This year’s winner of the Alice Award has been announced: Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South. Southbound contains fifty-six photographers’ visions of the South over the first decades of the twenty-first century. It was published to accompany an exhibition at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston, South Carolina, which is currently traveling to several art museums around the country.
Rebecca Rego Barry
It’s September, that time of year that tends to bring us all back to the books, so to speak. The ‘books about books’ market is no different, but there seems to be a more-than-usual amount to share with you—a baker’s dozen in all, unevenly split with eight non-fiction titles, three fiction, and one adorable gift book. Let’s dive in! (Part II will appear on Thursday.)
Earlier this year the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announced an export ban on the notebooks of nineteenth-century geologist Sir Charles Lyell, Charles Darwin’s mentor. A total of 294 notebooks and manuscripts, which had been kept in the family until now, contain Lyell’s field notes, conversations with fellow scientists, and his transcribed correspondence with Darwin himself.
Charles Dickens was no teetotaler, as this 1870 manuscript record of his spirits cellar makes clear. In fact, he clearly enjoyed sherry, brandy, rum, and whisky, all of which he accounted for in his slim “Gad’s Hill Cellar Casks” notebook, which heads to auction at Sotheby’s in London later this month.
Landing in mailboxes this week (if not already) is our fall quarterly, the last page of which features book collector and NASA engineer Michael L. Ciancone. Can you guess what he collects? If you guessed books about rockets and spaceflight, give yourself a gold star.
The Waukegan Public Library in Waukegan, Illinois, unveiled a 12-foot statue of Ray Bradbury last Thursday, August 22, on what would have been the late author’s 99th birthday. The stainless steel sculpture, titled “Fantastical Traveler,” is much like the man himself: brilliant and bursting with creative energy.
Think of French painter Paul Gauguin, and surely Tahiti will come to mind. He first traveled there in 1891, and though disappointed by the pervasiveness of French colonial culture there, he stayed for two years and tried to immerse himself in island culture. He returned in 1895 and stayed on for another few years.
The National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, D.C. announced last week its acquisition of one of the most important photographic works of the American Civil War and the nineteenth century: Alexander Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War (1866). Gardner, who ran Mathew Brady’s D.C. studio and was present at both of Abraham Lincoln’s inaugurations, is said to have captured Lincoln’s likeness more than any other photographer.
Unless you’ve been there, you might not know that Alcatraz, aka The Rock, has its very own bookstore, run by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Inside you can find a selection of Alcatraz histories and memoirs. When I visited earlier this week, not only did I get the chance to pick up a copy of Alcatraz #1259, a first-hand account of life on the inside, by William G. Baker, I also got to meet Baker, one of the last living former inmates of the notorious prison. He signed my book, too!
After Seattle, road-tripping bibliophiles will undoubtedly make their way to Portland, Oregon, to visit Powell’s, one of the ten best indie shops in the world, according to readers polled by the Guardian. I agree — it’s sprawling but well signposted, and fun surprises await around every corner. I could have spent all day there, but, on this occasion, two hours had to suffice.