Wednesday, March 27, 2013

See the Movie Review: The Films of the Nineties

Compiled by man-and-wife college professors in Connecticut, this compendium of nearly 3,330 movies released to theaters in the 1990s provides details on the production companies, leading performers, directors and others responsible for the work along with brief descriptions and occasional reviews.

Not included in this reference are documentaries, porn films, experimental works or independent features that escaped the attention of film critics during the decade.

The authors give an overview assessment of the decade's films in a brief introduction, complaining about a preponderance of movies based on old TV series, gratuitous violence, and a "dearth of writers who know how to tell a story." But they rave about the abundance of  excellent character actors working their magic during the 1990s, from Steve Buscemi in Fargo and Simon Callow in Shakespeare in Love to Stockard Channing in First Wives Club and Judi Dench in the James Bond movies.

"The day will come when some critic will complain that they don't make movies like those of the 1990s anymore," they conclude.

A Complete, Qualitative Filmography of Over 3000 Feature-Length English Language Films, Theatrical and Video-Only, Released Between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 1999
by Robert A. Nowlan

Friday, March 15, 2013

Now Exploring "An Insect View of Its Plain"

During the nineteenth century, insects became a very fashionable subject of study, and the writing of the day reflected this popularity. However, despite an increased contemporary interest in ecocriticism and cultural entomology, scholars have largely ignored the presence of insects in nineteenth-century literature.

This volume addresses that critical gap by exploring the cultural and literary position of insects in the work of Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and John Muir.

Insects, Nature and God in Thoreau, Dickinson and Muir
by Rosemary Scanlon McTier
McFarland, 2013
Nature Writing and Natural Histories
The Nature Pages
Book Store

Review: Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

This book is a history of the bourbon industry, beginning with its foundations in the small pot stills of American farmers in the late 1790s. It follows the growth of large distillers and rectifiers and the booms and busts of the beverage's market through wars and Prohibition, concluding with the emergence of craft distillers returning to small stills of the whiskey's origins.

"What made bourbon famous was the aging process employed by its distillers, one that took place in charred oak barrels," historian Michael R. Veach explains. "It was known at lease as early as the Roman Empire that water and wine stored in oak barrels charred on the inside stayed fresher longer. By the fifteenth century the process had been appropriated by the French to flavor and color brandy and cognac. And at some point in the early nineteen century it was adopted by Kentucky distillers and allowed them to produce a whiskey with a sweet caramel/vanilla flavor and a red color."

An American Heritage
by Michael R. Veach 
The University Press of Kentucky, 2013
Continued in ... The Book Stall

New Guidance: The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds

The culmination of many years of research, observation, and study, The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds is a factually, visually, and organizationally superior photographic field guide.

Available in Eastern and Western volumes, these easy-to-use guides feature over 4,600 North American bird species with stunning color photographs.

The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Eastern Region
by Donald Stokes and Lillian Stokes
Little, Brown and Company, 2013

The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds: Western Region
by Donald Stokes and Lillian Stokes
Little, Brown and Company, 2013

Guidebooks and How-to Titles
Nature Writing and Natural Histories
Book Search
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Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Accommodated Animal

"Likewise to every beast of the earth and to every foule of the heaven,
and to every thing that moveth upon the earth, which hath life in it
selfe, every greene herbe shall be for meate."
Genesis 1:30

While the early Bible attentively noted the presence of other creatures in our world, they are never referred to by the English word "animal" in the Great Bible of 1539, the Geneva Bible of 1560 or the King James Version of 1611.

The widely used noun is likewise missing from almost all of Shakespeare's oeuvre, save eight instances, while the words "beast" and "creature" appear more than a hundred times and references to specific species are

"Exit, pursued by a bear."

The distinction is significant, according to professor Laurie Shannon, reflecting an important change in our relationship with the natural world and its non-human creatures, denying "animals" a place in the world that our thinking previously accommodated.
Cosmopolity in Shakespearean Locales
by Laurie Shannon
University Of Chicago Press, 2012

Friday, March 1, 2013

Review: Animal Origami

True magic lies in transforming an angular piece of ordinary paper into a life-like representation of a living animal. Origami master Joost Langeveld offers this boxed set of challenging exercises for nimble paper

Langeveld's origami instruction book explains how to fold 20 different animals from the turtles to tigers, and from elephants to whales. There are folded creatures from the African plain and hand-crafted critters from
the ocean deep.

Continued in ... Animal Origami

by Joost Langeveld
Thunder Bay Press, 2011