There are many writers in many films. In Body Double, a book of eight chapters, with acknowledgements, afterword, notes, filmography, bibliography, and index, University of Pittsburgh English and Film Studies professor Lucy Fischer gathers together for examination a great bunch of films in which writers appear—Naked Lunch, Smoke, Deconstructing Harry, Paris When It Sizzles, Barton Fink, Adaptation, How Is Your Fish Today?, Swimming Pool, The Singing Detective, and Providence, among others.
In reading some of the description of Gertrude Stein’s life, and how she came to be an art patron—a friend to artists, an owner of their work, a facilitator of relationships—I was impressed by how intimate and simple were the lives of now famous artists, how vivid the memory. One artist spreads news of the work of another artist, Pissarro talking with others about Cezanne; or one gallerist, Vollard, introducing Cezanne, Daumier, Manet, Renoirs, and Gauguin to those who might appreciate them.
The book is designed to be used in a kinaesthetic way – through practical exercises that take the writer from the brainstorming of story ideas through to a three-act plot, writing a workable synopsis, creating characters, working up dialogue, themes, setting, building conflict, using symbols, setting scenes, and working up a cohesive story plan (call it an outline if you want). All of these are elements of good fiction, and Jaden covers them in a surprising amount of detail and in a way which is not facile at all.
All in all the book is well written, provides a wealth of information regarding many agricultural animals, is filled with many photos of animals often not seen any more. Humans have long bred critters to improve productivity, the few breeds used today mean many of the rarer, interesting breeds are being ignored. Realizing the importance of maintaining gene pool capability enables enthusiasts who are setting up small breeding programs to conserve for the future farm animals for future generations to know and enjoy.
Not only does Allardice bring to the fore the lives of these men, but, he clarifies the procedure for achieving rank during the period including that the procedure of becoming a general was often filled with prompting carried out by the man himself, or his friends, or men with whom he served, and the like; as well as unassuming coincidence of time and place with need leading to the ranking General brevetting to brigadier as well as maneuvering, politics, simple chance, or his service in state militia with accomplishment of rank there and carry over to Confederate records, politics, and even mismanagement.
Ignore this kind of stuff and unless you win some kind of book lotto, your book will almost certainly fall into the obscurity that is an ever-present risk of modern authordom. What I like best about Howard-Johnson’s book is the simple, informal prose which is both warmly reassuring (‘of course you can do this’), and deceptively intelligent. The reader is encouraged and reminded of his or her own innate capabilities even as they’re goaded onto to raising the bar.
I think that when I first began to visit galleries and museums regularly, I would spend as much time reading as looking at the art: the art descriptions, whether in sheets of descriptions and lists or wall labels, were read for whatever information or insight they might give. I could spend three hours or more at a museum, seeing each thing, reading about each thing, and leave exhausted, my eyes red, my legs stiff. It took time—maybe years—for me to begin to relax, and just look at the art, allowing what was interesting to hold my attention, and what was not as something I could pass quickly and guiltlessly.
How Music Works is a little bit of a sprawling mishmash. The title is open enough, and Byrne takes advantage of that to meander along whatever paths take his fancy, from generalised notion of artistry to physics and the music of the cosmos, to his own personal experiences as a performer, songwriter and musician. Though the book is all over the place, it’s always erudite and enjoyable, and always pivoting on the notion of creative expression, whether it’s Byrne’s particular brand of expression or whether it’s more philosophical reflections about the universe, other artists, and music in its many forms.
Fritz Kahn was a popular science writer who was most prolific in the ‘20s and ‘30s. His masterwork was Das Leben des Menschen, a five volume study of human biology which appeared between 1922 and 1931. As with all his works – and Kahn continued to write about many different fields of science right up until the early 1960s – these volumes were heavily illustrated.
There’s a real beauty to this little book, from the attractive matt finish, small, square format that characterises all of the Giramondo shorts, to the Berry’s own hand-drawn illustrations, which give the book a slightly rogue, zine feel. The book is written in light, clear prose, using a confessional first person form, which begins with Berry at the age of eleven. This style invites the reader in immediately, inviting us to share both her family life – including her gifted sister’s music lessons and the tension between Berry and her mother, as well as her secret and later, not so secret yearnings.