An arts book recommendation: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

A critic review (source AV Club) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2evdijx.
The material is thick with jokes, landing effortlessly from someone you can easily imagine as your good vulgar friend, filling you in on the mundane and the sordid details of her life.
Book description from Google Books:
#1 New York Times Bestseller “Amy Schumer’s book will make you love her even more. For a comedian of unbridled (and generally hilarious) causticity, Schumer has written a probing, confessional, unguarded, and, yes, majorly humanizing non-memoir, a book that trades less on sarcasm, and more on emotional resonance.” —Vogue “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo is an alternatingly meditative, sexually explicit, side-splittingly hilarious, heart-wrenching, disturbing, passionately political, and always staggeringly authentic ride through the highs and lows of the comedic powerhouse’s life to date.” —Harper’s Bazaar “This is your happy hour with Amy Schumer…It’s Bossypants meets Trainwreck meets your long weekend.” —TheSkimm “Amy’s got your back. She’s in your corner. She’s an honesty bomb. And she’s coming for you.” —Actress Tilda Swinton and Trainwreck co-star The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is—a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh. Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend—an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably—but only because it’s over.
The book is rated 3.77/5 at goodreads.com, from 51926 ratings. See 5677 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2eve7Jm.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sl9UPA.

An arts book recommendation: Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies by Ross King

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2eqWOcq.
In his splendid “Mad Enchantment: Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies,” Ross King brings to life the moving story of the aging artist’s last and most ambitious project…
Book description from Google Books:
Los Angeles Times Book Prize FinalistFrom bestselling author Ross King, a brilliant portrait of legendary artist Claude Monet and the story of his most memorable achievement, the water lilies.Claude Monet is perhaps the world’s most beloved artist, and among all his creations, the paintings of the water lilies in his garden at Giverny are most famous. Seeing them in museums around the world, viewers are transported by the power of Monet’s brush into a peaceful world of harmonious nature. Monet himself intended them to provide “an asylum of peaceful meditation.” Yet, as Ross King reveals in his magisterial chronicle of both artist and masterpiece, these beautiful canvases belie the intense frustration Monet experienced at the difficulties of capturing the fugitive effects of light, water, and color. They also reflect the terrible personal torments Monet suffered in the last dozen years of his life. Mad Enchantment tells the full story behind the creation of the Water Lilies, as the horrors of World War I came ever closer to Paris and Giverny, and a new generation of younger artists, led by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, were challenging the achievements of Impressionism. By early 1914, French newspapers were reporting that Monet, by then 73 and one of the world’s wealthiest, most celebrated painters, had retired his brushes. He had lost his beloved wife, Alice, and his eldest son, Jean. His famously acute vision–what Paul Cezanne called “the most prodigious eye in the history of painting”–was threatened by cataracts. And yet, despite ill health, self-doubt, and advancing age, Monet began painting again on a more ambitious scale than ever before. Linking great artistic achievement to the personal and historical dramas unfolding around it, Ross King presents the most intimate and revealing portrait of an iconic figure in world culture–from his lavish lifestyle and tempestuous personality to his close friendship with the fiery war leader Georges Clemenceau, who regarded the Water Lilies as one of the highest expressions of the human spirit.
The book is rated 3.99/5 at goodreads.com, from 426 ratings. See 97 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dyVAOw.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tReFAB.

An arts book recommendation: This Is a Book About the Kids in the Hall by John Semley

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2dXFWcB.
…his excellent new book…The release of Semley’s book this week will no doubt occasion another battery of celebratory odes to the Kids and their importance, their influence, their continued relevance to this day.
Book description from Google Books:
The first book to explore their history, legacy, and influence This is a book about the Kids in the Hall – the legendary Canadian sketch comedy troupe formed in Toronto in 1984 and best known for the innovative, hilarious, zeitgeist-capturing sketch show The Kids in the Hall – told by the people who were there, namely the Kids themselves. John Semley’s thoroughly researched book is rich with interviews with Dave Foley, Mark McKinney, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, and Scott Thompson, as well as Lorne Michaels and comedians speaking to the Kids’ legacy: Janeane Garofalo, Tim Heidecker, Nathan Fielder, and others. It also turns a critic’s eye on that legacy, making a strong case for the massive influence the Kids have exerted, both on alternative comedy and on pop culture more broadly. The Kids in the Hall were like a band: a group of weirdoes brought together, united by a common sensibility. And, much like a band, they’re always better when they’re together. This is a book about friendship, collaboration, and comedy – and about clashing egos, lost opportunities, and one-upmanship. This is a book about the head-crushing, cross-dressing, inimitable Kids in the Hall.
The book is rated 3.55/5 at goodreads.com, from 89 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2fqruiB.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sOulVD.

An arts book recommendation: Testimony by Robbie Robertson

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2lAgql7.
Mr. Robertson, in “Testimony,” occasionally leans too heavily on mythopoeticism. But just as often his writing is wonderfully perceptive.
Book description from amazon.com:
The New York Times Bestseller“High-spirited, hugely enjoyable and generous from start to finish.” –New York Times Book Review   “Robust, wry, gritty and wise.” —The Wall Street Journal  “Confident and well oiled. At times it has the mythic sweep of an early Terrence Malick movie.”—New York TimesOn the 40th anniversary of The Band’s legendary The Last Waltz concert, Robbie Robertson finally tells his own spellbinding story of the band that changed music history, his extraordinary personal journey, and his creative friendships with some of the greatest artists of the last half-century.      Robbie Robertson’s singular contributions to popular music have made him one of the most beloved songwriters and guitarists of his time. With songs like “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “Up on Cripple Creek,” he and his partners in The Band fashioned a music that has endured for decades, influencing countless musicians.      In this captivating memoir, written over five years of reflection, Robbie Robertson employs his unique storyteller’s voice to weave together the journey that led him to some of the most pivotal events in music history. He recounts the adventures of his half-Jewish, half-Mohawk upbringing on the Six Nations Indian Reserve and on the gritty streets of Toronto; his odyssey at sixteen to the Mississippi Delta, the fountainhead of American music; the wild early years on the road with rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks; his unexpected ties to the Cosa Nostra underworld; the gripping trial-by-fire “going electric” with Bob Dylan on his 1966 world tour, and their ensuing celebrated collaborations; the formation of the Band and the forging of their unique sound,  culminating with history’s most famous farewell concert, brought to life for all time in Martin Scorsese’s great movie The Last Waltz.       This is the story of a time and place–the moment when rock ‘n’ roll became life, when legends like Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley criss-crossed the circuit of clubs and roadhouses from Texas to Toronto, when The Beatles, Hendrix, The Stones, and Warhol moved through the same streets and hotel rooms. It’s the story of exciting change as the world tumbled through the ’60s and early 70’s, and a generation came of age, built on music, love and freedom. Above all, it’s the moving story of the profound friendship between five young men who together created a new kind of popular music.     Testimony is Robbie Robertson’s story, lyrical and true, as only he could tell it.
The book is rated 4.12/5 at goodreads.com, from 1086 ratings. See 218 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2l1aXka.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tskZ5n.

An arts book recommendation: Landskipping: Painters, Ploughmen and Places by Anna Pavord

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cyjfOU.
An American reader ends up wanting to invite Pavord, obviously a very thoughtful companion, on a trip to the Alaskan wilderness or the California desert.
Book description from Google Books:
In Landskipping, Anna Pavord explores some of Britain’s most iconic landscapes in the past, in the present, and in literature. With her passionate, personal, and lyrical style, Pavord considers how different artists and agriculturists have responded to these environments. Like the author’s previous book The Tulip, Landskipping is as sublime and picturesque as its subject. Landskipping features an eclectic mix of locations, both ecologically and culturally significant, such as the Highlands of Scotland, the famous landscapes of the Lake District, and the Celtic hill forts of the West Country. These are some of the most recognizable landscapes in all of Britain. Along the way, Pavord annotates her fascinating journey with evocative descriptions of the country’s natural beauty and brings to life travelers of earlier times who left fascinating accounts of their journeys by horseback and on foot through the most remote corners of the British Isles.
The book is rated 3.34/5 at goodreads.com, from 32 ratings. See 7 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1TEfdnE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sucYZU.

An arts book recommendation: Night Flight (Harbrace Paperbound Library, Hpl63) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2dQnqGm.
This, then, is The Little Prince for grownups: a story about what one makes of an immense solitude (very well translated by David Carter; and the cover of the book is beautifully conceived), written by a remarkable man…
Book description from Google Books:
In this gripping novel, Saint-Exupéry tells about the brave men who piloted night mail planes from Patagonia, Chile, and Paraguay to Argentina in the early days of commercial aviation. Preface by André Gide. Translated by Stuart Gilbert.
The book is rated 3.79/5 at goodreads.com, from 4788 ratings. See 297 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2eLpz3I.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sby9ja.
Google Books preview available in full post.

An arts book recommendation: The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2mVCZPw.
The thickly bound format is ideally read in bed. This is just the kind of book to shut out the world with a sense of Scandinavian comfort.
Book description from Google Books:
The Sunday Times bestseller The New York Times bestseller The Danish word hygge is one of those beautiful words that doesn’t directly translate into English, but it more or less means comfort, warmth or togetherness. Hygge is the feeling you get when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, in warm knitted socks, in front of the fire, when it is dark, cold and stormy outside. It that feeling when you are sharing good, comfort food with your closest friends, by candle light and exchanging easy conversation. It is those cold, crisp blue sky mornings when the light through your window is just right. Denmark is the happiest nation in the world and Meik puts this largely down to them living the hygge way. They focus on the small things that really matter, spend more quality time with friends and family and enjoy the good things in life. The Little Book of Hygge will give you practical steps and tips to become more hygge: how to pick the right lighting, organise a dinner party and even how to dress hygge, all backed up by Meik’s years’ of research at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. This year live more like a Dane, embrace hygge and become happier.
The book is rated 3.73/5 at goodreads.com, from 11052 ratings. See 1345 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2mKHIa1.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2s6nyGu.

An arts book recommendation: My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor by Keith Morris

A critic review (source AV Club) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2fRmxQ3.
My Damage is a celebration of that punk rock work ethic, a story of maintenance and perseverance as told by one of the hardest working men in the punk underground.
Book description from Google Books:
Hardcore punk memoir by Keith Morris, ultimate punk rock frontman and founder of Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, and OFF!
The book is rated 4.13/5 at goodreads.com, from 281 ratings. See 48 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2esRxRl.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uggQlm.

An arts book recommendation: Power at Ground Zero: Politics, Money, and the Remaking of Lower Manhattan by Lynne B. Sagalyn

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2fF034D.
Sagalyn has written a great epic of political wrangling and real estate. We now need to ponder its larger meaning.
Book description from Google Books:
The destruction of the World Trade Center complex on 9/11 set in motion a chain of events that fundamentally transformed both the United States and the wider world. War has raged in the Middle East for a decade and a half, and Americans have become accustomed to surveillance, enhanced security, and periodic terrorist attacks. But the symbolic locus of the post-9/11 world has always been -Ground Zero—the sixteen acres in Manhattan’s financial district where the twin towers collapsed. While idealism dominated in the initial rebuilding phase, interest-group trench warfare soon ensued. Myriad battles involving all of the interests with a stake in that space-real estate interests, victims’ families, politicians, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the federal government, community groups, architectural firms, and a panoply of ambitious entrepreneurs grasping for pieces of the pie-raged for over a decade, and nearly fifteen years later there are still loose ends that need resolution. In Power at Ground Zero, Lynne Sagalyn offers the definitive account of one of the greatest reconstruction projects in modern world history. Sagalyn is America’s most eminent scholar of major urban reconstruction projects, and this is the culmination of over a decade of research. Both epic in scope and granular in detail, this is at base a classic New York story. Sagalyn has an extraordinary command over all of the actors and moving parts involved in the drama: the long parade of New York and New Jersey governors involved in the project, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, various Port Authority leaders, the ubiquitous real estate magnate Larry Silverstein, and architectural superstars like Santiago Calatrava and Daniel Libeskind. As she shows, political competition at the local, state, regional, and federal level along with vast sums of money drove every aspect of the planning process. But the reconstruction project was always about more than complex real estate deals and jockeying among local politicians. The symbolism of the reconstruction extended far beyond New York and was freighted with the twin tasks of symbolizing American resilience and projecting American power. As a result, every aspect was contested. As Sagalyn points out, while modern city building is often dismissed as cold-hearted and detached from meaning, the opposite was true at Ground Zero. Virtually every action was infused with symbolic significance and needed to be debated. The emotional dimension of 9/11 made this large-scale rebuilding effort unique; it supercharged the complexity of the rebuilding process with both sanctity and a truly unique politics. Covering all of this and more, Power at Ground Zero is sure to stand as the most important book ever written on the aftermath of arguably the most significant isolated event in the post-Cold War era.
The book is rated 3.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 3 ratings. See 1 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2eeoArY.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tumQXd.
Google Books preview available in full post.

An arts book recommendation: The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific by David Bianculli

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2mVwaNH.
More than a mere guidebook, this is Bianculli’s bible of TV — a wise, engaging celebration of a type of entertainment that’s as much of an art form as it is a pastime.
Book description from Google Books:
Television shows have now eclipsed films as the premier form of visual narrative art of our time. This new book by one of our finest critics explains–historically, in depth, and with interviews with the celebrated creators themselves–how the art of must-see/binge-watch television evolved. Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli’s theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way. In tracing the evolutionary history of our progress toward a Platinum Age of Television–our age, the era of The Sopranos and Breaking Bad and Mad Men and The Wire and Homeland and Girls–he focuses on the development of the classic TV genres, among them the sitcom, the crime show, the miniseries, the soap opera, the western, the animated series and the late night talk show. In each genre, he selects five key examples of the form, tracing its continuities and its dramatic departures and drawing on exclusive and in-depth interviews with many of the most famed auteurs in television history. Television has triumphantly come of age artistically; David Bianculli’s book is the first to date to examine, in depth and in detail and with a keen critical and historical sense, how this inspiring development came about.
The book is rated 3.99/5 at goodreads.com, from 136 ratings. See 29 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2mVpnUa.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2txV7oB.