Nonfiction on Retro Cameras, Hustvedt’s Essays, and Lonely Planet Travel 2017 | Xpress Reviews

Week ending January 6, 2017

starred review starEllwand, David. Retro Photo: An Obsession; A Personal Selection of Vintage Cameras and the Photographs They Take. Candlewick Studio. Oct. 2016. 212p. photos. index. ISBN 9780763692506. $45. PHOTOG
retrophoto010617In the age of digital photography in which so much effort is devoted to selfies and photosharing as chitchat, it is refreshing to find a book—not just a book but a work of art—dedicated to fine vintage cameras. These cameras were designed as art forms themselves and as such they appealed to serious photographers who made artistic photographs or viewed photography as a language akin to literature. A professional photographer of more than 30 years, the author/illustrator of more than 20 books, and clearly an avid collector of classic cameras and equipment, Ellwand writes knowledgeably about his subject and beautifully illustrates this exceptional work. This is not simply reminiscence about finest 35mm, medium-format, and large-format cameras; it is a superbly designed volume that includes stunning images of the cameras themselves along with lovely, atmospheric examples of the kinds of photographs taken with those particular models.
Verdict Anyone who appreciates fine photography will love this book.—Raymond Bial, First Light Photography, Urbana, IL

starred review starHustvedt, Siri. A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind. S. & S. Dec. 2016. 576p. notes. ISBN 9781501141096. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781501141119. FINE ARTS
Hustvedt’s (The Blazing World; The Shaking Woman or a History of My Nerves) essays, written between 2011 and 2015, make for a weighty, thought-provoking collection. Divided into three sections, the anthology weaves science and the humanities together with a critical eye and a personal touch. The author’s central claims throughout, whether writing about art or the mind/body problem, are “all human knowledge is partial” and everyone is influenced by her or his “community of thinkers or researchers.” As a result, much of what is delivered by the media as truth or fact is open to question. And question Hustvedt does, leading readers from one idea to the next as she examines something as simple as a hairdo or as complex as memory and imagination. She even attempts to find an answer to the perennial query about where authors get their ideas.
Verdict An excellent and fearlessly wide-ranging collection that never stops at the easy answer but continually probes deeper. Not for casual, comfort, or fluff reading, this title demands attention and thought, but the effort is rewarded. [See Prepub Alert, 6/19/16.]—Stefanie Hollmichel, Univ. of St. Thomas Law Lib., Minneapolis

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017. Lonely Planet. Oct. 2016. 208p. photos. maps. ISBN 9781786571151. pap. $14.99. TRAV
This colorful, concise guide provides an overview of the top ten countries, regions, and cities to travel to now. Lonely Planet has identified these locations based on a variety of criteria, such as the upcoming influx of hotel chains in Dominica, Lisbon’s continued budget status amid an expensive Europe, and the increase in tourism and interest in locations such as the Azores and Myanmar. A “Best of the Rest” section includes best value and family adventure destinations as well as best new openings and best places to stay. The guide finishes with Lonely Planet’s top travel trends, including microdistilleries and bikepacking. This fills a niche within the broader field of “best of” guides such as Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel and National Geographic’s World’s Best Travel Experiences. This guide is easy to thumb through and includes photographs and maps. For those who don’t have time to read dense text and want snippets of where to go and visuals to help make the case, this a great short read.
Verdict A quick and engaging overview useful to travelers in planning their next escape.—Louise Feldmann, Colorado State Univ. Lib., Fort Collins