anders nilsen just published a book called big questions with drawn & quarterly and it reminded me that i quite enjoy his work. his drawings and comics were featured in my all-time favorite MCA exhibit, in which the artwork of chicago-based graphic novelists/artists was displayed together. lilli carré was also featured.

anyway: i love chicago and i love local art. i can't believe i haven't yet posted about anders nilsen. allow me to rectify the situation today.

he's done some wonderful book covers also, for d&q + penguin + norton + all the other cool people in publishing...

AND, he has a blog. if you're in the chicago area, you can meet him tonight at lula café in logan square, where he's doing some book signing...! that place has excellent food.

well, that's all for today. everyone raise a glass to the end of august... fall is coming!
have a nice little tuesday.



i saw antony gormley's work in frieze magazine. he had a show in paris this summer that was called "for the time being." it consisted of these sculptures:

i love the spare aesthetic, and the way the bodies' shapes are organic. some have similar posture, but they're made of different materials, some starry and some angled, so you see something different in each one.

i love coming upon new things like this! don't you? on his website, gormley has a series of interviews that you can read. artist interviews always grant a very unique look at the way the mind works. (or maybe the family fang is getting to me.)

at any rate, it is thursday and nearly the weekend. rejoice!
hasta pronto.


on reading: let's catch up

o dear readers, i apologize. this silence has gone on too long! and so i am back, and i am going to be posting far more often than i have been in the last month or so. i went on a nice long minnesotan hiatus and it made me have summer vacation brain. now that it is nearly labor day and schools are starting up again, i suppose i should join everyone else and snap out of it.

so let's talk about reading. while i've been a mere shadow in the blogosphere lately, i've been catching up on reading lots of wonderful things, and i wanted to share my small reviews with you. some are books that are brand-new, others are old as the hills. bookgirl has to keep up with the changing times and changing reading preferences of the people, so a mix is necessary. here's what's in my reading past—i'll just talk about a few of them; some are still lying around, unfinished:

i've already talked briefly about after midnight, by irmgard keun (i love that name). it is a story about german society during the beginnings of world war II, as seen through the eyes of a young german girl named sanna. it is somewhat of a satire; sanna is vaguely supportive of hitler's regime, yet she criticizes it under her breath, almost without knowing she's doing so. an example:
herr kulmbach had been saying the führer had united the whole german nation. which is true enough, it's just that the people making up the whole german nation don't get on with each other. but that doesn't make any difference to political unity, i suppose. (33)
keun's story also provides a writer's critique of the political times, which, at the time, was absolutely unacceptable. it's a brilliant book, written in that kind of ladylike, proper language that i love so much. and what i love about melville house's neversink library edition is that they include irmgard's life story (as well as a section of literary analysis, ooh), which is so interesting and sad and strange. after her books were burned in the 1933 "burning of the books" and her writing made her a target for the gestapo, she escaped germany and lived in exile throughout europe. her husband divorced her on grounds that she made anti-nazi remarks. after staging her suicide, she slipped back into germany and lived in hiding. later on, her work was rediscovered and her reputation brought back to life. for me, this is one of those cases where the author's own story completely influences the way you read their work.

i loved the heart is a lonely hunter. it's a classic, so i won't talk too much about it, but carson mccullers' writing is both evocative and uncomplicated, effective at summoning up the dry, stagnant air of the depression years. her characters were each so different, but mccullers handles their individual voices deftly. highly recommended.

and the dark tale of wildwood! coming soon to bookstores near you. i was glued to this book by the last hundred pages. i couldn't stop reading! my advance reading copy was missing some of the illustrations, but the scenes described by colin meloy were such that i could imagine it all on my own... an owl prince, evil coyotes, rugged bandits, trees that respond to wishes, animals that get drunk on blackberry cordial. it is comparable to brian jacques' redwall series, except meloy includes human characters in his story. he also makes use of his amazing vocabulary. i love seeing young adult novels that employ words even i need to look up.

right now, i'm getting through an alphabet for gourmets (i'm on "e is for exquisite"), by m.f.k. fisher. it is probably going to land on my top-5 list of best food books ever.
shortcomings by adrian tomine is totally engrossing so far, exploring a dying long-term relationship and its effect on the (extremely unsympathetic) male half of the couple.
and finally, the family fang, on which i am still forming an opinion, but which is keeping me interested thus far, at the very least.

oh dear, well, this was long. but it was about time. perhaps you've gotten some good idears on what to read in your spare time... or perhaps what not to read. at any rate, thanks for reading this post!

i'll be back.
hasta la vista...

images 1 2 & 3


peter beard

in his own words:
when i first went to kenya in august 1955, i could never have guessed what was going to happen. kenya's population was roughly five million, with about 100 tribes scattered throughout the endless "wild—deer—ness" - it was authentic, unspoiled, teeming with big game—so enormous it appeared inexhaustible.
everyone agreed it was too big to be destroyed. now kenya's population of over 30 million drains the country's limited and diminishing resources at an amazing rate: surrounding, isolating, and relentlessly pressuring the last pockets of wildlife in denatured africa.

the beautiful play period has come to an end. millions of years of evolutionary processes have been destroyed in the blink of an eye.
the pleistocene is paved over, cannibalism is swallowed up by commercialism, arrows become ak- 47s, colonialism is replaced by the power, the prestige and the corruption of the international aid industry. this is the end of the game over and over.
what could possibly be next? density and stress—aid and AIDS, deep blue computers and nintendo robots, heart disease and cancer, liposuction and rhinoplasty, digital pets and tamaguchi toys deliver us into the brave new world.
peter beard

peter beard uses photography, ink, and blood to create his images. his end of the game books of photography are volumes that i would very much like to get my hands on.

often people are too casually optimistic about the future of the world we are lucky enough to have happened on. i see beard's work as harsh realism, a fatalistic slap in the face—one that i think everyone should pay attention to, because he shows only a fraction of the damage humans have caused and continue to wreak. why aren't we more concerned about the well-being of the planet our lives depend on?

my optimism is wearing quite thin these days.


ex libris

these are interesting accessories by olivia le tan.

perhaps they even include a snippet of the actual book inside, so that while you are sitting at certain award ceremonies, stifling a yawn and trying to stave off boredom, you can open your little clutch and read just a little....

book clutches! it looks just like you've brought a book along with you.
no matter what, books will always be en vogue.

have a swell wednesday.



 kara walker had a traveling exhibit called my complement, my enemy, my oppressor, my love. here are some images from the installation at the guggenheim. it's so beautiful. i'm not sure i understand it entirely yet, but i understand the strength and what i interpret as underlying anger in her statement, and i appreciate the power behind her work.
"i find that i am rewriting history, trying to make it resemble me, kara (and me, negress) but doing it in little bits and pieces. it's a monomaniacal undertaking, but there is a lot of (white, patriarchal) damage to undo. i mean, that's the only way history is written anyway, in little pieces. i would have preferred to make up my own mythology and make it stick as effectively as those ante- and post-bellum characters have in the collective unconscious, or to make up stories as influential as the american revolution and its heroes and ideals. but alas, i've got only myself, the penny empire of me to work with, so that's what i do." —kw


have a brilliant day.