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Swimming Studies Kindle Edition

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Length: 336 pages Optimized for larger screens
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Exquisite ... brilliant, eccentric and moving - an immersion in life ... her talent is for seeing how things and lives are fused ... this enigmatic book is written out of what cannot be fathomed -- Kate Kellaway Observer An individual medley of a book: memoir; sports journal; sensual love-letter to water. It is a serious and finely textured account ... told with the originality and playfulness of an artist ... Shapton deserves a podium place -- Janice Turner Times Whenever I come across something of Leanne Shapton's, I feel like I have found a hidden treasure -- Amy Sedaris Swimming Studies sets out, through a fusion of words and pictures, to capture a bittersweet part of the writer's past as completely as a scent trapped in a bottle. The book is beautiful as both a story and an object. It's about being very, very good at something, when you want to be great. I was moved by it in ways both expected and unexpected -- John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of 'Pulphead' If there is a more beautifully observed examination of the weightlessness, silence, rigor, and delight of what it means to swim, I've never read it. Leanne Shapton is one of the most broadly creative and gifted people at work today; a true artist, both visual and verbal. There seems to be nothing she cannot write or paint about: adolescence, Canada, yearning, dawn - even cake, for heaven's sake! - with a precision both surgical and poetic. The joys of Swimming Studies are in being in the care of someone of a prodigious and protean mind. My talent crush is official and deep -- David Rakoff, author of 'Half Empty' I'm so happy this book exists. Swimming Studies expresses what it's like to be haunted by the person one used to be, and the search for how that person exists in the present. Leanne Shapton writes with such curiosity, ruefulness, intelligence, and grace. Here we see how the discipline of being an athlete can condition one's ways of making art, and how the patience necessary to make art teaches other types of patience. Like the patience required to be a spouse and to love a person always. This book is a rare treat for anyone who cares about any of these things -- Sheila Heti, author of 'How Should a Person Be?' The task is daunting: how to render the dissolution of a relationship in a new way? Leanne Shapton succeeds against all odds with this wildly romantic and erudite book -- Dave Eggers Leanne Shapton has accomplished a small victory in the age-old artistic struggle to do something unprecedented Time Out Brilliant. It is quite simply impossible to believe this has never been done before Los Angeles Times A love story told by a curator, instead of a narrator. Important Artifacts ... Succeeds not just as a novel, but as a work of art Newsweek A unique ode to a broken relationship ... One couple's love story through a series of annotated photographs of their possessions, from party invites to birthday gifts Grazia Part novel, part art project and part homage to the romantic gifts of her past, Important Artifacts ... by Leanne Shapton is a unique love story Elle Perfectly details the provenance of love and disillusion. A true original Independent The accessibility of Shapton's work is obvious...she blooms not only as an illustrator, but as an author Bookslut

About the Author

Leanne Shapton is an artist, illustrator, and writer who was born in Toronto and lives in New York. She has contributed to The New York Times, Harper's Magazine, The New Yorker, Jane, Seventeen, Saturday Night, and Maclean's, among other publications. She is one of the founders of J&L Books, a non-profit publishing company specializing in new art and writing. She is the author of Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry.

Product Details

  • File Size: 17998 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Rider Press (July 5, 2012)
  • Publication Date: July 5, 2012
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0072NWK88
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,569 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. DAVIDSON on July 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
There's something elusive, unsatisfying about this book - it doesn't have the absolutely lovely finality of Roger Deakin's Waterlog for instance - but that feeling of lack, of something missing is also what the book is about. Much recommended, though I regretted buying the book on Kindle - there are a lot of images that really don't translate to the small black-and-white screen.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Katy Gilmore on September 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Swimming Studies" is Shapton's memoir of her life as young swimmer training for Olympic trials, her continued fascination with water and bodies in water, and her eventual turn toward art. She's brave and honest, and her descriptions transport - you feel the squeeze of a bathing cap, the atmosphere in a bus full of young athletes on their way to a competition, the chlorinated air of swimming pools, her elation, and her exhaustion.

Her book isn't a sport memoir so much as a meditation on her journey (often a watery one), as Shapton figures out how her former swimming life inspires her life as an artist. I came to this book not as a swimmer, but as an artist, and it resonated when Shapton quoted "The Nuts and Bolts of Psychology for Swimmers," by Keith Bell. He writes about training discipline, the nonnegotiable commitment to practice. Words that apply equally to working on a creative project, once you have set a goal: "It doesn't make much sense to have to decide whether to take each individual step in a trip you have already decided to make."

I love Shapton's watercolor portraits of fellow swimmers, rectangles of pool water, and gallery of vintage swimsuits - in both digital and paper forms (our family ended up with both versions, and it was fun to compare the illustrations) - the book is a treasure!
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By alexis ho on July 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
After hearing the author interviewed on NPR, I bought the book, which is beautifully designed, and read it in close to one sitting. I found it disjointed, sometimes boring and confusing and a rather frustrating read as this collage of a book ultimately doesn't really give a deep sense of the author, or what her point is aside from her frustration, attraction and ambivalence toward swimming and pools. I don't know quite what to make of this book or the author, but there were moments where her reflections and thoughts resonated with me more deeply.... then these ruminations were lost among the nonlinear format of the memoir. I did love the artwork scattered throughout but wanted ultimately to feel the depth of her relationship with swimming and art. Unfortunately this memoir left me feeling she had only touched the surface of things.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Pierce on December 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was riveted by the sample of Swimming Studies I downloaded to my kindle. However, how the publishers can demand $14,99 for a book which is equally dependent on images as on words for an electronic device is ridiculous. The images simply do not translated to a Kindle...these are watercolors, or so I read in reviews, but on the kindle they are smudgey and black and white. I want to read this book but will wait until I can buy one used.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robyn Tompkins on September 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a former schronized swimmer and competive swimmer I was quite anxious to read. Ms. Sharptons descriptive writting brought me right back to the smell of chlorine,sweating in a pool!(non swimmers find this hard to believe) aching muscles and not wating to get out of bed for practice!
Great to know another person "gets it"that Iam truly home in the water! I have always felt the water is a calling..its my calling...true serenity.
Thank you ms sharpton:-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on September 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book - enjoyed seeing the inside of the world of competitive swimming. I also enjoyed her collection of vintage swimsuits and swimming locations. I would have given this 5 stars, but her artwork section was not at the same level as the rest of the book. Perhaps it was better in print (I read on Kindle Fire).
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By D B Cooper on March 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't disagree with the criticism of this book, there are moments when one wonders why someone wrote it and why someone (especially if that someone is oneself) is reading it. The entire concept seems not only a bit arrogant, but the sort of pet project only a writer who's not exactly worried about making ends meet gets to take on, like a Carly Simon children's book. So this review is about what makes a book which fails the usual metrics great anyway, at least to me.

Here we go; 1) It's physically beautiful to look at inside and out (take that Kindle users - ha!). The cover construction and design is not only nice, it hints at aquatics in its color, and that subtlety matches the writing, it makes sense the author is an illustrator because there is a cohesion among otherwise separate concepts - the color of experiences, emotions in the form of surroundings. 2) The spare writing is deceptively complex. Novels-in-Three-Lines comes to mind as these 5 and 6 word sentences shake entire scenarios from the reader's subconscious. The book starts with a couple shocking lines about our relationship with water - no more questions about the reason for a swimming book after that! 3) Those girls in high school, whether they're athletes or musicians or drag-racers, who lived outside teenage life were the ones we were all really fascinated by, right? They seemed inaccessible, maybe even absent, but we knew their worlds were full of SOMETHING and never really stopped wondering what it was - here's the answer at last. 4) It's self indulgent and disjointed because the thoughts and lives of teenagers are self indulgent and disjointed.
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