Timothy Ferriss’ investigative reporting style puts him somewhere between Neil Strauss and Morgan Spurlock, and his auto-ethnographic skills rival those of the O.G. human guinea pig himself, R. Buckminster Fuller. His latest, The 4-Hour Body (Crown/Archetype, 2010), is the result of a decade of experiments, expert interviews, and putting his own body through paces previously unpaced. His guiding research question: For all things physical, what are the tiniest changes that produce the biggest results?
I shifted over to a vegetarian diet about seventeen years ago. The switch was prompted by my girlfriend at the time, but after six months, she went
—Roy Christopher, 09 June 2011
The word “poetry” is a quick and foolproof social litmus test. Its mention will usher honesty swiftly to the lips of whomever is listening. They either adore it or abhor it. Some may secretly love it, but no one lies about liking poetry. If you find someone who shares your love of verse, you’ve found something real in this world. With that said, Nate Pritts is one of the best currently doing it and his new collection, A Wonderfull Yeare, is out on Cooper Dillon books. The book is a seasonal shepherd’s calendar made up of four poems, each season a different style but none any less sad or beautiful than the one before. “Is there a better life than this?” I think not.
—Roy Christopher, 23 February 2010
Hubert Selby Jr’s critically acclaimed novel Last Exit to Brooklyn remains a classic among modern-day American writing. Still frighteningly relevant nearly fifty years after it was first published, Selby’s narrative looks deep inside the most primitive human emotions. Ruthless stories of violence, corruption, alcoholism and drug use in blue-collar Brooklyn set an unrelenting pace. Each account is an unrefined stream of consciousness that is unapologetic and in your face. If you were a fan of Selby’s Requiem for a Dream then put Last Exit to Brooklyn at the top of your ‘must read’ list for 2010.
—Anthony Smith, 15 January 2010
Pick up a thriller novel and chances are it’ll have a review quoted within that’ll assure you that you’ll not be able to put it down. “A page-turner.” I use these charity-shop-bought bestsellers at night to induce sleep: it requires turning only a page or two before my lights are out. (Bloke from Chicago Tribune, you’re an idiot.)
Stewart’s book, however, is, in fact—no, really—truly compelling. That it’s sort-of based on a period of the author’s own life makes it all the more so. It’ll have you wondering: Did he really work a crazy job on a fishing boat? Did he
—Chris Noble, 15 January 2010
I’m wary of buying stuff online. I like to feel the object, flip through the book, try on the shoes before I lay out my hard-earned. The lure of a book of Evan Hecox’s art was too much, though, and despite my fears of it being a half-arsed print job, I clicked “Buy”.
I needn’t have worried. This 160-page book is well built with a thick hardcover, great binding, quality printing and clean design, has an educational intro with shots of Evan’s studio, and depicts a large proportion of the man’s fine art work, sectioned out into his various methods and media—plates, linocuts, skateboard decks and whatnot.
If you like Hecox’s art, you’d do well to take the plunge and click this onto your coffee table. I’m glad I did.
—Chris Noble, 22 October 2009
It is said there are no new ideas, and that seems to ring true in brand logo design as much as anything else. Al Cooper’s World of Logotypes book series was published in the early eighties and each features 3000-plus logos, a scattering of which may seem familiar not because you’ve seen them before but because many new logo designs look remarkably similar.
If you’re into logo design and have a penchant for the clean and/or old-school look, the three volumes are definitely worth seeking out.
—Chris Noble, 23 July 2009
Tired of the same old nonfiction? Sick of sometimey music journalism? Seek out and acquire a copy of Kodwo Eshun’s mind-melting textual tilt-a-whirl, More Brilliant Than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction (Quartet, 1998). Eshun takes everyone from Sun Ra and John Coltrane to Kool Keith and Grandmaster Flash and sieves them through the theories of everyone from Paul Virilio and Gilles Deleuze to Marshall McLuhan and Manuel De Landa. It’s one part tradition-trouncing polemic, one part trip-hop philosophy, and one part ice-cream headache buzz, so take it slow.
—Roy Christopher, 17 July 2009