Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Seven books for the New Year

A windfall in the form of a massively generous holiday check from my mother-in-law prompted me to go on a book-buying binge.

The purchases were made on Amazon, at the downtown Powell’s, and in Multnomah Village at Annie Bloom’s Books and Post-Hip store of used CDs and remaindered books.

Here’s what whim and interest led me to purchase:

Ellen Lupton's “Thinking with Type,” because type is beautiful and, McLuhan-like, conveys a message within the message. The carefully crafted book’s design and illustrations celebrate the topic.

D.J. Taylor’s “Orwell,” which I hope deepens the answer to the question: Why does the world need another biography of Orwell? Before I read the book, my own answer is that the world can never know too much about Orwell and his works...and is in danger of knowing too little.

Jeffrey Sach’s “The End of Poverty,” which was remaindered at Powell’s. A bad sign for a topic of this timely weight. Solemn fact: 15,000 children die of malnutrition and starvation each DAY in Africa. Fifty will have died in the time it takes you to read this post.

“The Lessons of St. Francis,” also remaindered at Powell’s, an equally bad sign for similar reasons relating to our times.

S.J. Perelman’s “The Swiss Family Perelman” with illustrations by the estimable master of line, Al Hirschfeld...also remaindered, a good sign for me. Conclusion: with astonishing flourish, acerbity and accuracy, Perelman was the fastest word slinger in the East.

P.D. James’ “The Children of Men,” proclaims on the cover, “soon to be a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE.” A review of the film, with a description of the plot about a childless world, inspired me to buy the book.

Peachpit Press’s Visual Quick Start Guide to HTML….This one’s for you, dear Red Electric reader. I hope it will tell me, among other things, how to center a photo’s caption and “flush right” its credit line.

This modest pile now teeters atop earlier piles. Because they are on the uppermost stratum, these volumes will be the first I reach for. Either directly or indirectly, I hope to share their eclectic content in the weeks to come.

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