Arts & Humanities Reviews | April 1, 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred review One Place: Paul Kwilecki and Four Decades of Photographs from Decatur County, Georgia. Univ. of North Carolina. Apr. 2013. 272p. ed. by Tom Rankin. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781469607405. $45. PHOTOG

This remarkable, superbly edited book tells the arresting story of a heretofore little-known documentarian and ethnographer while highlighting his powerful and beautiful black-and-white photographs. Kwilecki, who died in 2009, was a self-taught artist who made his living in his family’s hardware store in Bainbridge, GA. His extraordinary gifts are given an overdue viewing here: a privileged window into the small-town economies and people of the last century in the rural South. Readers are given entrée into a world of shade-tobacco farming, carnival midways, African American loggers, proud shopkeepers, jail hog killings, segregated bus stations, and rural grocery shops. Clearly, Kwilecki was not an observer on the fringes. VERDICT Containing abundant, memorable images by what can justifiably be called an undiscovered master—comparisons with Dorothea Lange and William Eggleston are apt—interspersed with his own eloquent writing, this is an irresistible book. Kwilecki was a picture maker who compelled his viewers to know whom he knew, and succeeded at it. A gift to all lovers of great photography, this book deserves a place in most if not all collections.—Douglas F. Smith, Berkley P.L.

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewGoldberg, Jonathan. Strangers on a Train: A Queer Film Classic. Arsenal Pulp. (Queer Film Classic). 2013. 160p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781551524825. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781551524832. FILM

Hitchcock’s 1951 thriller, loosely based on the Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name, has long held mainstream appeal as an exploration of the director’s favorite theme: the evil that lurks just below the surface of everyday life and ordinary people. The film has also endured because of its more than ample subtext, and this latest entry to the “Queer Film Classic” series does not disappoint. Here Goldberg (sexuality, Emory Univ.; Reclaiming Sodom) offers a compelling, scholarly look at the production of the film, critical (queer and otherwise) analyses, and the theme of “double-ness” and its (according to Truffaut) obsession with the number two. These queer readings of Strangers on a Train talk more about the film’s homoerotic energy, especially in its two male leads, and visual sexuality, and less about who “is gay” or not. VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of Hitchcock, Highsmith, critical analysis, and film studies. Engaging and readable, this work—with all its light and intrigue—will make any reader want to pick up the DVD too.—Benjamin Malczewski, Toledo-Lucas Cty. P.L., OH

Winder, Elizabeth. Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953. Harper. 2013. 288p. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780062085498. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062085528. LIT

February 11, 2013, marked the 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath’s death and a plethora of new Plath-related publications. Here, poet Winder focuses on May 1953, the month Plath spent in New York City as a guest editor at Mademoiselle. Winder contextualizes this brief, intense period as the basis for Plath’s autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar. Her life that month was harried, filled with glitz and exhaustion, and may have contributed largely to Plath’s subsequent breakdown and first suicide attempt. The book is loosely organized, contains extensive sidebars, and possesses a poetic sensibility. Although the tone and arrangement appear more artistic than academic, the volume isn’t frivolous and is largely based on original interviews or correspondence with 15 of the other 19 “girls” who were, along with Plath, guest editors. VERDICT Winder poignantly captures a snapshot of a time that directly inspired one of Plath’s most famous works. She also captures Plath as bright, vivacious, and even brittle. For fans, particularly devotees of The Bell Jar. —Audrey Snowden, Orrington P.L., ME

The following titles are reviewed in the April 1, print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Art of the Dead: A Celebration of the Artists Behind the American Rock Poster Movement. Soft Skull. 2012. 208p. ed. by Philip Cushway. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781593765026. $45. GRAPHIC ART

Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and Duchamp. Yale Univ. 2013. 432p. ed. by Carlos Basualdo & Erica F. Battle. illus. ISBN 9780300189254. $55. FINE ARTS

Gilson, William (text) & Thomas Gilson (photogs.). Carved in Stone: The Artistry of Early New England Gravestones. Wesleyan Univ. 2012. 136p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780819573018. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780819573025. PHOTOG

Hauser, Marc & others. Body Language: Stories in Flesh. Cloud Hands. 2012. 72p. illus. ISBN 9780974201368. $39.95. PHOTOG

Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity. Yale Univ. 2012. 336p. ed. by Gloria Groom. illus. ISBN 978300184518. $65. FINE ARTS

Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews. Univ. of Washington. 2013. 200p. ed. by David Yeroushalmi. illus. ISBN 9780984755028. $30. FINE ARTS

Lutz, Maija M. Hunters, Carvers and Collectors: The Chauncey C. Nash Collection of Inuit Art. Harvard Univ. 2012. 148p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780873654074. pap. $21.95. FINE ARTS

Yang, Liu. China’s Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor’s Legacy. Minneapolis Inst. of Art. 2012. 336p. illus. index. ISBN 9780980048490. pap. $39.95. FINE ARTS


Calvino, Italo. Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941–1985. Princeton Univ. Apr. 2013. 632p. tr. from Italian by Martin McLaughlin. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691139456. $39.50. LIT

Critchley, Simon & Jamieson Webster. Stay, Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine. Pantheon. Jun. 2013. 288p. bibliog. notes. index. ISBN 9780307907615. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780307907622. $25. LIT

Dear Mark Twain: Letters from His Readers. Univ. of California. 2013. 296p. ed. by R. Kent Rasmussen. photogs. index. ISBN 9780520261341. $27.50. LIT

Hollenberg, Donna Krolik. A Poet’s Revolution: The Life of Denise Levertov. Univ. of California. Apr. 2013. 510p. photogs. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780520272460. $44.95. LIT

O’Brien, Edna. Country Girl: A Memoir. Little, Brown. Apr. 2013. 336p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780316122702. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780316230360. LIT

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewPitzer, Andrea. The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov. Pegasus. 2013. 439p. photogs. notes. index. ISBN 9781605984117. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781453271674. LIT

Scheub, Harold. Trickster and Hero: Two Characters in the Oral and Written Traditions of the World. Univ. of Wisconsin. 2013. 232p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780299290740. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780299290733. $21.95. LIT

The Selected Letters of Willa Cather. Knopf. Apr. 2013. 720p. ed. by Andrew Jewell & Janice Stout. photogs. index. ISBN 9780307959300. $37.50; ebk. ISBN 9780307959317. LIT


Library Journal Reviews starred reviewCott, Jonathan. Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein. Oxford Univ. 2013. 208p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199858446. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780199311477. MUSIC

Stadiem, William. Moneywood: Hollywood in Its Last Age of Excess. St. Martin’s. 2013. 336p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780312656898. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250014078. FILM


Library Journal Reviews starred reviewCelan, Paul. Paul Celan: 70 Poems. Persea. May 2013. 96p. tr. from German by Michael Hamburger. ISBN 9780892554249. pap. $12. POETRY


Library Journal Reviews starred reviewBolelli, Daniele. Create Your Own Religion: A How-To Book Without Instructions. Disinformation Co. Apr. 2013. 352p. notes. ISBN 9781938875021. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781609258665. REL

Gire, Ken. Answering the Call: The Doctor Who Made Africa His Life; The Remarkable Story of Albert Schweitzer. Thomas Nelson. Apr. 2013. 208p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781595550798. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781595553928. REL

White, Fr. Michael & Tom Corcoran. Rebuilt: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, and Making Church Matter. Ave Maria. 2013. 320p. notes. ISBN 9781594713866. pap. $16.95. REL