ABC’s booksellers don’t just sell books: as well as being voracious readers, almost all ABC staff members are personally responsible for buying the books for one or more sections in the stores. That means you’ll always find someone who can put exactly the right book in your hands when you need it. We asked our buyers for their tips for the best gifts for the upcoming holiday season, and they came up with some great ones: new books, classic books, magazines, games, merchandise, and stationery.
Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category
Five Recently Arrived Titles from the Poetry Section:
In case you are going crazy because you don’t know what to give this weekend, Renate, our Amsterdam Fiction Buyer, has put together a list of fiction, short story, memoir and poetry titles that are sure not to disappoint. We should be stocking these titles still, although you never know how fast a title can suddenly go at Christmas…*
1. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
2. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis
3. C by Tom McCarthy
4. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris
5. Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain
6. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (in a new translation by Lydia Davis)
7. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (wonderfully nice new editions!)
8. Meditations in an Emergency by Frank O’Hara (a little poetry from the late fifties and the sixties for all the Mad Men and Don Draper fans out there)
9. Human Chain, the new poetry collection by Seamus Heaney
10. Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man by Bill Clegg
*I checked for you this morning in Den Haag, and there we have everything except nr. 2 and nr. 8 in stock. Enjoy!
Reviewed by Oscar
One of the things that makes Neil Gaiman a relatively unique – and popular – writer is his subtle incorporation of mythological and fairy tale motifs in his fiction. One of my favourite stories in this respect is Instructions, a piece that appeared before in short story collections like M Is for Magic and Fragile Things. It’s great news then, that this little tale has now been published separately with wonderful illustrations by Charles Vess, who’s worked with Gaiman before on works like Stardust and the Sandman classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Instructions, as the title suggests, is a fairy tale written in the imperative. “You”, as a reader/adventurer – represented in the illustrations by Puss in Boots – are instructed to follow certain guidelines and bits of advice, in order to bring the tale to a satisfactory end. Examples include:
[W]alk down the path.
Inside [the castle] are three princesses. / Do not trust the youngest. / Walk on.
Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where you are going.
Compared to your usual fairy tale, Instructions is stripped bare of any narrative flesh, so to speak. What remains are the motifs and symbols that actually give a fairy tale its resonating meaning, and that’s why this story is so successful. Presented in this way, the instructions read almost like a poem in which every line counts. The tale also lays bare the relevance – albeit somewhat mystic – these symbols have for everyday life. In the end, the road is open:
Or make a home.
Charles Vess’ lovely illustrations accompany this tale beautifully; his works recall that of classic fairy tale illustrators like Arthur Rackham, though the drawing seem geared a bit more to a younger audience here, with soft colours and lines, broad strokes. In some ways, a far cry from the sometimes quite realistic bloodiness that can be seen in Stardust.
Altogether this is a lovely short work that will delight children and adults alike. Especially recommended for everyone who knows fairy tales are fascinating works for all ages.
As a young boy Willem van Ekeren admired the music of J.S. Bach. In the nineties he also became captivated by the poems of Charles Bukowski, an internationally famous American writer of contemporary prose and poetry. It became apparent to Willem that he had to combine the words of Bukowski with the music of Bach.
On his latest CD, Walking and Living Through This, the poems of Bukowski’s The Last Night of the Earth Poems are woven together with parts of the Well-Tempered Clavier of Bach. The lyrics are sung blues/jazz style in combination with authentic Bach music on the piano.
The result is an extraordinary mixture of piano and singing through which Bach‘s baroque music and Bukowski’s hard-driven lines sound simultaneously.
Curious? You can hear and see the results in the videos on the Bach-Bukowski site.
The Bach-Bukowski CDs are available in our stores. Call or mail us for details.
We have three copies of Walking and Living Through This to give away!
If you’d like to win one, e-mail your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll pick three winners at random after May 10th. Winners will be informed via e-mail.