.  Hardcover published 1994 by Simon and Schuster.  320 pages; Index; black-and-white photos. Language: English.

“Irving Berlin’s oldest daughter here tells of growing up with the composer of some of America’s most popular songs. . . .  Barrett details her parents’ well-publicized romance and marriage, which scandalized her mother’s family, and describes life in a household with a Catholic mother from one of the country’s wealthiest families and a Jewish father who earned millions with his music though his parents were penniless Russian immigrants.  It was a storybook childhood, with loving parents, governesses and innumerable servants; homes in Los Angeles, the Catskills and New York City; and daily contact with the rich and the famous.  Yet there was a dark side: the death of the Berlins’ infant son; dry spells when the composer could not write; and periods of depression for both him and his wife, culminating in his later years as a virtual recluse.  Barrett’s bittersweet memoir is affectionate yet candid.”–Publishers Weekly, 1994.

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If you are interested in more particulars about any of our featured books, search our store at BrainiacBooks.com for the title.  If the book is still in our stock, you’ll be taken to the page for that title.

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Respecting the Earth from an Early Age: Used Books on Nature for Young Readers

April 26, 2010

Brainiac Books regularly stocks a good selection of vintage and used educational books for children on the subjects of Nature, ecology, and the environment.  Here are some relevant titles currently for sale.  A brief description of each book follows the slideshow.  Visit the online store at Brainiac Books for availability, price, and full description of condition: just use the title search!

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Are Those Animals Real?: How Museums Prepare Wildlife Exhibits, by Judy Cutchins and Ginny Johnston.  Hardcover with dustjacket 1984 Morrow.  75 pages; Glossary; Index; black-and-white photos.  Foreword by Ralph J. T. Bauer.  A behind-the-scenes introduction to the methods and materials museum artists use to prepare animals for display in dioramas and exhibits.  For ages ca. 9-12.  Keywords: zoological, specimens, models, taxidermy, collection, preservation, design, building, construction, sculpt, sculptor, casting, molds, paint, painter, realistic, scenes, wild, natural, history, habitat, exhibition, career, juvenile.

ButterflyMobile / BookMobile, edited by Amy Cohn. 1994 small fold-out book (ca. 3.75 x 3.5 inches) in little slipcase.  Superclean; no marks; pages bright; binding tight; never used.  Unusual accordion foldout format ca. 2 feet long.  Great color photos and fun facts. Unfolding Natural Wonders from Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural History.  Glorious images unfold to chronicle the life of the butterfly from the caterpillar to the beautiful winged creature.  Hang by a string for a mobile or stretch out to create an interactive sculpture.  Keywords: science, juvenile, Butterfly Mobile.

Crocodiles and Alligators (First Sight Series), by Lionel Bender.  Hardcover reprint 1995 Shooting Star Press, NY.  ‘Grade 5-6– [G]ood clear color photographs or drawings appear on almost every page, alternating with short blocks of text. Boxed inserts with additional facts are scattered throughout.  Included at the end of [the] book is an identification chart portraying representative species drawn to scale (colored dots indicate world distribution) and a simple cut-and-paste craft project….’–Karey Wehner, School Library Journal, 1989.  Keywords: juvenile, children, educational, science, reptile, crocodilian, natural history.

An Educational Coloring Book of Dolphins, edited by Linda Spizzirri; illustrated by Peter M. Spizzirri.  Softcover coloring book 1986 Spizzirri Publishing.  32pp.  Wonderfully detailed full-page drawings show dolphins swimming, diving, leaping, etc.  Facing each drawing is a full page of information about that particular kind of dolphin, including its coloration.  For ages ca. 4-8.  Keywords: juvenile, color, marine, mammal, underwater, ocean, sea, animal, science.

Earthworm, by Andrienne Soutter-Perrot; illustrated by Etienne Delessert.  Hardcover 1993 Creative Editions.  An introduction to eathworms’ physical characteristics, habits, natural environment, and importance to the ecosystem.  32 pages; detailed, colorful illustrations.  For ages ca. 4-8.  Keywords: juvenile, science, biology, ecology, nature, worm, garden, gardening, children, child, picture book, educational.

Gem and Mineral Mobile / BookMobile: Unfolding Natural Wonders, by Chip Clark.  1994 fold-out book in little slipcase (ca. 3.75 x 3.5 inches).  Unusual accordion foldout format ca. 2 feet long.  Great color photos and fun facts.  Unfolding Natural Wonders from Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural History.  Glorious images unfold to reveal the mysterious, fascinating world of mineralogy.  Hang by a string for a mobile or stretch out to create an interactive sculpture.  Keywords: precious stones, science, juvenile, Gem and Mineral Mobile.

The Indian River Lagoon Activity Book. Softcover with stapled binding published by St. Johns River Water Management District, Palm Bay, Florida. Undated; circa 2003.  26 pages; Glossary; map; illustrations in black, blue, and gray.  Cover art by H. McVay.  For ages ca. 9-12.  Instructional unit workbook that discusses the ecology of estuaries in general and the Indian River Lagoon in particular.  Includes fill in the blank, cut-outs for diorama, make a paper food chain, checklist for field visit, etc.  Keywords: children, juvenile, educational, science, biology, earth science, ecosystem, habitat, shore, conservation, aquatic preserve.

Insects (Through the Microscope Series), by John Stidworthy.  Hardcover reprint 1995 Shooting Star Press, NY.  32 pages; Index; Glossary; color photos and illustrations.  For children in grades ca. 4-6.  Images of insects taken through the microscope or by macro-lens photography reveal the various body systems, structures, and aspects of insects, in all their complexity and beauty.  Keywords: juvenile, children, educational, science, bugs, microscopy, microphotography, entomology.

Plants (Ladybird Explorers Series), by David Alderton; illustrated by Studio Boni/Galante and Ivan Stalio. 1st American edition small hardcover 1997 Ladybird Books/Penguin Books.  38 pages; Index, Glossary; color illustrations; 2-sided foldout page of information on silver fir and horse chestnut trees.  For ages ca. 9-12.  Attractive book notable for its layout and clear illustrations.  Keywords: juvenile, botany, ecology, nature, science, garden, horticulture, children, child, picture book, educational.

Plants That Make You Sniffle and Sneeze, by Carol Lerner.  Hardcover with dustjacket 1993 Morrow Junior Books.  32 pages; Index; detailed watercolor illustrations.  ‘Hay fever sufferers may not find a cure here, but they will get a better understanding of what’s causing their problem.  Lerner, known for her reliable books on botanical subjects, comes through again with an intelligent, simply written volume about the plants that commonly cause hay fever allergies.  Discussing the nature, variety, and distribution of pollen, she considers the flowering of trees, bushes, flowers, grasses, and weedy plants throughout hay fever season, suggests ways of avoiding pollen, and offers a brief reading list.  Botanical illustrations notable for their clarity and grace appear throughout the book, some in full color and others in black and white.  An attractive introduction to the subject.’–Carolyn Phelan, Booklist.

The Power Pop-Up Book: Our Planet’s Energy Resources: Production, Consumption, Conservation and Innovation, by Claudio Vita-Finzi; illustrated by Phil Jacobs.  Hardcover 1991 Simon and Schuster.  10 pages; color illustrations.  3 pop-ups and many moving parts, as well as an adult-level scientific text.  For ages ca. 10-up.  Keywords: juvenile, children, educational, science, moveable books, movable, 3-D, three dimensional, environmental, electricity, oil platform, nuclear, plant, electric, generation, hydroelectric, renewable resource, wind, geothermal, heat, wave, fossil fuel, solar, radiation.

An Educational Coloring Book of Primates, edited by Linda Spizzirri; illustrated by Peter M. Spizzirri and Glenn W. Fuller.  Softcover coloring book 1981 Spizzirri Publishing Co.  32pp.  Wonderfully detailed full-page drawings show the animals in natural native habitat.  Facing each drawing is a full page of information about the animal, including its coloration.  Includes gorilla, baboon, various monkeys, macaque, orangutan, gibbon, mandrill, and more.  For ages ca. 4-8.

Rain Forest Amerindians, by Anna Lewington.  Hardcover 1993 Raintree/Steck-Vaughn.  48 pages; Index; Glossary; Further Reading; color photos.  From the Threatened Cultures series.  For ages ca. 9-13.  ‘For 500 years, the Indians of Amazonia have been abused and their land exploited.  Today, many of these groups of indigenous people are uniting in their efforts to protect the land, improve their economic status, and maintain their cultural identity.  This book outlines their problems, citing Christian missionaries, army officers, and politicians as particularly culpable.  Cooperative efforts as well as conflicts that have arisen with conservation groups are also cited.  Readers are encouraged to support the Amerindians’ struggle for human rights, where possible, and their economy by purchasing appropriate rain forest products.  The full-color photographs illustrate the beauty of the area and the ugliness of its devastation.  Sympathetic portraits of the people engaged in their daily activities enhance the presentation.’–Meryl Silverstein, School Library Journal.  Keywords: juvenile, children, educational.

The Red Sea (A New England Aquarium Book), by Kenneth Mallory.  Hardcover with dustjacket 1991 Franklin Watts.  40 pages; stunning color photos; endpaper maps; Index; Glossary.  For ages ca. 9-12.  Examines the animal and plant life and coral reefs of the Red Sea.  Keywords: marine, biology, ocean, aquatic, juvenile literature, children, science, educational.

ReefMobile / BookMobile, edited by Amy Cohn.  1994 fold-out book in little slipcase (ca. 3.75 x 3.5 inches).  Unusual accordion foldout format ca. 2 feet long. Great color photos and fun facts.  Unfolding Natural Wonders from Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural History.  Reveals the mysterious, beautiful world of an ocean reef.  Hang by a string for a mobile or stretch out to create an interactive sculpture.  Keywords: science, juvenile, oceanography, Reef Mobile.

SpiderMobile / BookMobile, edited by Amy Cohn.  1994 small fold-out book (ca. 3.75 x 3.5 inches) in little slipcase.  Unusual accordion foldout format ca. 2 feet long.  Great color photos and fun facts.  Unfolding Natural Wonders from Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural History.  Glorious images unfold to reveal the mysterious, fascinating world of spiders. Hang by a string for a mobile or stretch out to create an interactive sculpture.  Keywords: arachnids, juvenile, Spider Mobile.

Spiders (First Sight Series), by Lionel Bender.  Hardcover reprint 1995 Shooting Star Press, NY.  32 pages; Index; color photos and illustrations.  For children in grades ca. 4-6.  Keywords: juvenile, educational, science, arachnids, web, spiderweb.

Toad, by Andrienne Soutter-Perrot; illustrated by Monique Felix.  Hardcover 1993 Creative Editions.  32 pages; engaging, colorful illustrations.  For ages ca. 4-8.  Discusses the physical characteristics, habits, and natural environment of toads.  Keywords: juvenile, science, biology, ecology, nature, garden, children, child, picture book, educational.

Watch Honeybees With Me, by Judy Hawes; illustrated by Helen Stone.  Hardcover Book Club Edition 1964 Thomas Y. Crowell.  33 pages; lively black-and-white illustrations (some with 2 colors).  For ages ca. 5-9.  A young girl observes bees on a visit to her beekeeper uncle.  A Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out science book.  Keywords: vintage, retro, juvenile, hive, beehive, pollen, nectar, honey, insect, biology, ecology, nature, garden, children, child, picture book, educational.

What We Find When We Look at Molds, by William D. Gray; illustrated by Howard Berelson.  Hardcover 1970 McGraw Hill.  40pp; 3-color illustrations. . For ages ca. 9-12.  Keywords: juvenile, spore, fungus, fungi, botany, penicillin, penicillium, science.

Wolf, by Andrienne Soutter-Perrot; illustrated by Francois Crozat.  Small hardcover 1993 Creative Education. 2pp; lovely, realistic paintings of wolves in natural habitat.  Describes the physical characteristics, life cycle, and behavior of the wolf. Language: English; adapted from the French by Kitty Benedict.  Keywords: animals, predators, pack, carnivores, nature, juvenile.

Yosemite National Park (A Golden Guide), by Douglass H. Hubbard; edited by Herbert S. Zim; illustrated by Rebecca Merrilees and George Sandstrom.  Small slim paperback published 1970 by Golden Press / Western Publishing Company.  80 pages; Index; maps; color photos and art.  Uncommon title in the popular and beloved Golden Field Guides series.  ‘[A] concise, comprehensive guide to one of the most spectacular national parks in the United States. This handy guide is filled with full-color illustrations of the park’s many wonders: sheer cliffs and plunging waterfalls; splendid Sequoias and brilliant wildflowers; fishes, birds, mammals and other creatures. All the facts about the park are here, along with suggestions for sightseeing.’–from back cover.  Keywords: Sierra Nevada, California, nature, naturalist, environment, animals, rocks, geology, wildlife, reptiles, plants, trees, hiking, outdoor, vintage, retro, juvenile, collectible, children, educational, travel, guidebook.

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If you are interested in more particulars about any of our featured books, search our store at BrainiacBooks.com for the title.  If the book is still in our stock, you’ll be taken to the page for that title.

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Arts and Architecture Magazine: A Selection of 1950s Issues

March 6, 2010

Brainiac Books currently has several issues of Arts and Architecture magazine from the 1950s.   Edited and published by John Entenza in Los Angeles, this influential publication was best known for sponsoring the Case Study Houses.  By showcasing significant contemporary architects, designers, and artists, and through columns by art historian Dore Ashton and music critic Peter Yates, Arts and Architecture encouraged the growth of California Mid-Century Modern style.

Arts and Architecture magazine, November 1957, Vol. 74, No. 11

Cover shows detail of sculpture by Bernard Rosenthal. Contents: Homes in America, Part II, by Edmund Burke Feldman; Case Study House No. 18 by Craig Ellwood Associates; Tents by Dr. Frei Otto; Small House by Killingsworth-Brady-Smith; House by Richard Dorman and Associates; Redwood House by Mario Corbett; Lagoon House by Raphael S. Soriano; Bernard Rosenthal – Sculptor; Striking a Light, Part II, by Peter Yates [re ‘Waiting for Godot’]; Art review by Dore Ashton: Notes from France and Spain [Michel Tapie, tachistes, Antonio Tapies, etc.]; more. Beautiful color ads for Knoll Furniture and Pomona Tile.

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Arts and Architecture, October 1955, Vol. 72, No. 10

Cover by Follis and Ehrlich. Contents: Two Income-Unit Structures by Raymond Kappe; Shopping Center by William F. Cody; Room for Five Children by Rex Goode and John Follis; Small Studio House by Robert B. Browne; Small Churches by Louis H. Huebner; House by Harwood Taylor; Small Restaurant by Herb Rosenthal; School by William H. Harrison; Small House by Burdette Keeland Jr.; Espace Exhibition; Light and Structure by Harry Bertoia; A Celebration of Poetry by Peter Yates; more.

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Arts and Architecture magazine, September 1956, Vol. 73, No. 9

Front design by Charles Kratka is among the magazine’s most handsome and striking covers. Contents: House by A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons; Two Houses by H. M. E. Stadler, Jr.; Architectural Office by Killingsworth, Brady and Smith; Pier Luigi Nervi — Concrete Sections from Two New Stadiums; Two-Unit Apartment [Russian Hill, San Francisco] by John Funk; Project for a Country Club by Craig Ellwood; Housing Project — The Homestyle Center, Grand Rapids; House by Paul Laszlo [designer’s own home]; The Psychopathology of Reaction in the Arts, by Herbert Read; Art review by Dore Ashton (re ‘Twelve Americans’ at Museum of Modern Art); Music review by Peter Yates (re Los Angeles Music Festival and Franz Waxman); more. Beautiful ads for Frank Bros. and Knoll.

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Arts and Architecture, November 1956, Vol. 73, No. 11

Cover art by John Follis. Contents: Five Projects by Myron Goldsmith and James D. Ferris; House in the Foothills by Richard Neutra; Tower Hotel by Kenneth McDonald; Design of a Beach House by Stanford Hohauser; Fine Arts Center in Memphis by William Mann, Roy Harrover, Leigh Williams; House for Texas by Neuhaus and Taylor; Experimental House X-100 by A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons; House in Venezuela by Bolton and Barnstone; Dore Ashton on British art; Textiles USA at Museum of Modern Art; more.

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Arts and Architecture magazine, July 1957, Vol. 74, No. 7

Cover shows interior pattern of proposed UCLA dome. Contents: Office Building and Auditorium by Richard J. Neutra and Robert E. Alexander; Airline Ticket Office by Craig Ellwood Associates; Space Frames and Structural Physics by Jeffrey Lindsay; House in New Orleans by Lawrence, Saunders and Calongne; A Chapel in the Philippines by Leandro V. Locsin; House by Richard Dorman and Associates; House by Lucjan Korngold; Two Small Houses by William Sutherland Beckett; Small Office Building by James H. Maul and Burdette M. Pulver, Jr.; New Furniture – Eero Saarinen; Pocket Guide to Architectural Criticism by Jules Langsner; Art review by Dore Ashton (Robert Motherwell, Mirko, Norman Bluhm); Music review of Pierre Boulez by Peter Yates; more.

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Arts and Architecture magazine, August 1957, Vol. 74, No. 8

Cover art by Charles Kratka. Contents: A Century of Modern Design (Part 1), by Edgar Kaufmann; Design and Human Values, by Amiya Chakravarty; Case Study House No. 18 by Craig Ellwood Associates; Case Study House No. 19 by Knorr Elliott Associates; House by Harry Seidler; Brussels International and Universal Exhibition 1958; Mirko; Art review by Dore Ashton (re Mark Rothko); Music review by Peter Yates (re ‘the virtuoso’); more.

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If you are interested in more particulars about any of our featured books, search our store at BrainiacBooks.com for the title.  If the book is still in our stock, you’ll be taken to the page for that title.

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First woman playwright for Shakespeare’s Globe theater

February 18, 2010

“Madam, how like you this play?”  Hamlet, Act 3, scene 2.

Playwright Nell Leyshon is ­making history.  She has been ­commissioned to write a drama for Shakespeare’s Globe theater.  Her play Bedlam will be the first by a woman since the original Globe opened in 1599.  Read more about Leyshon, the Globe, and being the first female playwright in its 400-year history in this article from the Guardian.

Currently in stock at BrainiacBooks.com:

The Sonnets: An Illustrated Edition, by William Shakespeare. Illustrations by Ian Penney. 1st U.S. edition hardcover with dustjacket 1988 Harper and Row. 192 pages; 154 poems; Index of 1st lines. Lovely color artwork on every page: Elizabethan and Jacobean miniatures, as well as specially commissioned paintings. Keywords: poetry, poet, Shakespearean, love, literature.

The Triple Bond: Plays, Mainly Shakespearean, in Performance, edited by Joseph G. Price. Hardcover with dustjacket 1975 Pennsylvania State University Press.  312 pages; 16 essays; Index; black-and-white photos. Published as a tribute to Arthur Colby Sprague.  Interprets Renaissance plays from viewpoints of playwright, actor, director, audience, and critic.  ‘[R]epresents the recent shift in dramatic criticism from the literary analysis of the text to the assessment of the play in performance.’–from jacket flap.  Contributors: Robert Ball, Anne Barton, Muriel C. Bradbrook, Muriel St. Clare Byrne, Nevill Coghill, Alan Downer, Clifford Leech, Kenneth Muir, Jeanne T. Newlin, Lois Potter, Joseph G. Price, Sybil Rosenfeld, Frances Shirley, Rudolf Stamm, John C. Trewin, Stanley Wells, Helen D. Willard, Jane Williamson.  Keywords: performer, performing, history, Shakespeare, drama, theatre, theatrical, production, 1970s.


Shakespeare’s Plays Today: Some Customs and Conventions of the Stage, by Arthur Colby Sprague and J. C. Trewin.  Hardcover with dustjacket 1971 reprint University of South Carolina Press.  147 pages; Indexes; Notes; black-and-white photos.  Changes in modern stagings of the Bard.  Sprague was the founder of the stage-history approach to Shakespeare.  Keywords: theater, Shakespearean, production, performance, contemporary, 20th century.

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If you are interested in more particulars about the Book of the Day or any of our other featured books, search our store at BrainiacBooks.com for the title.  If the book is still in our stock, you’ll be taken to the page for that title.

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De-cluttering One’s Personal Library

December 30, 2009

De-cluttering one’s personal library: Yea or Nay?  What stays, what goes?

How do we decide what to cull and what to keep?  An interesting variety of perspectives can be found in this article in the New York Times: Books You Can Live Without .

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Contemporary Art from China

November 8, 2009

Today’s book is On the Edge of the Millennium: New Art from China, by Michael Goedhuis. Softcover published 2002 by Goedhuis Contemporary. 47 pages; full-page color photos. Cover shows detail of ‘Interior with Mosquitoes and Moths’ by Guo Wei.

On the Edge of the Millennium: New Art from China

This is an exhibition catalogue for 2002 show at the gallery’s New York and London locations.  Full-page color photos and a short essay are provided for each of the artists:  Zhou Tiehai, Zhou Chunya, Shen Xiaotong, Geng Jianyi, Mao Yan, Zhao Nengzhi, Gu Gan, Guo Jin, Guo Wei, Liu Xiaodong, Ding Yi, Hong Hao, Hai Bo, Zhao Bandi, Yu Hong, Wang Jinsong, Wang Dongling, and Qiu Deshu.

The well-written Introduction by Michael Goedhuis briefly discusses the history of art in China in the past hundred years:

Chinese art of the twentieth century developed falteringly between the dominant influences of European aesthetics at the beginning of the century and Western, mostly American, modernism at the end.  At the same time it incorporated an ambivalent relationship with the powerful, albeit fading, legacy of its historic culture. — p. 2.

Goedhuis describes how the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the political control of the Cultural Revolution relentlessly impeded the development of free artistic expression.  By the 1980s the cultural situation began to change for the better, and artists began a period of intense experimentation with, and exploration of, modern Western art.  Now the artists have become more self-assured and less deferential to Western art and the Western art market:

So, although the artistic environment is extremely complex in China today, with striking regional differences and many different styles, some more traditional, others more Western, jostling for prominence, a new completely Chinese sensibility has taken hold in the last few years.  It has enabled Chinese artists, for the first time in a century, to face up to international criteria with a quiet self-confidence — no longer the idiosyncratic chroniclers of a desperate and mysterious passage in history but men and women willing and able to compete on their own terms as artists of the world. — p. 5.

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Also currently in stock at BrainiacBooks.com:

The Paintings of Wang Jinsong – Goedhuis Contemporary, New York, 20th November – 3rd December, 2002

The Paintings of Wang Jinsong

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If you are interested in more particulars about the Book of the Day or any of our other featured books, search our store at BrainiacBooks.com for the title.  If the book is still in our stock, you’ll be taken to the page for that title.

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Witch hunt in West Memphis

October 31, 2009

The final book in our Halloween countdown is Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, by Mara Leveritt.  Softcover 7th printing 2003 Atria Books, NY.  419 pages; Index; Notes; black-and-white photos.

Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three

The crimes at the heart of this book are horrific and heinous, no matter from which side of the controversy they are viewed.  This review from Publishers Weekly provides a good outline of the case:

Arkansas investigative journalist Leveritt presents an affecting account of a controversial trial in the wake of three child murders in Arkansas.  In May 1993, three 8-year-old boys were found mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, a small and tattered Arkansas town.  The crime scene and forensic evidence were mishandled, but a probation officer directed the police toward Damien Echols, a youth with a troubled home life, antiauthoritarian attitudes and admiration for the Goth and Wiccan subcultures.  Amid rumors of satanic cult activity, investigators browbeat Jesse Misskelley, a mentally challenged 16-year-old acquaintance of Echols, into providing a wildly inconsistent confession that he’d helped Echols and a third teen, Jason Baldwin, assault the boys.  Leveritt meticulously reconstructs the clamorous investigation and two jury trials that followed.  All three boys were convicted on the basis of Misskelley’s dubious statements and such evidence as Echols’s fondness for William Blake and Stephen King.  Leveritt, who makes a strong argument that the convictions were a miscarriage of justice, also suggests an alternative suspect: one victim’s stepfather, who had a history of domestic violence, yet was seemingly shielded by authorities because he was a drug informant for local investigators …. Leveritt’s carefully researched book offers a riveting portrait of a down-at-the-heels, socially conservative rural town with more than its share of corruption and violence. — Publishers Weekly, 2002.

The same case was the subject of the riveting HBO documentaries Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations.  We recommend that the films be viewed before reading the book, because they preceded the book chronologically.

The first film created a huge interest in the case, and the West Memphis Three have been a cause celebre ever since.  There is great anger at what is considered to be a modern-day witch trial.  Rock stars, famous actors, and visual artists continue to speak out in support of the three men through benefit concerts and art auctions.  Investigators and legal experts offer their services pro bono to try to get the convictions overturned.  New evidence is still being uncovered.  An extensive website — WM3.org — is devoted to the case and to a fund supporting the release of the three men.

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Also currently in stock at BrainiacBooks.com:

The Kirtland Massacre: The True and Terrible Story of the Mormon Cult Murders, by Cynthia Stalter Sasse and Peggy Murphy Widder

The Kirtland Massacre

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If you are interested in more particulars about the Book of the Day or any of our other featured books, search our store at BrainiacBooks.com for the title.  If the book is still in our stock, you’ll be taken to the page for that title.

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Weirder still

October 30, 2009

Continuing our Halloween countdown, today’s book is Still Weird, by Gahan Wilson.  Softcover published 1994 by Forge / Tom Doherty Associates.

Still Weird

287 pages of ghoulish, warped cartoons in black-and-white by a master of the macabre.  Many of these cartoons originally appeared in National Lampoon, Playboy, and The New Yorker, but this collection also includes 100 brand-new cartoons and 100 more that have never before been published in book form.

From STILL WEIRD by Gahan Wilson

From STILL WEIRD by Gahan Wilson

From STILL WEIRD by Gahan Wilson

From STILL WEIRD by Gahan Wilson

Wilson’s drawing has a distinctive loopy style that perfectly suits his blend of grotesqueness and wit.  His fascination with horror was honed in childhood by the works of H. P. Lovecraft, and he was influenced by the cartoons of Charles Addams.

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Also currently in stock at BrainiacBooks.com:

MAD Magazine No. 89, September 1964

MAD No. 89 Sept. 1964

Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life, by Linda H. Davis

Charles Addams: A Cartoonist's Life

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If you are interested in more particulars about the Book of the Day or any of our other featured books, search our store at BrainiacBooks.com for the title.  If the book is still in our stock, you’ll be taken to the page for that title.

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