Reading & Rereading for February & Beyond | Classic Returns

The first Classic Returns column of 2018 has seven still-timely reissues for Black History Month (and beyond) reading,Three Musketeers (actually four, but let’s not quibble), three revised agricultural guides, two photography reprints, one architectural monograph, and an autobiography by an Irish activist. That should be enough to hold you till the next installment sometime in spring. Until then, happy reading and rereading.

Adams, Gerry. Before the Dawn: An Autobiography. Univ. of Notre Dame. Feb. 2018. 338p. maps. index. ISBN 9780268103774. $75; pap. ISBN 9780268103781. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780268103804. autobiog
Originally published in 1996, this memoir by the former president of Sinn Féín, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), details his role in the “Troubles” between the IRA and Britain. Adams began protesting for Irish civil rights in the 1960s, growing increasingly radicalized in the 1970s, and finally being jailed and tortured for his anti-British activities in the 1980s. This edition contains a new introduction and an epilog by the author covering Adams’s family, Brexit, and the peace process.


The Complete Zaha Hadid. Thames & Hudson. Jan. 2018. 320p. illus. notes. ISBN 9780500343357. $40. ARCH
Last updated in 2013, this newly expanded volume includes the final projects of innovative and celebrated architect Zaha Hadid before her death in 2016. With more than 650 illustrations, most in color, this survey highlights hundreds of Hadid’s achievements. Organized chronologically, it begins with her 1976 London Architectural Association graduation proposal and ends with major projects such as the Danjiang Bridge in Taipei, Taiwan, and the Port House in Antwerp, Belgium. The concluding chapters feature objects designed by Hadid, ranging from tables to shoes and cars, and coverage of a 2015 Hadid retrospective at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. With an introduction by Aaron Betsky, dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and former director of the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Dumas, Alexandre. The Three Musketeers. Pegasus. Jan. 2018. 816p. tr. from French by Lawrence Ellsworth. illus. notes. ISBN 9781681776149. $26.95. LIT
The popular and much-adapted story of valiant D’Artagnan and his three musketeer comrades, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, was first released in early 1844, when installments of their adventures were published in the Paris paper The Century. At the end of the year, the chapters were collected and published in novel form and translated worldwide. Later, the work would be made into movies, miniseries, graphic novels, etc. In the introduction to this newest edition, translator Ellsworth asks rhetorically why readers need another English translation, citing “fine recent renditions by Richard Pevear and Will Hobson.” His answer:

Because it deserves it, and because most published editions of the novel that you’ll find in bookstores and libraries still use translations that were prepared in the 1840s or 1850s, respectable but creaky adaptations endlessly recycled and reprinted, versions that simply don’t properly convey the energy and tone of Dumas’s original work…

Ellsworth adds that he’s on a mission to return the humor and the sexual frankness of the original to the page:

By the standards of the mid-nineteenth century the novel took a rather frank approach to sexuality; those scenes, which were mostly or wholly elided from the Victorian translations, have been restored in this version…. I’ve also kept in all the jokes. Dumas was a very funny man …. [he] wasn’t above stooping to make a terrible French pun, in which case I considered it my solemn obligation to provide some matching wordplay in English.

Rexroth, Nancy. Iowa. Univ. of Texas. 160p. ISBN 9781477310410. $45. PHOTOG
When Rexroth published her collection of photos taken with a tiny toy camera called “the Diana” in 1977, it was practically unheard of to self-publish one’s own photobook or to use primitive equipment to create such arresting images. Rexroth captured the landscapes, children, houses, and interiors of southeastern Ohio, creating blurred, dreamlike images of what she called her “own private landscape”  that reminded her of childhood visits to Iowa. The book was a huge hit in photographic circles and became a collector’s item. Long out of print, it is now available with 23 previously unpublished images; a new foreword by Magnum photographer and book maker Alec Soth; an essay by Anne Wilkes Tucker, curator emerita of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and new postscripts by Rexroth and Mark L. Power, who wrote the introductory essay in the first edition.

Westerbeck, Colin & Joel Meyerowitz. Bystander: A History of Street Photography. Laurence King. 2017. 400p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781786270665. $65. PHOTOG
A superb reissue of a 1994 book published by Little, Brown, this edition of curator Westerbeck and photographer Meyerowitz’s “bible” for street photographers has been updated to include more contemporary photographers, a reevaluation of some historical material, and a concluding chapter that picks up a conversation the coauthors began in 1987, asking: “What has street photography become in the interim?” LJ reviewer Raymond Bial recommended the original publication highly, calling it a “substantial book” and “a thoughtful, coherent study of this fascinating genre of photography.” (LJ 2/1/95)




Back to the Land with Storey

Readers will want to start a flock or herd right in their own backyard or wherever they might live after leafing through these updated editions of Storey’s classic guides. At the very least, they’ll want to get into worm composting, which even apartment dwellers can do.

Appelhof, Mary & Joanne Olszewski. Worms Eat My Garbage, 35th Anniversary Edition: How To Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System. 2017. 192p. ISBN 9781612129471. pap. $14.95. GARDENING
Belanger, Jerry & Sara Thomson Bredesen. Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats. 5th ed. Feb. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9781612129358. $34.95; pap. ISBN 9781612129327. $24.95. ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
Damerow, Gail. Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens. 4th ed. 2017. 480p. ISBN 9781612129341. $34.95; pap. ISBN 9781612129303. $24.95. ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
ea. vol: Storey. illus. bibliog. index.

Worms Eat My Garbage, a trusted guide to vermicomposting, was originally written by National Science Foundation grant recipient and international worm expert Appelhof (1936–2005). Friend and fellow vermi-enthusiast Olszewski, who met Appelhof in 1972, has lovingly revised the guide with updated information, retaining Appelhof’s first-person observations and adding her own.

The Storey animal husbandry guides are getting a fresh look, starting with Raising Chickens and Raising Dairy Goats. Undergoing a complete redesign, the series volumes will have a larger format and full-color illustrations. Damerow, author of more than a dozen books, including The Chicken Health Handbook, runs a family farm in Tennessee with her husband; Dairy Goat coauthors Belanger and Bredesen have both been involved in dairy goat farming for more than 30 years. Next up in the revised series: rabbits in July and honeybees in September.


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Liz French About Liz French

Library Journal Senior Editor Liz French edits nonfiction and women's fiction reviews at LJ and also compiles the "What We're Reading" and "Classic Returns" columns for LJ online. She's inordinately interested in what you're reading as well. Email:, Twitter: @lizefrench

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