A charming, heartfelt homage to the makers, past and present, who have defined lives and communities across the world.

A WOVEN WORLD

ON FASHION, FISHERMEN, AND THE SARDINE DRESS

Essays in celebration of artisans.

At first glance, the worlds of fashion and fishing may appear to be disparate topics, but using poetic language, childhood experiences, and knowledge of cultural history, Deming captivatingly weaves together these communities. Inspired by a 2016 exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art featuring Yves Saint Laurent’s “sardine dress,” the author set out to learn more about the artisans who have made an impact on her life. Among them are her maternal ancestors, who ran a couture dressmaking business “in Manhattan from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression,” and the herring fishermen on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, Canada, where she spent her childhood summers. Deming laments “the world’s dismissal of makers in favor of manufacturers,” which has “driven such small-scale artistry into obsolescence.” In a fascinating journey, she takes us around the world, from New Brunswick to New York to Paris and beyond, chasing leads and sifting through archives and sharing her family’s history and her own quest for continuity and belonging. Deming lovingly describes her grandmother’s skills cutting fabric and sewing together an elegant dress without a pattern as well as her remarkable ability to give new life to the author’s boring, secondhand prom dress. She also expresses the same childhood admiration and excitement in her descriptions of watching the fishermen on the island pull their bounties from the sea. “How much human life depended on the sea and the people’s ability to make vessels and nets and ropes and sails and salt, and to read water and sky and stars. Their ability to survive unimaginable hardship.” A running theme is the detachment between mother and daughter that has plagued Deming’s family for at least two generations, ultimately leading to her grandmother’s being buried in an unmarked grave and listed as having no heirs. At times, the details repeat across the essays, but this takes little away from the book’s overall high quality.

A charming, heartfelt homage to the makers, past and present, who have defined lives and communities across the world.

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64009-482-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

more