Arts & Humanities Reviews June 1, 2012

starred review stard’Arcais, Francesca Flores. Giotto. 2d ed. Abbeville. 2012. 391p. tr. by Raymond Rosenthal. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780789211149. $135. FINE ARTS

In this oversize (13.2″ x 11.3″ x 1.6″), heavy (8 lbs.), lavishly illustrated (more than 300 illustrations, most in full color, including some double gatefold pages) publication, retired Italian scholar of medieval and Renaissance art d’Arcais (Altichiero e Avanzo: La Cappella Di San Giacomo) presents the second edition of her survey of the career and works of the Florentine painter, sculptor, and architect Giotto (c.1267,1337), regarded by many art historians as a founder of the Italian Renaissance and the creator of a new, illusionistic, and dramatic pictorial style. She discusses the artist’s famous and lesser-known frescoes, panel paintings, and crucifixes, including but not limited to his work in the upper basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, and Santa Croce’s Bardi and Peruzzi Chapels in Florence as well as the Stefaneschi Polyptych and the Ognissanti Madonna. This second edition adds an updated bibliography and a new preface that surveys the present state of Giotto scholarship as well as the effects of Italy’s 1997 earthquake on both the art and the scholarship. VERDICT Beautifully presented and thoughtfully written, this insightful examination of Giotto’s career and works belongs in all libraries. Highly recommended.—Cheryl Ann Lajos, Free Lib. of Philadelphia

starred review starTobolowsky, Stephen. The Dangerous Animals Club. S. & S. Aug. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9781451633153. $24. TV

Tobolowsky has appeared in hundreds of film and television roles (e.g., in Groundhog Day; Deadwood; Glee); however, instead of being recognized as a movie star, he writes that he is often mistaken for an insurance salesman or former science teacher. Perhaps it’s this everyman quality that elevates his debut collection of essays. Rather than presenting a mere compilation of anecdotes, Tobolowsky tells each story for a reason, creating a tapestry encompassing catching tarantulas, broken hearts, Davy Crockett, the biblical story of Joseph, and dying twice on Heroes. VERDICT Tobolowsky guides the reader along a hilarious, poignant, and haunting path. The end result is that most magical of memoirs‚ one that illuminates the reader’s life as much as the author’s. Ignore the celebrity aspect and put this book in the hands of your memoir readers. Lovers of good writing will welcome this powerful, compelling voice.—Terry Bosky, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., FL

starred review starHalaby, Laila. My Name on His Tongue. Syracuse Univ. Jun. 2012. c.136p. ISBN 9780815632948. pap. $17.95. POETRY

In her debut poetry collection, best-selling novelist Halaby (West of the Jordan) narrates the need of Arab Americans to navigate new realities while giving voice to old ones. She writes about her personal feelings and daily experiences in a confessional mode reminiscent of works by Louise Glück. Using a narrative style as she passionately interweaves insights about peace, war, family, nostalgia, exile, and sociopolitical conflicts, among other subjects, Halaby promotes poetry as both testimony and instrument of change: one thousand/ one hundred/ one/ it doesn’t matter the number/ they came/ and walked/ for peace. The tireless search for a sense of belonging drums through most of the poems as Halaby tries to reconcile here with there, her new country with her ancestral homeland. She deploys sarcasm and irony to express her bitterness over the trend of cultural demonizing, and her heritage, with its strong narrative of historical grievances, gives the collection a melancholy tone. VERDICT Halaby transforms her life experiences into emotionally touching poems. Recommended for all readers, especially those interested in Arab American literature.—Sadiq Alkoriji, South Regional Lib., Broward Cty., FL

The following titles are reviewed in the June 1 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


Cherix, Christophe & others. Print/Out: 20 Years in Print. Museum of Modern Art, dist. by D.A.P. 2012. 236p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780870708251. pap. $50. GRAPHIC ARTS

starred review starCohen, Jean-Louis. The Future of Architecture Since 1889. Phaidon. 2012. 638p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780714845982. $75. ARCHITECTURE

The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde, 1860‚ 1900. V&A, dist. by Abrams. 2012. 288p. ed. by Lynn Federle Orr & Stephen Calloway. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781851776948. $65. FINE ARTS

Findlay, Michael. The Value of Art: Money, Power, Beauty. Prestel. 2012. c.208p. illus. index. ISBN 9783791346380. $29.95. FINE ARTS

Jha, Rambharos. Waterlife. Tara, dist. by PGW. 2012. 28p. illus. ISBN 9789380340135. $44.95. FINE ARTS

O’Neal, Hank. XCIA’s Street Art Project: The First Four Decades. Siman Media. 2012. 208p. photogs. ISBN 9780983582700. $39.95. FINE ARTS

Thornton Dial: Thoughts on Paper. Univ. of North Carolina. 2012. 224p. ed. by Bernard L. Herman. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780807835296. $45. FINE ARTS


Cotkin, George. Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick. Oxford Univ. Aug. 2012. c.320p. illus. index. ISBN 9780199855735. $99; pap. ISBN 9780199855759. $18.95. LIT

Eagleton, Terry. The Event of Literature. Yale Univ. 2012. c.264p. ISBN 9780300178814. $26. LIT

Gorra, Michael. Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece. Liveright: Norton. Aug. 2012. c.384p. index. ISBN 9780871404084. $29.95. LIT

Price, Leah. How To Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain. Princeton Univ. 2012. c.360p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691114170. $29.95. LIT

Performing Arts

Dolan, Marc. Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Norton. Jun. 2012. c.528p. illus. index. ISBN 9780393081350. $29.95. MUSIC

Jarnow, Jesse. Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock. Gotham: Penguin Group (USA). Jun. 2012. c.368p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781592407156. pap. $18. MUSIC

Kurin, Richard. Madcap May: Mistress of Myth, Men & Hope. Smithsonian Bks., dist. by Random. Sept. 2012. c.288p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781588343260. $27.95. THEATER


Collier, Michael. An Individual History. Norton. Jul. 2012. c.80p. ISBN 9780393082494. $25.95. POETRY

Gregerson, Linda. The Selvage. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2012. c.96p. ISBN 9780547750095. $23. POETRY

Lux, Thomas. Child Made of Sand. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2012. c.96p. ISBN 9780547580982. $23. POETRY

Sarzotti, Jo. Mother Desert. Graywolf. Jun. 2012. c.72p. ISBN 9781555976156. pap. $15. POETRY

Sebald, W.G. Across the Land and the Water: Selected Poems, 1964-2001. Random. 2012. c.192p. tr. From German by Iain Galbraith. ISBN 9781400068906. $25. POETRY

Sports & Recreation

Spivey, Donald. If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy Satchel Paige. Univ. of Missouri. 2012. c.362p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780826219787. $29.95. SPORTS



  1. William Thompson says:

    Most of the titles you state are available in “our Reviews Center (Beta)” cannot be found there, either searching by title or ISBN. If you’re no longer going to have these available on your main site, you need to get the Beta up and working properly. Very displeased…