Reviews

This is for an in-depth review of a book, this is not to be confused with the staff recommendations page.

Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye (Nicolas Cullinan)

Munch is best known for his iconic painting The Scream. However, his other paintings - as well as his prints and photographs - convey a similar intensity and are well worth a look. Munch often created many versions of the same composition. When seen collectively here, these multiples seem darker, more urgent, and more personal. Perhaps most unsettling are his depictions of the halo shape that he saw in later life as a result of a hemorrhage in his eye. The intensity and honesty of Munch’s body of work served to document the human condition in a unique and undeniably influential way. 

Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye Cover Image
By Nicholas Cullinan (Editor)
$50.00
ISBN: 9781849760232
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Tate Publishing(UK) - June 1st, 2012

Gods in Print (Richard H. David et al)

Each print in this book is a miniature world of its own, one that perfectly displays every detail of the story it tells. The action is often a strange mixture of serenity and intensity. I enjoyed reading about the mythological narratives while admiring the panache of the visual interpretations. Spanning 100 years from 1870 to 1970, this collection offers a unique perspective of the evolution of the imagery in the prints and a history of their publishers. -Sam

Gods in Print: Masterpieces of India's Mythological Art: A Century of Sacred Art (1870-1970) Cover Image
$65.00
ISBN: 9781608871094
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Mandala Media - November 13th, 2012

Oleander Girl (Chitra Divakaruni)

We are thrilled to announace that local favorite and UH Creative Writing Program professor Chita Divakaruni will be signing her latest novel at Brazos on April 15th! OLEANDER GIRL is a fascinating read you won’t want to miss. The book follows Korobi, a smart, down-to-earth girl from a good family who is set to marry the man of her dreams in her native India when tragedy strikes. Korobi’s grandfather passes away suddenly, intimating a terrible family secret in his final moments. Korobi's grandmother confirms that Korobi's shadowy past is even more mysterious than she once thought. Korobi determines that, before she can marry, she must understand her origins by traveling alone to America. I was again and again awed by Divakaruni’s well-rounded characters, action-packed pacing, and clean, engrossing prose. OLEANDER GIRL also boasts a surprise twist that lends the book even more depth and appeal. I began this book thinking it was the story of a girl seeking her origins, but finished it feeling that it actually treated a much larger subject: the way that racial and national identity effects women’s lives in numerous ways, both subtle and profound. -Danielle

Oleander Girl Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781451695656
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 19th, 2013

Arvo Part In Conversation (Enzo Restagno et al)

This book is an attempt to approach the conceptual world of Arvo Pärt, as well as his musical language and his compositions, from a variety of angles. With its wide range of subject matter, it is intended to appeal to readers from many different fields of interest. Enzo Restagno is the artistic director of Settembre Musica, an Italian music festival in Torino at which a program of Pärt’s work was presented in September 2004. Over the course of lengthy conversations with Restagno, Pärt describes his roots and early life in Soviet Estonia, his emigration, his artistic odyssey, and his view of the world. Along with these highly personal conversations that form the book’s core, this volume includes an analytical essay by Leopold Brauneiss that requires more musicological knowledge. The essay is an important study of the theory and method behind Pärt’s compositional intentions.

Saale Kareda additionally provides a short second essay that is directed primarily toward those who are interested in the spiritual aspects of Pärt’s music. The appendix offers two acceptance speeches delivered by Pärt during the award ceremonies of two major composition prizes. Each of them provides an interesting glimpse into Pärt’s thinking and helps complete this fascinating portrait of one of the world’s greatest living composers. -Nihal

Arvo Part in Conversation Cover Image
By Arvo Part, Robert Crow (Translator)
$24.00
ISBN: 9781564787866
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Dalkey Archive Press - November 12th, 2012

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (Stephan Pastis)

From Stephan Pastis, creator of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine, comes a hilarious debut children’s novel starring eleven-year-old Timmy Failure and his pet polar bear, Total. Together, the two make up Total Failure, Inc., the “best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation.” Their caseload involves everything from Halloween candy theft to yard TP-ing, but all these take a backseat when Total Failure Inc.’s mode of transportation, a Segway dubbed the Failuremobile that Timmy might have “borrowed” from his mother, goes missing. Timmy is convinced that the culprit is none other than his four-foot-tall, she-who-shall-not-be-named arch-nemesis. Similar in style and layout to DIARY OF A WIMPY KID but even smarter and sillier than the competition, TIMMY FAILURE is funny and accessible enough to win young problem readers over, but clever enough to have engaged all the very sophisticated and adult Brazos booksellers.

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made Cover Image
By Stephan Pastis, Stephan Pastis (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9780763660505
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - February 26th, 2013

Inventing Abstraction 1910-1925

INVENTING ABSTRACTION 1910-1925 is the catalogue from the current MOMA exhibit of the same name, which celebrates the emergence of abstract art. This shift toward abstract art occurred simultaneously in a variety of different countries as artists looked to nature, architecture, machines, film, geometry, and music for inspiration. The text tracks how early abstract works developed and what they meant to their creators. The focus on process and transformation shows the art’s urgency and importance to the contemporary art world now more than a century later. 

Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925 Cover Image
By Leah Dickerman (Editor), Matthew Affron (Text by (Art/Photo Books)), Yve-Alain Bois (Text by (Art/Photo Books))
$75.00
ISBN: 9780870708282
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Museum of Modern Art - January 31st, 2013

Tenth of December (George Saunders)

Just by looking at the cover of his latest collection, you can tell that Saunders has been moving in a darker, more serious direction with his work as of late. Although most of the stories in this collection are as funny as anything he’s written, Saunders often uses humor to hypothetically advance an existing social problem to its horrific logical conclusion. My favorite stories in TENTH OF DECEMBER - "Victory Lap", "Escape From Spiderhead", and "Home" - deal with kidnapping, our society’s overuse of pharmaceuticals, and PTSD, respectively. Saunders twists each of these issues, subtly exaggerating elements of each problem to clarify its menace. One of the most interesting things about Saunders is that his stories are rarely concerned with the privileged, the well-spoken, or the powerful. His characters are, at best, members of the middle class who are quickly falling through the growing cracks in America’s safety net. They are often uneducated, or at least uninformed. They are often being controlled and manipulated by forces far more powerful than themselves - parents, corporations, evil scientists - who are deeply invested in appearing to be their underlings’ 'friends' while leading them to certain ruin. This kind of setup has deep resonance in contemporary America, to say the least. It's hard not to sometimes relate to Saunders' hapless protagonists. In short, I wasn't surprised to find myself giggling over this beautiful collection, but I was surprised - and pleased - to find myself moved to tears several times.

Tenth of December: Stories Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812993806
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - January 8th, 2013

Detroit: An American Autopsy (Charlie LeDuff)

After a distinguished career as a journalist for the New York Times, Charlie LeDuff decided to return home to his native Detroit as if compelled by instinct. Detroit: An American Autopsy tells us why the Motor City can no longer be ignored. LeDuff steers clear of geopolitics, macroeconomics, and global finance in favor of gripping reportage centered on the lives of individuals surviving most historic and cataclysmic years in history of the city. I found myself appalled, laughing out loud, and nearly moved to tears at LeDuff’s brilliant combination of piercing investigative journalism and personal recollection. -Nihal

Detroit: An American Autopsy Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594205347
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Penguin Press - February 7th, 2013

Posada & Manilla

Posada and Manilla is a slim volume that collects illustrations from 19th century children’s books by the popular Mexican printmakers and additionally provides plot summaries and analyses of the books’ themes. Although children’s books of the time were meant to be ephemeral, many have survived because of the expressive illustrations reproduced on these pages. A facsimile of a complete original picture book is included. I love the fantastical imagery and the striking hand lettering in these illustrations, and I was fascinated by the window into the 19th century imagination that the art of Posada and Manilla provides.

Posada & Manilla: Illustrations for Mexican Fairy Tales Cover Image
By Jose Posada (Artist), Manuel Manilla (Artist), Mercurio Casillas (Text by (Art/Photo Books))
$24.95
ISBN: 9788415118510
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Rm - March 31st, 2013

A Map Of Tulsa (Benjamin Lytal)

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen: my nominee for the literary beach read of the season. Lytal, a young author whose work has been featured everywhere that’s anywhere (the New Yorker! the London Review of Books! the Wall Street Journal!) has written a debut novel of great power about growing up and tasting true love and true loss for the first time. The novel follows Jim, who has just graduated college and has moved back to Tulsa, his hometown, in order to regroup and determine his next move. He reconnects with Adrienne Booker, a rich and mysterious girl who has stayed in Tulsa after high school to party and work on her art. Jim is drawn into Adrienne’s wild, exotic world and she opens his eyes to a side of his small city he never knew before. I’m loathe to give away too much, but suffice it to say that things do not end particularly well and you will be flipping pages greedily to discover how and why. 

A Map of Tulsa Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780142422595
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - March 26th, 2013

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