Sign of the Times
Public protests are often visually depicted by the signs carried by the protesters, which usually capture a succinct thought better than the average talker will. In What We Think Now: Young People's Response to the US Involvement in Iraq, Santa Fe photographer Jonathan Hollingsworth has compiled 40 portraits of young Californians expressing a wide range of reactions to the war. The result is a thought-provoking compendium of the underlying divisions and questions that mark contemporary America. Available for $20 at photo-eye (370 Garcia St., 988-5152), which hosted a book signing for Hollingsworth earlier this year.
The vernacular of the American landscape can be a paradox of ubiquitous language and esoteric terminology. Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, edited by National Book Award winner Barry Lopez, captures this unique lexicon with 800 words described by 45 diverse writers. For example, Luis Alberto Urrea describes the "impact crater," Barbara Kingsolver takes on "salt licks" and William deBuys describes the "riffle," beginning with the sentence, "A riffle is the little brother of a rapid." This book will surely entice lovers of both the land and language. Available for $29.95 at Collected Works (208-B W. San Francisco St., 988-4226).
Sorrow and Fury
When beauty meets sorrow, the result can be sublime. Such is the case with photographer Chris Jordan's book In Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster ($35). This startling project, which reached fruition with help from the Lannan Foundation, documents the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in a way that is both artistic and profoundly moving. Jordan's photographs are accompanied by essays on the poli-social realities of global warming by Bill McKibben and the human devastation of Katrina by Susan Zakin, along with poems by Victoria Sloan Jordan. Proceeds from the book will benefit Gulf Coast hurricane relief charities. Available at Garcia Street Books (376 Garcia St., 986-0151).
Michael Sumner and Sumner Carnahan of Burning Books prove that words have power no matter where we find them-even on soup cans. Their Seven Deadly Sins soup cans ($7 per can) include wicked directions, such as that found on "Sloth": "Open can: toss contents into previous prepared snake pits." Then there's "Wrath": "Serves one with anger, hatred, prejudice and discrimination." Available at Hunt + Gather (311 Aztec St., 989-9105).
Dec. 25 is just Christmas for some, but for others it's a great day to put together some "clean the house herbs." What others, you ask? "Witches, pagans and magical people." They are the target audience for Llewellyn's Witches Datebook 2007 ($9.99), which notates moon phases, harvest days, and astronomical and astrological dates, as well as dates for important witch-related events (Jan. 13: The final witchcraft laws were repealed in Austria in 1787, dontcha know?). Couple the datebook with Llewellyn's 2007 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac ($7.99) and you'll have one happy wicca on your hands. Available at The Ark Bookstore (133 Romero St., 988-3709).
Life is filled with scattered ephemera, but some things last, well, pretty much forever. Stone is one of those things, and Santa Fe photographer David Scheinbaum captures its iconic force in Stone: A Substantial Witness ($50). The photographs show the beauty of stone as both construct and natural formation all around the world: India, Italy, California, New Mexico, Japan. The photographs are accompanied by text from archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg, who explores stone within the context of Pablo Neruda's poem depicting stone as "a substantial witness" to the "trembling world." Available at photo-eye (370 Garcia St., 988-5152).
Who Said That?
"There is no such thing as inner peace. There is only nervousness or death." If you think we're quoting Woody Allen, sorry, guess again. That was Fran Lebowitz spouting witty. Keeping track of who said what when sounds like a job for a scholar. Indeed, The Yale Book of Quotations ($50) will ensure its owner is never at a loss for (pithy) words. Editor Fred R Shapiro (associate librarian and lecturer in legal research at Yale Law School) has more than 12,000 quotations arranged alphabetically by author, including historical, political and pop culture citations. Available at Collected Works (208-B W. San Francisco St., 988-4226).
Take It Higher
Here in Santa Fe, we're lucky to live under glorious sun- and star-filled skies. But you haven't really seen what's above until you page through Andreas Cellarius' Harmonia Macrocosmica of 1660: The Finest Atlas of the Heavens ($125). This hardcover, suede-bound, oversized delight is a collection of celestial maps by Cellarius, a Dutch-German mathematician and cosmographer, whose celestial atlases were first published in 1660. The reprint is based on the first edition of the Library of the Universiteit van Amsterdam and includes a detailed appendix of constellations, stars and more. Available at Garcia Street Books (376 Garcia St., 986-0151).
Readers may often seek out books for their substance, but a book can be more than the sum of its parts. At Hunt + Gather (311 Aztec St., 989-9105), the coming year will bring a shift for the store away from used books and toward the creation of artists' books (and training those who want to make them on Hunt + Gather's printing press). These are objets d'artes, which bring together the elements of a book (paper, ink, iconography) and result in more than just a good read. An example is Alisa Golden's Falling Out of Bed Purple ($85), which extraordinarily displays just how beautiful a book can be.
All Together Now
Biodiversity isn't a sexy word, but it's a fascinating concept in Nicolas Hulot's One Planet: A Celebration of Biodiversity ($55). French photographer and journalist Hulot shows photographs by dozens of different photographers of scenes from eight different ecosystems: oceans, deserts, grasslands, polar regions, wetlands, mountains, forests and cities, with text that explores the environmental relationships and threats to species in these areas. These include everything from farmland in the Zanskar region in India to red-tailed hawks in New York City to buddleias growing on a wall by the Seine in Paris. Available at The Ark Bookstore (133 Romero St., 988-3709).