dwood@northshire.com's blog

Finding Dora Maar: An Artist, an Address Book, a Life by Brigitte Benkemoun - Book Review

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Finding Dora Maar: An Artist, an Address Book, a Life Cover Image
By Brigitte Benkemoun, Jody Gladding (Translated by)
$24.95
ISBN: 9781606066591
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Getty Publications - May 19th, 2020

Finding Dora Maar, a bestseller last year in France and translated lucidly into English by Vermonter Jody Gladding, is a delicious work of biography, memoir, detective narrative and cultural history. Benkemoun bought on eBay a vintage Hermes diary for her husband. When it arrived, she found inside an address book with entries for Cocteau, Chagall, Giacometti, Poulenc, Balthus, Éluard, Breton, Brassaï, Lacan—an exhaustive list of the giants of Parisian modernism. Through some detective work, Benkemoun discovers that its previous owner was none other than Dora Maar, Picasso’s “weeping woman.” In 1920’s Paris Maar was a brilliant young Surrealist photographer before she became Picasso’s official mistress, and her anguished portraits became some of the most recognizable of Picasso’s paintings, forever eclipsing her own efforts in photography and painting. This gripping book charts Dora’s life--the bright beginning of her artistic career, her masochistic relationship with the brilliant and cruel Picasso, and her late reactionary years of seclusion— brilliantly through the entries of her address book forming a constellation of the lives of the Parisian avant garde. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples by Patricia Marx - Book Review

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You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples Cover Image
By Patricia Marx, Roz Chast (Illustrator)
$20.00
ISBN: 9781250225139
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Celadon Books - January 14th, 2020

Perhaps the funniest and most accurate book about relationships that has ever been published. Like when Baudelaire first read Edgar Allan Poe, I was amazed to see herein sentences and thoughts that I had myself already thought—but only more succinct and hilarious. The book speaks for itself: “Honesty is not necessarily the best policy,” “If someone is very picky about how the laundry should be done, as opposed to shoving it all in the washing machine…that someone should do the laundry,” “Whoever cares the most that there are crumbs in the toaster gets the de-crumbing job,” or “Sexual favors in exchange for cleaning up the cat vomit is a good and fair trade.” ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


Who Is Vera Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht - Book Review

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Who Is Vera Kelly? (A Vera Kelly  Story #1) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781947793019
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Tin House Books - June 12th, 2018

This delightful reinvention of the spy novel introduces us to Vera Kelly a special agent posted to Buenos Aires in 1966, politically unstable and the battleground for the CIA and the KGB. She's tough, resourceful, clever, and charming. But there's also Vera 10 years before: out of place, questioning her sexuality, stealing her mom's car, and being arrested before making it to Greenwich Village and discovering a new world. A brilliantly fast-paced thrilled, Knecht introduces us to a spy who honed her skills in the field through navigating identity in a straight, male world. I can't wait for the sequel, Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery.   ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


The Illness Lesson: A Novel by Clare Beams - Book Review

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The Illness Lesson: A Novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780385544665
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Doubleday - February 11th, 2020

Samuel, an aging Emerson/Alcott Transcendentalist type, tries again; he founds an all-girls' school with help from his last disciple and his adult daughter Caroline who serves as the point of view for this feminist historical novel. An atmosphere of dread grows as mysterious blood-red birds amass, and Caroline enrolls Eliza--the daughter of Miles Pearson someone from Samuel's past and an Edgar Allan Poe type. (Samuel's first social living experiment failed leaving Caroline an orphan and Pearson her mother's bereaved admirer and a bestselling author of a lightly-veiled gothic novel exposé before his own early death). Eliza starts exhibiting strange behavior which quickly spreads amongst the girls. And the men just know that they have all the right answers and know best. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


Long Live Latin: The Pleasures of a Useless Language by Nicola Gardini - Book Review

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Long Live Latin: The Pleasures of a Useless Language Cover Image
By Nicola Gardini, Todd Portnowitz (Translated by)
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374284527
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 12th, 2019

Nicola Gardini's lively celebration of Latin is just the book for any lapsed or aspiring Classicist in your life! With chapters devoted to individual Latin writers from Caesar and Catullus to Propertius and Petronius, Gardini rekindled my old love for Latin (though it's hopelessly rusty). Full of informative and delightful digressions on an array of topics, Gardini makes a loving defense for the continued study of the "useless" language, which, he shows quite clearly isn't useless at all. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking: A Cookbook by Toni Tipton-Martin - Book Review

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Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking: A Cookbook Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781524761738
Availability: Click Title for IN STOCK Location
Published: Clarkson Potter - November 5th, 2019

This is one of my very favorite cookbooks of the last few years. Literally everything in it looks great. I want to cook something on every page. And I can attest that the Cornbread Dressing and the Pureed Parsnips are DIVINE (and all of my relatives on Thanksgiving agree!). More than simply a collection of wonderful recipes, it is a repository of African American culinary culture. James Beard Award-winner Tipton-Martin has spent much of her life tracing the history of talented, professional black cooks obscured by stereotypes. Here, she collects and updates over 100 recipes from her collection of over 400 historical cookbooks. Get it for the recipes, keep it for the salvaged history and memory, and enjoy passages like, “How did macaroni and cheese get so black?” Spoiler: Thomas Jefferson’s Paris-trained enslaved chef, James Hemings. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


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