A man of Enlightenment rigor and Romantic sensibility, Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) drew animals from life, accurate in every detail of every feather. Yet he also captured the attitude and idiosyncrasies of his subjects. Truly Nature’s Engraver (Univ. of Chicago, $18), he had as sharp an eye for village life, and his witty vignettes of fishermen, travelers, laundresses, and children show his expertise as an engraver of human nature. Illustrated with scores of prints from Bewick’s History of Quadrupeds, History of British Birds, and his edition of Aesop’s Fables, Jenny Uglow’s masterful and beautiful life of the printer portrays his times as well. Uglow is a knowledgeable and engaging guide to the unsettled politics of the era, the apprentice system, the business end of Bewick’s engraving workshop, the tools and techniques of woodblock printing, and the way Bewick revived a fading craft so thoroughly he turned it into an art.

Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780374112363
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - June 12th, 2007

Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780226823911
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Published: University of Chicago Press - May 15th, 2009

Picture a graceful gondola on starlit water, pulling up under a particular window. Gentle guitar music begins, and a man stands and sings “One for my Baby.” The occasion for this serenade? The singer, a famous, if faded, American vocalist, is divorcing his wife. The couple are still in love, but he needs a younger woman to jump-start his career. His wife understands. Kazuo Ishiguro’s first collection of short fiction, Nocturnes (Knopf, $25), explores the line between the dreams and fantasy of melody and the ruthlessness of the music business. His characters are performing artists, and they appreciate both the magic and the hard knocks of their profession. Love for what they do—or aspire to do—makes them resilient. The divorced wife, returning in a hilarious story of her own, has just had plastic surgery, and though she still goes teary-eyed listening to her ex’s CDs, she’s hatching a wild plot to disrupt a music-awards ceremony.

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307455789
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Published: Vintage - September 21st, 2010

The poems of A Village Life (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $23), the 11th collection by the former Poet Laureate, Louise Glück, are as straightforward as the title suggests. While Glück often uses mythology, here her speakers aren’t gods or heroes but anonymous villagers living in accordance with natural rhythms and annual rituals. The stuff more of a Hardy novel than of fable or fairy tale, Glück’s men and women work hard and dream of another life in the city, but persevere where they are, believing that “whatever happened in that window/we were in harmony with it.” Glück  doesn’t idealize or sentimentalize the “simple” life; it’s not simple, and like any other, it comes with disappointment and isolation. Her characters know that “to get born, your body makes a pact with death,/and from that moment, all it tries to do is cheat.” These sharply observed, often witty lyrics offer brief moments of ordinary lives, yet encapsulate a narrative fullness and complexity—from first love through loss and aging—common to everyone everywhere.

A Village Life: Poems Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780374283742
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 2009

A Village Life: Poems Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374532437
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 14th, 2010

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