Thursday, March 31, 2011

Featured: The Desolate Presence by Thomas Owen


Thomas Owen, The Desolate Presence
Hardcover (out of print) SOLD! (somebody reprint this book!)

Along with Jean Ray, one of the masters of Belgian Gothic. Very little of his work has been translated, and this title is becoming quite rare.





This book, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
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Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day,except Monday, 11am to 7pm.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Arrivals: Two More from UDA


Roland Topor, Rebonjour
Oversized (11 × 17”) limited edition, with poster
Printed in France, double black on 170 gram Rives

"Roland Topor is the definitive illustrator of France — a master of visual metaphor and all forms of draftsmanship. This oversized edition presents 32 phenomenal linocuts from the 1970s. We can't recommend publication highly enough. Topor is too little known in the U.S., but his work is as inventive as it is timeless."










Charles Burns, Permagel
Oversized (11 × 17”) limited collection of Charles Burns images from the last 20 years.
Printed in France, double black on 170 gram Rives






also available from UDA:




Chris Hipkiss, To Kick a Wind To





Daisuke Ichiba, Grossesse Nerveuse





These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day,except Monday, 11am to 7pm.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Featured: Kobo Abe's Inter Ice Age 4


Kobo Abe, Inter Ice Age 4
illustrated by Machi Abe, cover by Joseph del Gaudio
Hardcover, (out of print)




This book, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day,except Monday, 11am to 7pm.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Featured: Three Photography Books


Taryn Simon, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar
Hardcover

"In An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, Taryn Simon documents spaces that are integral to America’s foundation, mythology and daily functioning, but remain inaccessible or unknown to a public audience. She has photographed rarely seen sites from domains including: science, government, medicine, entertainment, nature, security and religion. This index examines subjects that, while provocative or controversial, are currently legal. The work responds to a desire to discover unknown territories, to see everything.

Simon makes use of the annotated-photograph’s capacity to engage and inform the public. Transforming that which is off-limits or under-the-radar into a visible and intelligible form, she confronts the divide between the privileged access of the few and the limited access of the public. Photographed with a large format view camera (except when prohibited), Simon’s 70 color plates form a seductive collection that reflects and reveals a national identity."




Hiroshi Sugimoto
Hardcover

"Genius of the large-format camera, the long exposure and the silverprint, New York-based photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has made pictures that seem to contain whole aeons of time within themselves, and suggest an infinite palette of tonal wealth in blacks, grays and whites. Many of these images have now become a part of art culture's popular image bank (as U2's use of Sugimoto's "Boden Sea" for the cover of their 2009 album, No Line on the Horizon, demonstrated), while simultaneously evoking photography's earliest days: "I probably call myself a postmodern-experienced pre-postmodern modernist," he once joked to an interviewer. This absolutely exquisite retrospective is an expanded edition of Hatje Cantz's 2005 volume. It is the first to feature works from all of Sugimoto's series to date: his celebrated portraits of wax figures, his incredible seascapes that seem to suggest a person's first conscious view of the ocean, the extremely long exposures of theaters which elevate the white, luminescent cinema screen and transform it into a magical image of an altar and the fascinating dioramas of scientific display cases, which invite us to travel far into the past. Additions to the original edition are two new groups of works, "Lightning Fields" (2006) and "Photogenic Drawings" (2007)."




Bernd & Hilla Becher, Pennsylvania Coal Mine Tipples
Hardcover

"Vernacular industrialized architecture has been the sole subject of Bernd and Hilla Becher's work for some forty years. Their vast photographic inventory now ranges geographically from western Europe through North America and taxonomically across an enormous array of heterogeneous building types, many verging on obsolescence—mine shafts, lime kilns, silos, cooling towers, blast furnaces, tipples, gasometers—all classified by reference to function. The initial impetus that led the young Bernd Becher to begin photographing such subjects in the late 1950s was purely practical: he wanted to use his recordings as raw material for the paintings he was then making in a Neue Sachlichkeit style. In those same years Hilla Becher, née Wobeser, apprenticed and briefly worked in a professional advertising studio, where she developed a passion for photographing technical and mechanistic subjects. Once husband and wife started working together, in 1957, they assumed identical roles: tasks are not separately assigned to one or the other; both are involved in scouting sites, negotiating with the owners and other authorities, setting up the cameras, and printing. The art they have produced does not fall within conventional categories of documentary photography, though it has many affiliations with that long-standing tradition. The disciplined ethic with which this dedicated German couple defined, then refined, their project of recording for posterity the increasingly neglected relics of the industrial era, with its domestic offshoots, has yielded not just an aesthetic but a vision." -Dia




These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day,except Monday, 11am to 7pm.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Featured: The Rest by Aram Saroyan


Aram Saroyan, The Rest
Paperback

"In the immortal words of Captain Beefheart: “The past sure is tense.” Saroyon’s masterpiece from 1971 never seemed more current than now. Like Marcel Duchamp, who claimed to be making work for a generation 50 years hence, Saroyan’s work is now finding its due reception with a generation for whom the ideogram translates into icon. Four decades ago, Saroyan taught us how we read today. Grab this primer and hold on tight: we’ve never read so fast, furiously, and futuristically." —Kenneth Goldsmith




These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day,except Monday, 11am to 7pm.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Featured: Wyndham Lewis


Wyndham Lewis, Blasting & Bombardiering: An Autobiography
John Calder Ltd, Paperback (out of print)




These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day,except Monday, 11am to 7pm.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Arrivals: Three from the Music Shelves


Thelonious Monk: The Life And Times Of An American Original
Hardcover (out of print)

“The piano ain’t got no wrong notes!” So ranted Thelonious Sphere Monk, who proved his point every time he sat down at the keyboard. His angular melodies and dissonant harmonies shook the jazz world to its foundations, ushering in the birth of “bebop” and establishing Monk as one of America’s greatest composers. Yet throughout much of his life, his musical contribution took a backseat to tales of his reputed behavior. Writers tended to obsess over Monk’s hats or his proclivity to dance on stage. To his fans, he was the ultimate hipster; to his detractors he was temperamental, eccentric, taciturn, or child-like. But, these labels tell us little about the man or his music.

"In the first book on Thelonious Monk based on exclusive access to the Monk family papers and private recordings, as well as a decade of prodigious research, prize-winning historian Robin D. G. Kelley brings to light a startlingly different Thelonious Monk–witty, intelligent, generous, family-oriented, politically engaged, brutally honest, and a devoted father and husband. Indeed, Thelonious Monk is essentially a love story. It is a story of familial love, beginning with Monk’s enslaved descendants from whom Thelonious inherited an appreciation for community, freedom, and black traditions of sacred and secular song. It is about a doting mother who scrubbed floors to pay for piano lessons and encouraged her son to follow his dream. It is the story of romance, from Monk’s initial heartbreaks to his life-long commitment to his muse, the extraordinary Nellie Monk. And it is about his unique friendship with the Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter, a scion of the famous Rothschild family whose relationship with Monk and other jazz musicians has long been the subject of speculation and rumor. Nellie, Nica, and various friends and family sustained Monk during the long periods of joblessness, bipolar episodes, incarceration, health crises, and other tragic and difficult moments.

Above all, Thelonious Monk is the gripping saga of an artist’s struggle to “make it” without compromising his musical vision. It is a story that, like its subject, reflects the tidal ebbs and flows of American history in the twentieth century. Elegantly written and rich with humor and pathos, Thelonious Monk is the definitive work on modern jazz’s most original composer."






MC5: The Future Is Now
Paperback (out of print)

"The MC5 remain one of the most explosive and legendary rock bands of the '60s. Formed in Detroit and managed by John Sinclair, leader of the revolutionary White Panther Party, the MC5 soon became a potent musical and political force in their own right, and with their rally cry of "Kick Out The Jams, Motherfuckers!" they pioneered a devastating fusion of freeform rock and incendiary protest. Storming live performances – often supported by fellow Detroit rock legends Iggy And The Stooges – cemented the band's iconic status.The Future Is Now! is an illustrated account of the origins of the MC5, their relationship with Sinclair and the White Panthers, the creation of their seminal LP Kick Out The Jams, and the political mayhem of 1969 which led to the group being dropped by their record label Elektra and the Panthers being indicted and broken by the US government. While a relatively short account, it's worth it for the wonderful photographs of the band in action, and the introduction it renders (including their 10 Point Program) to the criminally (still) unknown White Panther Party." -AK Press





The Musical World Of Halim El-Dabh
Paperback with CD

An overview of the composer's life and work with a cd of aconcert for the re-opening of the Library of Alexandria. (The below cd review gives a pretty good taste of Halim's work and importance.)

"...an exceptional collection of pieces by one of the pioneers of electronic and tape music. Halim El-Dabh began experimenting with wire recorders in Egypt even before Schaeffer inaugurated the practice of Musique Concrete in France - one piece here dates from that period ('Wire Recorder Piece', 1944) and is thus of great historical importance. Most of the other works were recorded in 1959 and evidence a remarkable body of work and experimentation. El-Dabh does not sound like his fellow Electronic Music brethren (he was working at The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Centre) but is more organic, physical and eccentric; more like Sun Ra than Mario Davidovsky. There is much use of objects and some instruments, as well as electronically generated tones and concrete techniques of tape manipulation and electronic processing. And very imaginative use of the human voice. Most of the groundbreaking 'opera' 'Leiyla and the Poet' is included here for the first time on record. Indispensible." (from a review of the CD release Crossing the Electric Magnetic by ReR)




These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day,except Monday, 11am to 7pm.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Arrival: The Oulipo Compendium Has Arrived!


Oulipo Compendium
Paperback, Edited by Harry Mathews and Alastair Brotchie
Revised & Updated
$36.00
Finally Here!

Pretty damn excited to have this back in the shop!

"Make Now Press of Los Angeles and Atlas Press of London released a revised and updated edition of the Oulipo Compendium in November 2005 in a limited edition print run of 1,000 copies to be released from Los Angeles and 1,000 copies to be released from London. The Oulipo Compendium is a dictionary of mathematical constraints used in the composition of literature. The Oulipo’s foremost concern has been to devise formal constraints and compose a few examples of each for the express purpose of pointing to the potential these formalisms create. Oulipian constraints have been responsible for some of the most original works of literature ever produced." -Make Now Press

What do Marcel Duchamp and Italo Calvino have in common? The Oulipo, or Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle. This “Workshop for Potential Literature” was founded by Raymond Queneau and friends in 1960 to find out how abstract restrictions could be combined with imaginative writing (as in Georges Perec’s celebrated novel written without the letter e). Still formidably active, the Oulipo is now recognised as the most original, productive and provocative literary enterprise to appear since the last war. This Compendium is the first comprehensive survey of the group in any language. It includes extensive selections from the work of Oulipians, analyses of their important works, and descriptions of their methods. Further sections cover related groups working in the fields of art, detective fiction, comic strips, even cuisine. A vital resource for creativity in all areas!" -Atlas Press

"Oulipo Compendium is a late 20th-century kabala, a labyrinth of literary secrets that will lure the unitiated into rethinking everything they know about books and writing. A nutty, one-of-a-kind book, the definitive encyclopaedia of contemporary word-magic." PAUL AUSTER

"An indispensable book for everyone who cares about literature." SUSAN SONTAG



This book, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day, 11am to 7pm.

We accept Visa, MC, Amex, Paypal and cash.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Arrivals: Three Philadelphia Books


Thomas Chimes
Hardcover

"Thomas Chimes is one of the most important artists to emerge in Philadelphia since World War II. Tracing the stylistic evolution of Chimes's idiosyncratic art, this book presents a long-overdue survey of his remarkable five-decade career: canvases combining landscape imagery with symbols such as crucifixes (late 1950s–mid–1960s); mixed-media constructions set within finely crafted metal boxes (late 1960s-early 1970s); his best-known works, a series of forty-eight intimate sepia-toned panel portraits of nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers and artists that are placed within oversized wood frames (1973-78); and the enigmatic "white paintings" of the past two decades.

In an essay that explores each of these creative periods in detail, Michael R. Taylor reveals how Chimes has found inspiration in the writings of literary heroes such as Antonin Artaud, James Joyce, and especially Alfred Jarry, the iconoclastic French playwright and novelist whose invented "'Pataphysics"—the "science of imaginary solutions"—has provided the artist with a seemingly inexhaustible font of imagery. Taylor discusses the links between Chimes's work and that of contemporaries such as Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, Jess, and Nancy Spero, as well as that of important predecessors like Vincent van Gogh, Marcel Duchamp, and fellow Philadelphian Thomas Eakins."





Marcel Duchamp, Manual of Instructions: Etant Donnes
Hardcover

"Out of print for a number of years, this facsimile of Marcel Duchamp's Manual of Instructions was prepared by the artist for the disassembly of Étant donnés in his New York studio and its reassembly at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. First published more than twenty years ago, the manual has had far-reaching ramifications for the study of Étant donnés and Duchamp. Illustrated with 116 black-and-white Polaroids taken by the artist and 35 pages of his handwritten notes and sketches, the revised edition includes a new essay by Michael R. Taylor on the pivotal importance of the manual to an understanding of Duchamp's artistic practice as well as the first English translation of the artist's text."





The Mutter Museum
Hardcover

"The aesthetics of the living body have long fascinated artists working in every medium of art. Mütter Museum presents the work of a distinguished group of photographers who have been drawn to explore the body stripped of its superficial coverings down to its inner realities. There is real beauty beneath the surface both in life, as revealed by the surgeon's scalpel, and in death, as revealed by the pathologist's or anatomist's knife.

The contemporary photographs in this book, combined with powerful images from the Museum's historical photography collection, stretch the boundaries to find beauty not in its conventional form, but in its opposite: the deformed, the broken, the disfigured body of those who suffered physical abnormality, trauma, or destructive disease. There is a terrifying beauty as well in the spirits of those who endured nature's challenges to human life and to medical understanding."




These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day,except Monday, 11am to 7pm.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Featured: Three Children's Books








These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day,except Monday, 11am to 7pm.

New Arrivals: Fiction

...a good bit of classic fiction arrived in the shop this week. I'll try to post the highlights but the books seem to be coming fast and furious from all sides these days (!)

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Arrivals: Four by Friedrich Glauser


"Glauser is widely regarded as the German speaking world's answer to Simenon. His hero, sergeant Studer, is a dogged copper who hides his steely determination behind an avuncular façade..." Mail on Sunday

"Friedrich Glauser was born in Vienna in 1896. Often referred to as the Swiss Simenon, he died aged forty-two a few days before he was due to be married. Diagnosed a schizophrenic, addicted to morphine and opium, he spent much of his life in psychiatric wards, insane asylums and, when he was arrested for forging prescriptions in prison. He also spent two years with the Foreign Legion in North Africa, after which he worked as a coal-miner and a hospital orderly. In 1939, a year after Glauser’s death, the film of 'Thumbprint', the first Sergeant Studer mystery, was greeted with critical acclaim and commercial success. Studer became more famous than his creator, the mark of true success for a fictional detective.

Glauser’s elegant prose and acute observation conjure up a world of those at the margins of society. His Sergeant Studer novels have ensured his place as a cult figure in Europe. Germany’s most prestigious crime fiction award is called the Glauser prize."












These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day, 11am to 7pm.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Featured: Tove Jansson's Moomin

In celebration of the various Moomin restocks (comix, picture books, and storybooks) that arrived today, here's some freaky vintage Moomin stop-motion animation:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Arrivals: Four by Hans Fallada


Hans Fallada

"Before WWII , German writer Hans Fallada’s novels were international bestsellers, on a par with those of his countrymen Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse. In America, Hollywood even turned his first big novel, Little Man, What Now? into a major motion picture.

Learning the movie was made by a Jewish producer, however, Hitler decreed Fallada’s work could no longer be sold outside Germany, and the rising Nazis began to pay him closer attention. When he refused to join the Nazi party he was arrested by the Gestapo—who eventually released him, but thereafter regularly summoned him for “discussions” of his work.

However, unlike Mann, Hesse, and others, Fallada refused to flee to safety, even when his British publisher, George Putnam, sent a private boat to rescue him. The pressure took its toll on Fallada, and he resorted increasingly to drugs and alcohol for relief. After Goebbels ordered him to write an anti-Semitic novel, he snapped and found himself imprisoned in an asylum for the “criminally insane”—considered a death sentence under Nazi rule. To forestall the inevitable, he pretended to write the assignment for Goebbels, while actually composing
three encrypted books—including his tour de force novel The Drinker—in such dense code that they were not deciphered until long after his death.

Fallada outlasted the Reich and was freed at war’s end. But he was a shattered man. To help him recover by putting him to work, Fallada’s publisher gave him the Gestapo file of a simple, working-class couple who had resisted the Nazis. Inspired, Fallada completed Every Man Dies Alone in just twenty-four days.

He died in February 1947, just weeks before the book’s publication." -Melville House





The Drinker

"Written in an encrypted notebook while incarcerated in a Nazi insane asylum and discovered after his death, The Drinker may be Hans Fallada’s most breathtaking piece of craftsmanship. It is an intense yet absorbing study of the descent into drunkenness by an intelligent man who fears he’s lost it all."

"Genuinely tragic and beautiful...[Fallada's] perfectly horrifying, horrifyingly perfect novel is the story of himself rejected by society and returning the insult."
—New Statesmen





Little Man, What Now?

This is the book that led to Hans Fallada's downfall with the Nazis. The sotry of a young couple struggling to survive the German economic collapse was a worldwide sensation and was made into an acclaimed Hollywood movie produced by Jews, leading Hitler to ban Fallda's work from being translated.

Nonetheless, it remains, as The Times Literary Supplement notes, "the novel of a time in which public and rivate merged even for those who wanted to stay at home and mind their own business."

"Fallada deserves high praise for having reported so realistically, so truthfully, with such closeness to life." —Herman Hesse

"Superb." —Graham Greene

"Painfully true to life ... I have read nothing so engaging as Little Man, What Now? for a long time." — Thomas Mann





Wolf Among Wolves

"His most ambitious novel... deeply moving... he has evoked more than one can bear, but not more than it is necessary to learn, to keep and to understand."

—Alfred Kazin, The New York Times

"Fallada handles [the characters] not morbidly but with a Hogarthian exuberance and a tough humor, infusing into even those dying spirits the life of his copious imagination... Fallada's best book." —The New Yorker (1938)

“An outstanding novel [about] an especially grim period in German history, the Weimar Republic....Much more entertaining than the tomes produced by the usual German suspects, Mann, Hesse, Grass, Böll.” —Tibor Fischer, The Telegraph

"Fallada can be seen as a hero, a writer-hero who survived just long enough to strike back at his oppressors." —Alan Furst





Every Man Dies Alone

“A signal literary event of 2009 has occurred… Rescued from the grave, from decades of forgetting…[Every Man Dies Alone] testifies to the lasting value of an intact, if battered, conscience…In a publishing hat trick, Melville House allows English-language readers to sample Fallada’s vertiginous variety…[and] the keen vision of a troubled man in troubled times, with more breadth, detail and understanding…than most other chroniclers of the era have delivered. To read Every Man Dies Alone, Fallada’s testament to the darkest years of the 20th century, is to be accompanied by a wise, somber ghost who grips your shoulder and whispers in your ear: “This is how it was. This is what happened.” —The New York Times Book Review

"The greatest book ever written about the German resistance to the Nazi's." —Primo Levi

"Hans Fallada's Every Man Dies Alone is one of the most extraordinary and compelling novels ever written about World War II. Ever. Please do not miss this." —Alan Furst Link

"One of the most extraordinary ambitious literary resurrections in recent memory." —The Los Angeles Times



These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day, 11am to 7pm.

We accept Visa, MC, Amex, Paypal and cash.