Lifestyle and Culture

Big League Dreams

By

The captivating new novel by the author of Small Worlds chronicles the loves and unbounded dreams of the villagers from Krimsk, now thriving in America.

In St. Louis, it is the summer of 1920 and the day is the Sabbath, but there is little rest for the Jews from Krimsk and less reverence for the wondrous Krimsker Rebbe, who led them to the New World seventeen years before. The rebbe's former hasidim have embraced America to discover that the vision of "gold in the streets" evokes larceny in the heart. Matti Sternweiss, the ungainly, studious child wonder in Krimsk, now the cerebral catcher for the St. Louis Browns, is scheming to fix Saturday's game against the pennant-contending Detroit Tigers.

It is an American Sabbath: Prohibition, bookies, the criminal syndicate, the Hiberian fellowship of the police brass, hometown blondes, a bootlegging rabbi, and big league baseball. It is also Krimsk in America: Boruch Levi, the successful junkman, confiscates his zany, crippled brother-in-law Barasch's sizable bets; Barasch's lusty wife, Malka, has her own connubial reasons for wanting to stop the gambling; the chief of police fatefully inspires his loyal disciple, Boruch Levi, to bring Matti before the Krimsker Rebbe on the Sabbath in order to preserve the purity of the national pastime.

Recluse and wonder-worker, messianist and pragmatist, the Krimsker Rebbe navigates the muddy Mississippi River, haunted by a recurring prophetic vision of Pharaoh's blood-red Nile. In the final, decisive innings, with Matti crouched behind home plate, it will come down to Ty Cobb versus the kabbalah.

Richly imagined, populated with robust, complex characters, Big League Dreams is a profoundly original, inspiring, and comic creation. It is the second volume in the series Small Worlds, which follows the people of Krimsk and their descendants in America, Russia, Poland, and Israel. In each volume Allen Hoffman draws on his deep knowledge of Jewish religion and history to evoke the finite yet infinite "small worlds" his characters inhabit.

Read more

Gargoyles Postcard Book

Thirty mischievous gargoyles have been captured in these delightful and frightfully amusing postcards.

From their lofty perches they spit, stick their tongues out, threaten, and even laugh at us. Ugly and grotesque, gargoyles may have once been used to terrify all those who came near them. Today, however, their entertaining expressions and often bawdy behavior are frightfully amusing. Thirty of these mischievous devils are presented here in these delightful postcards from Abbeville Press.Inspired by the Abbeville Press book Holy Terrors: Gargoyles on Medieval Buildings.

Read more

Rorstrand Porcelain

Art Nouveau Masterpieces

By

The first definitive study of the Art Nouveau masterpieces of the Swedish Rörstrand porcelain factory.

The artists of the influential Rörstrand porcelain factory in Sweden created some of the most beautiful decorative objects of the Art Nouveau style. In his fascinating and authoritative text, Bengt Nyström focuses on the Rörstrand factory's designers and their revolutionary forms during the period 1865 to 1915, when the firm successfully competed artistically with Tiffany and Gallé in the great international expositions that showcased and helped to propagate the Art Nouveau style.

Inspired by late 19th-century crafts movements fathered by William Morris, the artists of the Rörstrand factory took nationalistic pride in incorporating their indigenous flora and fauna into their exquisite designs, transforming wintry berry springs and northern sea creatures into elegant three-dimensional works of art that appealed to a sophisticated European clientele.

Illustrated with objects from Robert Schreiber's outstanding collection, supplemented with craftsmen's drawings and archival documents, Nyström's thoroughly researched text includes engaging glimpses of the culture surrounding Rörstrand (a former castle), especially the close-knit community of insightful administrators, talented designers and inventors, and artisans. The book chronicles not only the company's artistic achievements but the day-to-day personalities and decisions behind the emergence of this once-utilitarian factory as the birthplace of some of Sweden's most beautiful decorative objects.

Read more

Hieroglyphics

The Language of Ancient Egypt

By

A complete handbook revealing the secrets of the hieroglyphic writing of the Nile Valley, which provides a still-vivid snapshot of the gods, the people, and the everyday life of the Ancient Egyptians.

Both literal and highly lyrical, hieroglyphics bring alive a distant world, with descriptions of the natural environment, the art, the society, the religious beliefs, and even the philosophical basis of a culture that flourished 5,000 years ago. Presenting and explaining almost 600 of the figures used in the classic phase of Egypt's "sacred writing," this fascinating volume traces the origins and the meaning of each sign, as well as its graphic stylization.

An opening essay reveals the secrets of the hieroglyphic system, including its development and its structural characteristics, and emphasizes the sacred, evocative, even magical power of the form, which — unlike our own abstract alphabet — is immediate and expressive. Concluding the book are a complete glossary, a bibliography, and an index, designed to make this book invaluable to the casual reader as well as the student and specialist.

Read more

Small Worlds

By

Classic in its vision and generosity, this extraordinary novel follows the lives and loves of the villagers of Krimsk, a small Hasidic settlement in Eastern Europe, in 1903.

A selection of the Jewish Book Club

The Russians called it Krimsk; the Poles called it Kromsk, but it was mainly the Jews who lived there. They called it whatever their hosts preferred. Krimsk-so it was called in 1903-had hills and valleys, forests not far from town, pastures and Welds close by . . .

In the little town of Krimsk the Jews are about to celebrate Tisha B'Av, the day of mourning marking the destruction of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. The teacher has instructed the young pupils in his primary class. And the Krimskers' beloved rebbe, who has secluded himself in his study for the past five years, has suddenly, mysteriously emerged on the eve of the holiday. But the joy of his congregants at seeing him is to be shortlived. For this Tisha B'Av will be a time of strange and momentous events, a time that will change their lives forever.

Across the river is the Polish town of Krimichak, where dwells the rebbe's rival for power, Grannie Zara. The women of Krimsk have always secretly crossed the river to consult her, and even on this fateful night, one determined woman and one small boy from the primary class unwisely feel the need to visit her. There have been pogroms nearby, and the relationship between the people of the two towns, always uneasy, is in danger of igniting.

On this night, too, the rebbe and his wife are discussing a groom for their only daughter, who has reached the age to stand under the wedding canopy. The rebbe summons to their home the man he has chosen. In another part of town, a different young man, a stranger swept up in the revolutionary ferment stirring all of Russia, stops for a while at the Angel of Death, the empty new synagogue. It is he who will face the angry mob from Krimichak as it crosses the bridge into Krimsk-with consequences that will affect and astonish everyone.

Small Worlds is the first in a series of novels concerning the people of Krimsk and their descendants in America, Poland, Russia, and Israel. In each volume Allen Hoffman draws on his deep knowledge of Jewish religion and history to evoke the "small worlds" his characters inhabit.

Echoes of Jewish literary tradition can be heard in Small Worlds, especially the mystical realism of Isaac Bashevis Singer and the poignant humor of Sholom Aleichem, on whose tales Fiddler on the Roof is based.

Read more

The Heart's Journey

By

An inspiring tale of the resilience and triumph of the human heart.

The Heart’s Journey is a universal story of love, loss, and the growing process that leads to greater self-knowledge. The tale of a heart that encounters pain and suffering only to be healed by the power and security of love, this story transcends language and speaks directly to our emotions. Artist Judy Pelikan’s heartfelt and lovingly rendered illustrations depict the human heart’s strength and capacity for love so eloquently and persuasively that words are hardly needed.

An inspiration and a joy to anyone who has encountered emotional hardship and who knows, or will know, that the heart is a resilient muscle, The Heart’s Journey is the perfect gift for somebody who needs to remember that the heart always emerges triumphant.

 

Read more

Martha's Vineyard

An Affectionate Memoir

By

The legendary island of Martha's Vineyard is revealed as never before through inspiring paintings by Ray Ellis and a captivating history by Ralph Graves.

Martha's Vineyard is a celebrated vacation haven equally captivating summer residents and daytrippers. Among the Island's ardent admirers are Ray Ellis, whose paintings created over a 25-year period depict his love of the Vineyard, and Ralph Graves, whose lively, affectionate history spans 400 years.Offering great natural beauty, the Vineyard, separated from Cape Cod by a seven-mile stretch of ocean, is a perfect place for a summer vacation. The Island's devotees have included public people who value their privacy, Jacqueline Onassis, Princess Diana and President Clinton, to name a few, as well as ordinary folks who are seeking a special holiday.Featuring 100 of Ray Ellis's luminescent oils and watercolors, this book provides a unique appreciation of the Island's delights. Here is a wide range of scenes from quiet landscapes to such beloved annual events as the county fair. In addition to vignettes of sunny months Ray Ellis salutes the Vineyard at other times of the year-the glorious arrival of fall, the sedate pace of winter and the inaugural of springtime.Rounding out this marvelous pictorial album is a fascinating text by Ralph Graves. He has written a concise history from its discovery in 1602 to its present-day active conservation efforts. The memoir also includes interviews with five long-time residents who provide insightful, firsthand accounts of their special connection to the Island. This book is an ideal gift for anyone who has ever felt the lure of the Vineyard as well as for those who have yet to fall in love with this extraordinary Island.

Read more

Munich

City of The Arts

By

The splendor and richness of the art and architecture of the Bavarian capital are captured in this volume.

Breathtaking photographs and details provide a tour through the rich sites of this legendary city. Tracing Munich's history from the 12th century through the present, this sumptuous book illustrates the city's treasures, from the collections of antiquities in the Alte Pinakothek, to incomparable baroque and rococo buildings, to the neon-lit festivities of the modern-day Oktoberfest.

Hans F. Nöhbauer is the author of various books on the history and culture of Bavaria, including the The Chronicle of Bavaria. Dr. Nöhbauer is the arts editor of Abendzeitung, the prominent Munich daily.

Achim Bunz was educated at the Academy for Photodesign in Munich. His photographs have been frequently published in leading European newspaper and magazines.

Read more

Taj Mahal

By

A sumptuously illustrated portrait of perhaps the most fascinating architectural marvel of all time.

Built between 1632 and 1643 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his deceased wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is unquestionably the most renowned mausoleum in the world. Now this legendary monument to love can be seen as no visitor to the site has ever viewed it. On the pages of this exquisitely illustrated volume, the Taj Mahal is revealed detail by detail. Starting inside the mausoleum, a sequence of closeups show the semiprecious stones, inlaid in white marble, that form the interior's Koranic calligraphy and floral patterns. The next sequence of images presents the octogonal plan of the structure, emphasizing both its perfect symmetry and its subtle variations. The final sequence is devoted to the decorative patterns carved in the walls of the mosque and entrance gate. In addition, four lavish fold-out photographs show the entire Taj Mahal complex from different perspectives.

In their informative texts, authors Amina Okada and M.C. Joshi provide historical and architectural analyses of the Taj Mahal. Quotations from the Koran and from the journals of travelers as diverse as Jean-Bapiste Tavernier, Pierre Loti, and Aldous Huxley complete a breathtaking tribute.

Before his death in 1992, photographer Jean-Louise Nou captured the beauty of India in many books, including The Art of India.

Amina Okada, curator of the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques Guimet in Paris, is the author of numerous books and articles on Mughal India.

Dr. M.C. Joshi is a member of the Archaeological Survey of India in New Delhi.

Read more

Tropical Style

Private Palm Beach

By

An intimate glimpse at a score of homes exhibiting a wide range of approaches to living under the tropical sun.

Both old and new money flocks to Palm Beach for "the season", and the houses that line the oceanfront and Intercoastal Waterway exhibit a remarkable range of approaches to living under the subtropical sun. Among the twenty homes that are featured in this lavish volume are those of Dorothy Spreckels Munn and Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau. All the most renowned Palm Beach architects — Addison Mizner, Maurice Fatio, Howard Major, and Belford Shoumate — are represented.

But author Jennifer Ash also takes us off the beaten path to fascinating residences known to natives alone: an artist's bungalow on the bohemian Root Trail, a luxuriously appointed yet fully seaworthy yacht, a cozy retreat in a landmark church. And while relating the gossip-packed history of many of the island's famous residents, she gives us a guided tour of interiors created by both local and world-renowned designers, including David Easton and Juan Pablo Molyneux.

From the rococo splendor of Mar-a-Lago — designed by Joseph Urban for Marjorie Merriweather Post and now owned by Donald Trump — to the ultra-modern chic of a house by Richard Meier, Private Palm Beach affords intimate access to life behind the island's meticulously manicured hedges.

Read more

Southwestern Indian Jewelry

By

A dazzling exploration of both traditional and contemporary jewelry.

Spectacular photographs of the breathtaking beautiful objects and sensitive portraits of the artists combine with an insightful, informative text to capture the spirit of this work and the vital cultures from which it springs.

This ground-breaking volume opens by surveying the vividly colored necklaces, earrings, and pins made in shell and stone from prehistoric times to the present, particularly in the Santo Domingo and Zuni pueblos. The focus then shifts to the much-admired and avidly collected work in silver — often set with turquoise and other stones — by Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni artists. The book culminates in an exploration of striking contemporary work in which many artists have adapted traditional approaches to create original designs. A collector's guide offers invaluable advice as well as an illustrated glossary of materials, techniques, objects, and designs. A nationwide directory of sources concludes the book.

Read more

The Complete Book of Bonsai

A Practical Guide to Its Art and Cultivation

By

Presenting a unique blend of information and ideas, The Complete Book of Bonsai is the most lavish and up-to-date guide to the subject yet published. Harry Tomlinson is an internationally recognized authority on bonsai, and here brings this absorbing discipline within everybody's reach.

CLASSIC STYLES EXPLAINED

The origins and development of bonsai are traced, and the underlying principles of this fascinating art clearly explained. The classic styles are listed and illustrated, together with full descriptions of how they were derived from models in the world. Outstanding examples of plantings in all of the various styles are shown. The types of containers are detailed, and the importance of their use for different trees or styles explained. Advice is given on placing and exhibiting your completed bonsai.

CLEAR STEP-BY-STEP SEQUENCES

There is comprehensive information on how to create a bonsai from a seedling, cutting, or garden center plant. Clear step-by-step sequences take you from the initial raw material through to the finished bonsai, showing the superb results that can be achieved. All the tools and techniques of bonsai are illustrated and explained, and their use described in detail. Maintenance and propagation sections tell you everything you need to know to keep your bonsai beautiful and healthy, or to create your own trees.

DETAILS OF MORE THAN 100 SPECIES

A photographic catalogue of bonsai trees and shrubs lies at the heart of the book, providing the cultivation and styling details of over 100 different species. Each entry is accompanied by an original full-color photograph of at least one outstanding specimen. This section is supplemented by a further compendium of trees and shrubs that can be grown as bonsai, giving a total of over 300 to choose from. The Complete Book of Bonsai reveals every aspect of the art, with inspirational ideas and practical advice at every turn. Whether you are a beginner who would like to grow just one or two trees, or an experienced enthusiast who wishes to build up a whole collection, it is the essential reference work.

Read more

The Japanese Tattoo

By

The definitive book on a fascinating art form, whose popularity continues to increase.

A crimson fish wrestles a man. A horned demon stares menacingly. These vivid scenes are tattoos, created in pain, incised in the flesh of the Yakuza, Japan's feared secret society of gangsters. They are the visions of the Irezumi, the legendary tattoo artists, who spend years creating living masterpieces. Photographer Sandi Fellman describes this strange and violent world both in her text and in her stunning, large Polaroid photographs.

American photographer Sandi Fellman used a rare large size Polaroid camera to create these photos of Irezumi Japanese men and women who wear elaborate full-body tattoos. Fellman treats the tattoos as artworks and their creators as artists. Her text touches on the tattooing process, common motifs, the sociology of the tattoo, and relationships between the tattoo masters and their clients. Author D.M. Thomas has contributed two pages of his reactions to these unusual and even disturbing images. The 46 color plates in this volume, most of them whole body nudes, should prove provocative, fascinating, or repellant to a wide variety of library patrons. -- Library Journal

Read more