The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís ★★★★
Source: Municipal InterLibrary Loan
Edition: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 48 pages
Original publication date: 2014
I guess you could say I’m somewhat of a Peter Sís enthusiast by now, having read over a dozen books he’s contributed to in one way or another, either solely as illustrator or as both writer…
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan ★★★★½
Edition: Vintage Canada (1999), Paperback, 178 pages
Awards & Distinctions: Booker Prize (1998), 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006 Edition)
Original publication date: 1998
Sometimes going into a book knowing little to nothing about it reserves great surprises. I picked this one up more or less unplanned as I was needing a dose of literature, having indulge…
Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John McWhorter ★★★½
Source: Audible (Daily Deal)
Edition: Audible (2009), Unabridged MP3; 5h22
Original publication date: 2008
Foreword:I should start out by saying that the last few days were probably not the best time for me to be reading or listening to a book about language and grammar. At the best of time, the notion of grammar…
Before and After: This poor woman looked much too morose for my liking yesterday, my own chronic migraine probably imprinting itself onto her lips and eyes, which is not what I was aiming at, so maybe two hours of corrective work later, she’s looking more like what I intended to begin with. Now I can proceed forward.
Started on this new drawing for my Metro portrait Series last week. It’s slowly starting to come together. I’m calling it Metro Series #5: Woman with Headscarf. There’s a lot of intricate patterns in her skirt which will be an interesting challenge/puzzle. I’ll have to fix her mouth to give her more of a bemused Mona Lisa kind of smile which somehow didn’t come through with this first effort.
I posted the above gallery on my art blog, createthreesixty5.com a little while ago, and for reasons I fail to understand, that blog post failed to publicize on Facebook and other linked sites as it usually does.
Seems that Ezra approves of my reading material today. On to Aya, book 2 then.
Aya de Yopougon by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie ★★★★½ Source: Municipal library Series: Aya (1 of 6)
This one took me a while to finish, with a long break when I was almost finished, needing a good breather to find my inspiration again. As I keep saying, it’s quite hard to reproduce graphite accurately with my limited camera/computer technical skills, but this’ll have to do. Click on any of the images below to see a larger version and scroll through the gallery to view the progress from start to finish. I’m now well on my way with the preparatory stages of Metro Series #5, as yet untitled.
A truly bizarre work which has often been described as the strangest book ever created, and which has to be experienced to be believed. The physical book is in itself is a work of art, presented as a large format hardcover volume with countless colour illustrations printed on a high quality, thick, ridged paper, which make the coloured pencil and ink illustrations look as though they’ve been drawn directly on the page. The overall work has the aspect and organization of an encyclopedia, with clearly formatted pages of explanatory text and diagrams in a wholly invented language, presenting exquisite though illegible calligraphy throughout; the language of the book has defied linguists for decades, but one cannot help but try to make sense of it. Many “specimens” are shown in detailed drawings, from fantastical plant forms to local costumes, mechanical devices, architecture and landscapes, which could only exist in an alternate universe, the brain of someone on LSD, or as Serafini himself explained for this recent 2013 edition, from the mind of the cat who kept him company in the late 70s as Serafini worked feverishly on this project during 30 months, with the feline perched on his shoulders and transmitting his ideas to him telepathically. He in fact credits the cat as the true creator and himself merely as the scribe. Not surprisingly, Serafini is an Italian artist, architect and designer who has, among other things worked with the famous surreal film director Federico Fellini, and his book has been compared to works by M.C. Escher and Hieronymus Bosch.
I find I cannot rate this book, for the simple reason that I was completely enchanted in the beginning, as well as astounded at the level of detail, sheer work and vivid imagination put into this huge volume, but perhaps changing moods coloured my perception as I kept turning the pages because I was at times delighted and enchanted, and on some days I felt as though I was seeing nightmarish visions. I’m glad I was able to borrow this volume from our national library system and didn’t go ahead and spend the $80 listed price on it, as I may want to pore over it again once or twice, but ultimately found it too disturbing to have in my permanent collection. But that’s just me. Others I’m sure will be delighted to own this fantastic volume, and for good reason. Click on the thumbnails below to see larger reproductions.
The Strangest Book Ever Created? Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini Source: National Library Edition: Rizzoli (2013), Hardcover, 396 pages Original publication date: 1981…