47 books
  • On Death and Dying

    Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

    This book is the classic work dealing with the psychology of death. The five stages of grief were first outlined here, though they are focused more on those dying then the people grieving after they are gone. Kübler-Ross interviewed terminally ill patients as part of an interdisciplinary seminar on death, as a means of understanding what happens when people have a lot of time to face their own deaths.

    It would have been good for me to have read this book in 2003 when my mother was very sick and spent eight months in a hospital before dying, but it was only recommended to me recently. It would have felt inappropriate to have read it then in many ways, which...more

  • Tête à Tête

    Henri Cartier-Bresson

    Lovely portraits.more

  • City and Landscapes

    Henri Cartier-Bresson

    This book includes one of my favorite photographs ever:

    Cartier-Bresson — Brie, Francemore

  • The Complete Untitled Film Stills

    Cindy Sherman

    It’s probably time that I returned these photo books I took out from the library months ago. (There were a few others, but I didn’t spend too much time with them before I returned them.)

    Cindy Sherman — Untitled Film Stills #11

    I’ve been admiring this full edition of the Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills for a while. Even if you are familiar with her work, this book is worth a browsing for her essay “The Making of Untitled,” which goes into the background of how she got into character building and her self-portrait techniques, as well as various anecdotes about the making of certain photos.

    This collection of photos strikes me with...more

  • Bill Peet: an Autobiography

    Bill Peet

    One of my favorite books as a kid was Jennifer and Josephine, and though I never read any other of Peet’s many children’s books, I considered him a favorite writer. I spotted this book at the library — an illustrated autobiography! His insight into the early years of the Disney animated features and Walt Disney’s personality are some of the best parts of the book. It is also inspiring how long he strived towards writing books for children until finally, slowly, figuring it out. He obviously was a pretty down-to-earth guy with an ironic sense of humor and sentimentality, so it’s no wonder his books are still relevant today....more

  • The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers

    Henri Cartier-Bresson

    This compilation of writings by Cartier-Bresson is pretty random and obviously written over a long period of time. But its brevity makes up for the lack of flow. His opinions of photographic technique are interesting, sometimes useful and sometimes not. He was not a fan of color photography: As opposed to black, which has the most complex range, color, on the contrary, offers only a fragmentary range. Though that was largely because of the state of color film processing at the time of that writing, 1985. His philosophy of “The Camera as a Sketchbook” is certainly well received by the photobloggers of today, though who knows what he thought of digital photography. The writings on particular places his visited...more

  • In the Next Galaxy

    Ruth Stone

    Albany Bus Station
    The same fat man with the fluorescent vest
    is playing cards for cash
    at the same table by the window;
    the same easy jean-jacketed girl
    slaps the back of the same red-faced man
    whose shirt hangs out below his sweater.

  • The Stones of Summer

    Dow Mossman

    I’m giving up on this book. I’ve been reading it since I finished A Wild Sheep Chase and going on a month, only halfway through—I just don’t see the point of forcing myself through it any longer.

    This coming-of-age epic inspired a documentary film by Mark Moskowitz, which I read about a few years ago. Since then I’ve been very intrigued, and when I first saw the republished version in a bookstore several months ago, I’ve been wanting to delve into it. I watched (most of) the documentary this fall and got the book from the library shortly thereafter.

    The novel is divided in three sections, representing distinct moments in Dawes Oldham Williams’s life—a not so subtle representation of “Dow”—who...more

  • Hôtel Splendid

    Marie Redonnet

    The unnamed narrator is the youngest of three sisters. She has lived her entire life in the Hôtel Splendid . Her grandmother built it next to a swamp. Her sisters traveled the world with their mother. When the mother died, the sisters returned.

    Groups of speculators, geographers, contractors, and eventually workers come through under a plan to build a railroad through the swamp. Up against the decaying hotel, the swamp that threatens to engulf it, and the sisters who don’t give her any help, the youngest perseveres through the ups and downs. There’s something enigmatic about her accounts though they are largely banal: the state of the plumbing and the health of her sisters are most common. Maybe it’s the short,...more

  • Timoleon Vieta Come Home

    Dan Rhodes

    I was in the middle of the epic Stones of Summer when I went away last week — not about to bring a nearly 600 page hardcover tome with me, I instead started in on some of the books that have been calmly waiting for me to get through the Mossman book. I bought this one used several weeks ago because I liked the design (will try to get an image up later).

    While looking for some information on Dan Rhodes, I found this long review, which is much more than I could write about this morning in my current jetlagged state. Also I can be lazy and refer to it, like saying that the parts I liked best were the Calvinoesque...more