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Category: Books (page 5 of 6)

A Christmas Carol Illustrations

Written in 1843 in order for Charles Dickens to help pay the bills, A Christmas Carol quickly became a holiday favorite. From wikipedia:

The tale has been viewed as an indictment of nineteenth century industrial capitalism and has been credited with returning the holiday to one of merriment and festivity in Britain and America after a period of sobriety and sombreness. A Christmas Carol remains popular, has never been out of print, and has been adapted to film, opera, and other media.

Here are some illustrations that have been included with various versions over the years, including those done by John Leech for the 1st edition .

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On the Preparation of Tea

A Nice Cup of Tea, an essay written in 1946 by George Orwell.

If you look up ‘tea’ in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden.

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Generations of Style, Revisited

Scans from “Generations of Style“, by John William Cooke.

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Honda Design

“Honda Design: Motorcyle Part 1 1957-1984” is a great new book that was just published and is a must buy for anyone interested in the history behind motorcycle designs. It documents just about every model that Honda and its teams have produced up until the mid 80’s and a DVD is included with interviews with several noteworthy designers. Best yet, the text is written in both Japanese and English – order it from Rakuten or get it from your local Kinokuniya bookstore.

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My Favourite Shirt: A History of Ben Sherman Style

Before it became the mall brand we know today, Ben Sherman had a long history of producing some of the most popular shirts throughout the 60’s and 70’s. The now out of print book, “My Favourite Shirt” by Paolo Hewitt and Terry Rawlings, explores the history of the company, the man behind it, and how the shirts became part of the uniform for several subcultures.

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Ad Hoc at Home

Thomas Keller’s latest cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home, is his most approachable one yet. It’s very true to its subtitle of “family-style recipes” and all of them are easy to do (I’ve successfully tried about a dozen of them so far). Best yet is that no fancy equipment is needed and just about all of the ingredients that he calls for can be found in most grocery stores. Keller does provide some interesting insights of his throughout the book as well, such as why he prefers canola oil or why you should use palette knives instead of tongs.

Ad Hoc at Home
True foodies might be disappointed by this book as it’s not exactly groundbreaking stuff like Under Pressure or French Laundry, but for everyone else it’s an excellent resource of information and would be a good second or third cookbook to have (after classics like Joy of Cooking, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking).

Destino – Disney and Dalí

Old news for some, but I just learned about this short animation today: Destino.

From wikipedia:

Destino (the Galician, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian word for “destiny”) was storyboarded by Disney studio artist John Hench and artist Salvador Dalí for eight months in late 1945 and 1946; however, financial concerns caused Disney to cease production. The Walt Disney Company, then Walt Disney Studios, was plagued by many financial woes in the World War II era. Hench compiled a short animation test of about 18 seconds in the hopes of rekindling Disney’s interest in the project, but the production was no longer deemed financially viable and put on indefinite hiatus.

In 1999, Walt Disney’s nephew Roy Edward Disney, while working on Fantasia 2000, unearthed the dormant project and decided to bring it back to life. Disney Studios France, the company’s small Parisian production department, was brought on board to complete the project. The short was produced by Baker Bloodworth and directed by French animator Dominique Monfrey in his first directorial role. A team of approximately 25 animators deciphered Dalí and Hench’s cryptic storyboards (with a little help from the journals of Dalí’s wife Gala Dalí and guidance from Hench himself), and finished Destino’s production. The end result is mostly traditional animation, including Hench’s original footage, but it also contains some computer animation. The 18 second original footage that is included in the finished product is the segment with the two tortoises.

Esquire Big Black Book – Fall 2009

Esquire’s fall 2009 edition of their Big Black Book is out in stores now, and available to purchase online for about $10. Like their last spring edition, I felt they missed the mark again in delivering good content. The essays on menswear are long gone, the photography is boring, and even the watches they chose to show were overpriced and tacky.

A potentially good section that fell short was one titled “The Revisionists”, which from what I could tell was supposed to be on modern tailoring adapting to current needs and featured Dries Van Noten, d’Avenza, Dunhill, and Norton & Sons. Instead, the four page spread just showed a suit from each company with a short paragraph about each. wtf Esquire?

I recommend saving your $10 and investing it into a copy of Rake.

Esquire Big Black Book Fall 2009

Yosemite in the Sixties

Get this book. From an old WSJ review:

In 1959, Glen Denny, a relatively inexperienced mountain climber who was working as a busboy at the Yosemite Lodge in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, was invited to assist the renowned climber Warren Harding as he attempted the first ascent of an improbably steep granite prow called Washington Column. In the climbing world, Mr. Denny’s opportunity was akin to a housepainter’s being asked if he’d like to hand brushes to Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. The experience brought him into the fold of a tight-knit group of climbers who would shortly begin making history in the Yosemite Valley, inventing equipment and techniques that would revolutionize the sport around the world. Mr. Denny spent the better part of a decade participating in many of those precedent-setting climbs, as well as recording the era in gorgeous black-and-white photographs, now collected in “Yosemite in the Sixties.”

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The Sapeurs of the Congo

Browsing through recent entries on Paul Smith’s blog led me to this photography book due to be released soon, titled the Gentlemen of Bacongo. It covers the Sapeurs, a subculture of dandy men that love to dress up in fine clothing despite living in near poverty conditions in Africa. I hope to have a copy as soon as it’s available.

Gentlemen of Bacongo

More reading on the Sapeurs:

“Paradise Is a Fabulous Suit”

Their canon of saints reads: Pierre Cardin, Roberto Cavalli, Dior, Fendi, Ferré, Gaultier, Gucci, Jourdan, Miyake, Prada, Saint Laurent, Versace, Yamamoto. A typical ballad runs: “Listen my love. On our wedding day/The label will be Torrente/The label will be Giorgio Armani/The label will be Daniel Hechter/The label for the shoes will be J. M. Weston.” Brussels, their shopping mecca, is referred to in Congolese as Lola, meaning paradise.

“In Congo, Designer Cheek”

Before bling and ghetto fabulous, before the dawn of the metrosexual, Congolese men have been pushing the limits of outlandish fashion and heterosexual male vanity, roaming the streets like walking advertisements for the world’s top labels. These fashionistas were donning fur coats and gaudy jewels as early as the 1970s, when American hip-hop star Sean Combs was still accessorizing with a grade-school lunchbox.

“The white man may have invented clothes, but we turned it into an art,” said Congolese musician King Kester Emeneya, who helped popularize the Sape movement with the legendary Papa Wemba, who is often called the pope of the Sapes. Emulated and admired by a generation of African musicians, Wemba once called fashion his religion, advising devotees that what they wore was more important than school.

And many great pictures are available here: “The Congolese Sape”

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