4 Excellent Cookbooks from Norton

I have to admit that as an avid food enthusiast and food writer I have a surprising lack of interest in owning cookbooks. I love to look through them for ideas, but I often find it more fulfilling to create a recipe than to follow one. However, this is not the case with an armful  of books that Norton has published over the past year.

My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy’s Undiscovered South is an amazing book filled with incredible recipes and methods for making your own… well, everything. Using family recipes and methods, Rosetta Constantino illustrates how to collect and dry your own herbs, make your own preserved meats, dry your own fruits and vegetables, make cheese and bread, hand roll pasta and infuse your own liqueurs. All this alongside delightful  dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and appetizers. Each recipe is steeped in Calabrian tradition and beautifully presented with photographs by Sarah Remington and commentary written with Janet Fletcher. I guarantee you that even the cook who thinks they can make everything will have a million things to learn from this book. $35.00

The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts For Every Occasion is written by pastry chef Bill Yosses and New York Times food writer Melissa Clark. This is my favorite cookbook this season. I lack a lot of confidence in baking, mostly because I am not a huge fan of sweets so I rarely look for a reason make cakes or cookies etc. The few things I love to make tend to be a little salty or caramelized. Well, this is an entire book of recipes like that. Every single page has something remarkable and delicious on it. This is not a cookbook filled sugary sweets you expect to find in most pastry shops, this is a cookbook filled with deserts you expect to find at a high end restaurant, or indeed, the White House where Yosses is the current pastry chef. The combination of beautiful and amazing recipes and Melissa Clark’s easy to follow writing makes this an absolute gem. Particularly his recipe for making flat, chewy, chocolate chip cookies, a recipe I have since made dozens of times and been told by everyone who tries them that they are the best cookies they have ever had. $35.00

Speaking of the New York Times, this year Amanda Hesser recently released the Essential New York Times Cook Book: Classic Recipes for a New Century, a book she tested over 1,400 recipes to write. Collected from recipes printed in the New York Times over the last 150 years, this book has everything. I mean literally everything. Cocktails, snacks, soups salads, whole sections on potatoes, corn and legumes, 3 sections on different types of meat, breakfast and brunch, bread, baking, frozen deserts, sandwiches, savory pies, and that is less than half the list in the contents. It’s as if the New York Times decided to do a celebrity version of the Joy of Cooking, with recipes from favorite food writers like Julia Child, Mark Bittman & Jamie Oliver. Each recipe was hand picked her after surveying devoted New York Times readers for their favorite recipes, an absolute must have for any food lover. $40.00

Jim Lahey’s recipe for no kneed bread remains my favorite bread of all time. It is something I still make on a weekly basis, even after 4 years. My Bread is an expansion on the recipe he released to the New York Times years ago, covering a wide variety of grains and variations for everything from crusty loaf bread to pizzas to foccacia, and an entire section on sandwiches. I cannot recommend this book enough. For any bread lover, even those with an acute fear of baking, this recipe is hands down the best. $29.95

The Best Small Gift Books

This year there is no need to fill someone’s stocking with toothpaste and gum! No need to fill the extra space in the box with impulse items you picked up in the checkout line! This year, fill the tiny spaces with tiny, thoughtful, artistic books!

Below is our guide to the best small books available at Logos:

Postcard Books:

Beautiful postcard books from James Jean, Mark Ryden, Camilla d’Errico, and Yoshitomo Nara. Each set $9.95, or $12.95 for the oversized Mark Ryden cards.

Small Art Books:

Rift, by James Jean is a small accordion style book with paintings on one side and the pencil drawings on the other, a mini version of his Process Recess art books, for $12.95.

Hundertwasser: Complete Graphic Work 1951-1976 is a pocket sized collection of stunning full color images for $24.95.

Yoshitomo Nara’s Animus is a beautiful, small pop-up book and short story for $25.00.

Ed Rouscha’s Los Angeles by Alex Schwartz is a collection of 4 essays exploring the influence of Los Angeles on pop culture and, therefore, Los Angeles artists. A pocket sized hardcover for $29.95.

Tim Biskup’s The Jackson 500 Volume 3 is a small square volume of color reproductions of his paintings for $14.95.

Small Poetry Volumes:

Pocket sized poetry books from Rainer Maria Rilke, Pablo Neruda, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Kenneth Rexroth, all between $10 and $11!

Pocket Sized Literary Books:

Everything and Nothing by Jorge Luis Borges $9.95

Shoplifting from American Apparel by Tao lin $13.00

The Novelist’s Lexicon: Writers on Words That Define Their Work $16.95

The Red Notebook: True Stories by Paul Auster $10.95

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Beastiary by David Sedaris with Illustrations by Ian Falconer $21.99

This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life by David Foster Wallace $14.99

101 Things To Know About Stuff:

The 101 Things I Learned series are short, important lessons intended to help the novice or enthusiast in their field. Nicely bound in hardcover boards, these books are $15.00 (except architecture, which is $12.95)

Penguin Great Ideas Series:

We carry a wide variety of the Penguin Great Ideas, from George Orwell’s essay Why I Write to Darwin’s On Natural Selection. Each book is embossed to look like an old letterpress edition, with beautifully designed covers. $10.00

Oxford’s A Very Short Introduction Series:

Logos is carrying a collection of Oxford’s A Very Short Introduction series on topics such as Jung, Marx, Foucault, Kierkegaard, Nothing, Quantum Theory, Poststructuralism, Postmodernism, Modernism, Modern Art, and many more! At $11.95 each, these small books contain excellent thoughtful insights for the novice (or enthusiast) philosopher.

33 1/3 Essay Series:

The 33 1/3 essay series is one of the best gifts you can give a music lover. Written on specific albums or songs by other musicians, these essays are more or less love songs to some of the most influential music of the past 50 years. $12.95 each

Comic Books Based on Nintendo Games. Any Questions?

Today was another in a long line of regular reminders of why I love working at a used bookstore. Aside from being surrounded by co-workers that I’m constantly learning from and having fun with, there’s that glaringly obvious perk of being in a position to nab first dibs on cool stuff that comes through each day. Now I yap on and on about comics over at my other blog all the time (and video games based on them have been a staple of the industry forever), so when I come across a book that’s filled with strips based on a bunch of Nintendo characters, yeah…it nerds me out pretty hard.

Continue Reading

Essays – Wallace Shawn

For this week’s Books in Motion we bring you a WNYC interview with Wallace Shawn on his book Essays.  Wallace Shawn is ‘hands down’ one of my favorite writers of all time.  Most well known for his cameo appearances in television and film (inconceivable!), Wallace Shawn is, at heart, a playwright.  His book of essays touches on the work he did with Andre Gregory in My Dinner w

The Prince of Mist – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I got really excited about Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s young-adult fiction because he is just the sort of writer I would have loved to read when I was growing up. I craved dark, mysterious tales of the unexplained, which of course exist in abundance — but I wanted them to take place in this one particular antique era, in this one particular faraway land. I had to wait until I was in my 20s to discover Zafón, chronicler of the imaginary happenings of wartime Spain (and official conquerer, after the fact, of my adventure-craving adolescent heart).

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Seth Grahame-Smith

Out now is Seth Grahame-Smith’s new novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter! Graham-Smith is the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which quickly picked up a cult following leading to a tedious series from Quirk books (Quirk Classics, by Steve Hockensmith and Ben H. Winters).  His new novel breaks away from the mash-up genre and follows more in the footsteps of World War Z.  In fact, early staff reviews are already reporting that his writing is as good, if not better, than Max Brooks’.

Watch the trailer below!

Now Available at Logos!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Seth Grahame-Smith


Weekly Picks: Gift Books

meditationsThis week we bring you a special edition of our weekly picks as a way of highlighting some of the amazing, beautiful pocket sized books we are carrying at the front desk.  From various publishers, focusing on literary, political, philosophical, and critical theory, the portable well made books make perfect small gifts for any book enthusiast.

The Penguin Great Ideas series are reprints of the some of the most world-changing, influential, and inspirational pieces of literature.  Beautifully packaged to mimic classic typeset broadsides, these lovely books range in price from $8.95 to $10 and include titles such as Where I Lived, and What I Lived For by Henry David Theoreau, Why I Write by George Orwell, and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

Also at the front desk are several lovely poetry books from New Directions Publishers: Love Poems by Pablo Neruda, Songs of Love, Moon, & Wind: Poems from the Chinese translated by Kenneth Rexroth, Written on the Sky: Poems from the Japanese translated by Kenneth Rexroth, Book of Hours by Rainer Maria Rilke, and Poetry as Insurgent Art by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. From New Directions Bibelot series we have The Red Notebook by Paul Auster, Everything and Nothing by Jorge Luis Borges, A Devil In Paradise by Henry Miller, as well as works from Dylan Thomas and more from Pablo Neruda. We also hand-picked some of our favorites: Stolen Sharpie Revolution 2 by Alex Wrekk, The Coming Insurrection by The Invisible Committee, Spirited Away: BFI Film Classic by Andrew Osmond, The Wizard of Oz: BFI Film ClassicThis is Water by Salman Rushie, by David Foster Wallace, Insects and Flowers by Maria Sibylla Merian, Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg, Violence by Slavoj Žižek, 33 1/3 Series: Velvet Underground and Nico by Joe Harvard, Venus by Augusten Rodin, and The Bicycle Commuter’s Pocket Guide by Robert Hurst.

Check them out below!

The Fig by Ira J Condit

fig 03THE FIG: A Fruit of Ancient Origin! Here we feature an amazing 1947 publication  – not intended to be a textbook or manual on practical fig culture, but a loving ode to the large, deciduous shrub or small tree native to southwest Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region. One of the first plants cultivated by humans, figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber. A key player in Greek Mythology, the Bible and the Quran. AND HOW ABOUT THAT LUSCIOUS INTERIOR??? There’s just so much to love about the fig. Come explore with us! Ask any of our staff at the Buy Desk, or contact the Rare Book Department or purchase the title online… chances are it won’t last long!! (Update: the book has sold…wonderful and unusual books like this one don’t stay on our shelves too long!)

Watching Baseball Smarter

watching baseballWith the World Series starting today, I’d like to highlight an important and vital book related to the art of watching baseball. Now, the main grievance of those who don’t know any better is that baseball is boring.  But those who love baseball realize that there is much more going on in any inning – even in between every pitch – than the naysayers realize. Zack Hample’s Watching Baseball Smarter breaks it all down into digestible bites, explaining the basic rules concisely and clearly, and then delving deeper. The infield fly rule, the no doubles defense, he even manages to make the balk comprehensible. Hample obviously has a deep love for the game, and he writes about it with a warm humor and admiration for its little quirks. It’s a valuable reference guide and entertaining book for anyone who enjoys America’s favorite pastime.
Now Available at Logos
Watching Baseball Smarter
by Zack Hample

New in Fiber Arts

hattitudeOctober is shaping up as a fine month for new Fiber Crafts books.  With  Old Man Winter nipping at our heels,  now is a fine time to dust off the knitting needles, spinning wheels,  looms and crochet hooks.

Among the offering is Hattitude by Cathy Carson.  This truly is a paradise for hat knitters with 35 patterns suitable for every mood.  Each pattern is designed around an attitude such as “mysterious,” “lively,” “rebellious,” or “whimsical.”book of wool

For knitters who love knitting with wool, Clara Parkes’  Knitter’s Book of Wool is brimming with practical information about this wonderful fiber.   Parkes’ book covers all aspects of wool,  from the properties of fleece to the processing of raw wool to spin and knit.  Twenty wonderful knitting patterns are included and range from super soft garments to warm outerwear.

The last selection of the month is AwareKnits, by Vickie Howell and Adrienne Armstrong.  All of the patterns are designed with eco-friendly yarns and information about responsible manufacturing procedures,  yarn sources and energy consumption.

There are many other great in-store fiber books too numerous to mention,  so please stop by the store and check them out.

Available At Logos:

Hattitude by Cathy Carson $19.95

The Knitter’s Book Of Wool by Clara Parkes $30.00

AwareKnits by by Vickie Howell and Adrienne Armstrong $22.95

Its White and Turbid Wake: Happy Birthday Moby-Dick!


On October 18th, raise your “long, barbed steel goblets” and whet your harpoons, for Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick is another year older. Live the literature: have a whale steak, embark upon some sort of fiery hunt after a beast with an inscrutable malice sinewing it, philosophize in the crow’s nest, pilot your ship downward to Davy Jones, etc. Or just do some quality quaffing. “Death to Moby Dick! God hunt us all, if we do not hunt Moby Dick to his death!”

On the Implications of Stitches

stitchesSeveral months ago I met with a representative from the Norton group who strongly encouraged me to pick up a copy of Stitches: A Memoir by David Small.  I had kind of forgotten about the book until it arrived and I put it on the shelf. It is a remarkable book.  Written and illustrated by David Small, a childrens author and illustrator, it is an autobiographical graphic novel: a comic book.  The implications of such a title didn’t hit me.  Recently we have made a movement in our store to give better real estate and advertising to our Graphic Novel section, under the belief that the old stigma of the “comic book geek” has died, that more and more known literary figures are delving into the genre, that hollywood has begun to take an intensive and serious interest, and that it has truly hit the mainstream–but not just the mainstream, it has hit the intellectual.  Over the years, people who might have scoffed at someone reading a comic book have found their favorite authors immersed in the genre:  Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Auster. More and more people are discovering the depth that and brilliance that comic books can give to narrative tale.  There is no longer a reason to banish them to the basement, hide them under the bed, or fear the comic book guy.  People display them proudly on their home book shelves next to copies of Ulysses or A Remembrance of Things Past, as we display them proudly next to our literature section.  But this is still the bookshelf of the younger generation.  With the introduction of Stitches, as well as Logicomix (a graphic novel about Bertrand Russell, mathematics, and the intellectual demons), this genre is quickly bursting open to new groups of people: older intellectuals, librarians, teachers.  These books are making waves throughout the literary scene, shocking the New York Times, and exposing a skeptical group of people to the depth and intensity that a graphic novel can embody. Talking with a fella from Diamond Distribution last week, he told me “I don’t think Norton understands the importance of putting out a book like this”. What he further explained, is that  Stitches is starting to reach educators, radically changing their ideas about the potential of graphic novels to help children understand complex themes, as well as beginning readings.  The fact that it is published by Norton gives it instant literary credibility; and once readers see that a graphic novel is not the same as “the funny pages”, an entire new world opens up before them.  This book is beautifully illustrated, eloquently narrated, intense, dark, and playful.  It is groundbreaking.

So, without further ado… For this week’s books in motion we bring you 5 scenes from David Small’s new book: Stitches: A Memoir

Available Now at Logos
Stiches: A Memoir
By David Small

Master and Margarita | Banned and Censored: A History and Guide to the Translations.

master1The Master and Margarita is one of my favorite books of all time.  A satire of soviet life, The Master and Margarita features the devil and his retinue, Pontius Pilate, Yeshua Ha-Nozri (Иешуа га-Ноцри, Jesus the Nazarene), and nearly 10-20 other characters all caught up in fantastic and very chaotic adventure.  Bulgakov’s portrayal of the Russian literary union, the housing crisis, the collective fear of foreigners, and his fresh portrayal of famous biblical characters is absolutely and hysterically funny.

When Mikhail Bulgakov began writing this novel, he was in the midst of extreme success for his satircal plays which largely teased and harassed the White Army: the opposition to the communism during the revolution.  Perhaps growing too bold for Soviet times, he wrote a play (The Purple Island 1929) which criticized officials of the New Economic Plan, which created such a violent reaction that his works were immediatly banned and his career ruined.  Fearing further persecution, a year later in 1930 he burned the manuscript for The Master and Margarita and requested permission to emmigrate to his family in France.  The request was denied, and he was told if tried to leave Russia he would be killed.  In 1931, under encouragement from his new wife Yelena Shilovskaya, he started rewriting the novel, finally completing a 4th revision of the book in 1940, just weeks before his death from a hereditary liver disease.  After his death, his wife completed a final version based on notes and planned revisions in 1941.  It was 25 years before it appeared in print, in what is considered startling oversight in Soviet literary politics.  This  censored version of the text (with 12% removed and more changed) was published in 1966 in Moskva Magazine. Illegal pamphlet copies of the book called samizdats that contained the uncensored text were distributed by hand and eventually used in 1967 by a publisher in Frankfurt to complete the first full published version of the text.  The first complete version to appear in Russia wasn’t until 1973, compiled by Anna Saakyants and published by Khudozhestvennaya Literatura.  This was considered the cannonical version until 1989 when Lidiya Yanovskaya prepared the final version based on all available texts and manuscripts.

master 2

Mirra Ginsburg Translation (Grove Press 1967):

Translated from the original censored magazine publication in 1967, this is one of the first English translations.  Considered hurried by some, a Russian professor of mine once declared that her translation is the only one that truly captures the comedic sense of the novel.  Hurried or comedic, this is an incomplete edition.


Michael Glenny Translation (Harper &  Row 1967):

Translated from the  Frankfurt edition, this is often considered the first complete translation in English, also from 1967.  For many, this translation is still incomplete, as it is taken from the a version of the book that was pulled apart then pieced together from samizdat texts. This translation was the only available complete edition in English for 28 years.

master 3master 4

Where the real split begins is between the Diana Burgin & Katherine Tiernan O’Connor translation and the Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky. translation.  Published within years of each other both translations are incredibly complete, with notes, two translators, and a consultant.  Both translations seek to be accurate while still preserving the literary style of the satire.  Often, with excellent translations such as these, it can come down to an arbitrary personal preference.  Mine is firmly planted with Pevear & Volokhonsky, who are renown for the translations of Dotstyevsky, Chekov, Tolstoy and Gogol.  Nearly everyone I know who has read The Master and Margarita has read this translation and fallen in love with it, which makes me want to recommend it as the be-all and end-all edition, but the praise I have read by obviously devoted Bulgakov fans for the Burgin & Tiernan translation makes me hesitate.  Either way you go, you are sure to end up with a lovely, hysterical, and amazing story.

Juliet, Naked: a Novel by Nick Hornby

julietnakedI can admit it. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Nick Hornby novel.  Without really giving him a chance, I pigeonholed him into a “relationship book” category that was probably too hasty.  Indeed, Juliet, Naked is about a relationship; but that is just the platform for which an entirely different novel is placed.  Juliet, Naked explores the reclusive artist with a cult following, and the people who obsess over him.  With the news buzzing with people hiring forensic scientists to test voice samples of Thomas Pynchon, private letters being sold and revealed, and J. D. Salinger coming out of hiding only to block another tribute piece, I can’t help but wonder how much of it is just our way of expressing our love for an artists who doesn’t necessarily want it, or believe in it.  If you have found yourself, like me, ignoring Nick Hornby, thinking maybe he doesn’t really have something new to offer, I implore you: Check out Juliet, Naked, find your love for him again.  Just don’t stalk him once you remember how much you missed him.

Now Available at Logos

Juliet, Naked: A Novel
by Nick Hornby
Hardcover 416 pages