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America's Favorites
America's Favorites
by Kay Lee
Edition: Hardcover
29 used & new from $1.18

2.0 out of 5 stars Poor look, weak taste, August 1, 2015
This review is from: America's Favorites (Hardcover)
This really should have been a visual winner with seventy-five of the Nation's faves displayed in all their glory, instead it misses it completely by having an incredibly bland layout throughout the one hundred and sixty unnumbered pages.

Each spread is the same. The left-hand page has some text about the product: size; package; origin; ingredients; maker; slogan; general comments, some of this is actually quite interesting, especially the ingredients which have probably changed a lot since 1980 when the book came out. This text takes up mostly less than a quarter of the page, the rest is empty. The right-hand page has the visual interest with a package and the contents shot, sometimes a whole page or a cutout but all very unimaginative as photos.

Predictably so much of the contents could be called fun food -- 7Up, Good Humor ice cream sandwich, Bazooka bubble gum, Twinkies, Hershey's kisses, Reddi wip. McDonald's gets three spreads with hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes. Other foods are non-branded generic products like macaroni and cheese, chocolate chip cookies, cream cheese or onion dip.

If you want a bit of thirty-five year old food nostalgia maybe it's worth picking up a copy but don't pay more than a few dollars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 2, 2015 10:09 AM PDT


iGADGET® Top rated #1 Heavy Duty Reuseable Hook and Loop Velcro Strap, Hooks and Loops Velcro Tape, Velcro Cable Ties with ideal length to use as Double sided Electrical tape for wire cable tidy 20mm x 180mm - 10 Pack Black
iGADGET® Top rated #1 Heavy Duty Reuseable Hook and Loop Velcro Strap, Hooks and Loops Velcro Tape, Velcro Cable Ties with ideal length to use as Double sided Electrical tape for wire cable tidy 20mm x 180mm - 10 Pack Black
Offered by iGADGET
Price: $8.99
2 used & new from $5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars It's a wrap, August 1, 2015
Looked behind your TV lately, or the desk with the pc, printer, router, phone, monitor, loudspeakers? All those cables are just waiting for a good iGadget wrap. This is such an obvious product and I've said goodbye to the plastic and wire ties that products with cables use when you first buy them and I always kept in a drawer for later use.

These Velcro ties are pretty heavy duty to be used over and over again and come in differnt pack sizes up to a hundred. If by chance your name is Ian (or Irene) Gadget and you live in one of the eight London's in the US you'll have your own personalized cable ties...how cool is that!


The Chinese Photobook
The Chinese Photobook
by Martin Parr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $82.50
33 used & new from $82.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chinese photobooks...who knew?, July 30, 2015
This review is from: The Chinese Photobook (Hardcover)
Easily the most ambitious of the Aperture photobook series: Japan, 2009; Latin America, 2011; Dutch, 2012, large in size (and weight) with 448 pages and a 1000 colored images from over two hundred and fifty photobooks. Though China might seem a long way from Western influences the country has absorbed these through colonial invasions in the early decades of the last century. Hong Kong, a British colony since 1843 gets a separate chapter (it includes Taiwan as well) which considers photobooks in both places from 1949 onwards.

The foreign influence is notable in the books from 1900 to the late twenties with so many of them published in Shanghai in Chinese and English. The Japanese invasion of Manchuria and formation of the state of Manchukuo gets its own chapter because the Japanese published so many propaganda books praising life in their puppet State. Two key chapters look at photobooks published from 1945 and especially books covering the Cultural Revolution from 1966. There are some intriguing titles here: Medical workers serving the people, 1971; Chinese clouds, 1972; Railway bridges, 1973; Catalogue of tongue coating diagnoses in Chinese medicine, 1984; China traffic police, 1989; Road interchanges in Beijing, 1996 and of course plenty featuring the Great Leader Mao Zedong (was he the most photographed man on earth?). The last chapter provides a fitting conclusion by featuring twenty-eight photobooks about China but taken by foreign photographers and published outside the country.

Each of the featured books has a technical caption (title, date, size, publisher et cetera and then an essay about the book's editorial, these are always quite fascinating to read because of the amount of detail. I thought the book's design by Kummer & Herrman is worth praising because it's so elegant and Verona printers Graphicom do their usual quality print run, using a three hundred screen, too.

One of the pleasures of the book for me are seeing several spreads from each of the featured books and frequently quite large. I always thought Parr and Badger's photobook series for Phaidon were rather over-designed with too much white space which should have been filled with reproductions of photobook pages.

A suberb book to be added to anyone's slowly expanding photobook collection.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2015 11:20 PM PDT


Sinvitron® Ultra-Thin Bluetooth Keyboard Portfolio Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 Inch Tablet - DETACHABLE Bluetooth Keyboard Stand Case / Cover for Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 Inch Tablet (Black)
Sinvitron® Ultra-Thin Bluetooth Keyboard Portfolio Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 Inch Tablet - DETACHABLE Bluetooth Keyboard Stand Case / Cover for Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 Inch Tablet (Black)
Offered by Xtron
Price: $36.99
2 used & new from $32.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Say good-bye to those annoying on-screen keyboards, July 20, 2015
Having a keyboard on-screen was the obvious solution when the pc became small and portable but I've found them tedious and annoying to use, especially having to switch from lower case to caps and back again. This keyboard and case is the obvious beautiful answer. I was surprised at how thin the keyboard is, just slightly thicker where the (supplied) charging cable plugs in

Pairing to my Samsung tablet was easy, eight steps according to the Instructions though in my case it took less, step seven says enter a four digit code shown on the screen, I didn't see that but it paired anyway. The case and stitching is good quality and the tablet can easily be placed at an angle, there are holes for the side controls and camera. Magnets hold the keyboard in position which is good because it can easily be detached from the case if you want to type away from the tablet or take that out and not use the case at all.

If you are fed up with on-screen typing this keyboard case is the perfect answer but do check your tablet's dimensions because this case comes in different sizes for different Samsung models.


Stephen Shore: Survey
Stephen Shore: Survey
by Stephen Shore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $37.48
50 used & new from $37.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commonplace surfaces, July 9, 2015
This review is from: Stephen Shore: Survey (Hardcover)
If you want an up to date book on Stephen Shore this is the one to get. Based on an exhibition of his work that's touring Europe from September 2014 until September 2016.

The book is landscape with 275 one to a page photos in the portfolio section, though the Print-on demand (2003-10) chapter has dozens of thumbnail size photos from the 2002 Apple iphoto concept. The first fifty-five pages have two illustrated essays, one of these is an excellent Q and A between Shore and David Campany, particularly interesting because it reveals a lot about Shore's approach to photography, influences and nicely some technical detail concerning his cameras and color.

The portfolio pages are cross-section of work from 1964 to 2013. Those familiar with Shore will recognise many photos from 'American surfaces', 'A road trip journal' and 'Uncommon places', all pre-1990. Other chapters look at archaeology (1994) New York (2002.2) Ukraine (2012-13) and Winslow, Arizona (2013).

I've looked through the book several times and still enjoy seeing the same photos, especially the Americana series from the seventies and early eighties. Despite so many of these just being shots of commonplace they hold a visual interest time after time.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2015 6:34 AM PDT


Architecture: Form, Space, and Order
Architecture: Form, Space, and Order
by Francis D. K. Ching
Edition: Paperback
Price: $36.97
71 used & new from $32.70

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Since we move in TIME through a SEQUENCE of SPACES revealed for everyone, July 8, 2015
A welcome fourth edition of Francis Ching's excellent book on the fundamentals of architecture. Ching (now seventy-two) seems to have cornered the market on accessible visual book on the subject, I already have his 'Building construction illustrated' and the 'Visual dictionary of architecture'. This new edition of 'Architecture' uses the highly pictorial format as all his books.

Each of the seven chapters starts with drawings of very basic forms and then expands the concepts using flat plans and dimensional illustrations of buildings (all of which have a caption with location, architect and date) to reveal the essence of structures through the centuries. Can the subject be that simple? Well, of course not but Ching makes it seem so by explaining the principles in straightforward way.

One of the lovely features of the book is that it all hangs together with one look, rather than use photos of buildings of varying quality they are all illustrations and obviously tie-in with all the flat plans and other graphics. I've read a criticism of his books because they are set in the Adobe Tecton type which some consider rather unreadable (the font was based on his first book which was entirely hand-lettered by Cassandra Adams and she did the drawings too) I slightly agree but fortunately all the text in his books is essentially short and long captions rather than pages with columns of text set in Tecton.

The book is ideal for students and the general (curious) reader.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2015 6:35 AM PDT


Leon Levinstein
Leon Levinstein
by Jeff Rosenheim
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $61.76
45 used & new from $52.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Monumental man, July 1, 2015
This review is from: Leon Levinstein (Hardcover)
A beautiful book of 127 plates from this relatively unknown photographer of the New York school. Levinstein's work was not really unknown in the Vivian Maier sense because he did have pictures published in photo magazines of the period and also in the Family of Man exhibition (and book) and other MoMA shows. Professionally he worked in advertising and graphic arts with photography a passionate hobby.

The excellent front of book illustrated essay by Bob Shamis explores Levinstein's life in New York during the late forties and into the fifties. (very little seems to be known about his early years). He was influenced by Alexey Brodovitch and especially Sid Grossman of the Photo League.

The book's front cover photo of a man's back, taken at Coney Island in 1955, is so typical of Levinstein's style. Page after page of body parts full of detail and tension, a favourite are close-ups of people's hands behind their back, or just legs of people at Coney Island, or faces of people looking elsewhere rather than the camera. What I really liked about the book is the sequencing of the photos as you turn the pages and it really makes the images work for the viewer. Most are from New York during the fifties to the eighties. Levinstein was a regular traveller and there are a photos taken in London, New Orleans, Los angles, Paris, Mexico and nine in Haiti.

The book is an excellent production (175 screen on a cream matt art) with one photo per page and it will reveal Levinstein's personal style of photography to a wider audience.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2015 2:11 AM PDT


A Logo for London
A Logo for London
by David Lawrence
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from $9.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Riding the logo, June 28, 2015
This review is from: A Logo for London (Hardcover)
Published in 2000 this book joins an expanding collection of titles that look at the visual aspects of London Transport over the decades. Author David Lawrence takes a more focused view by closely looking historically at the way LT used their logos based on the famous roundel and horizontal bar. Its not obvious until you look through the pages that there were so many variations, each form of transport -- trolleybus, tram, buses and Green Line -- had their own logo and this was just surface transport, the Underground added more.

By the thirties the basic logo was well recognised and non-transport companies borrowed the idea, page forty-eight has one for Northmet who generated electricity for trams and homes in north London and beyond. Page fifty-one shows five designs by Hans Schleger minus any lettering in the horizontal bar. By the late eighties the roundel had a formal appearance that lasted into the new century: a red circle, white inside and a dark blue band with Edward Johnson's type in white.

The book is full of color illustrations (especially logos) with black and white photos, pleasantly designed and in an almost square format. A slight error on the Contents page, someone left out the page numbers to the seven chapters.

*David Lawrence has revised and expanded the book for a new edition with 176 pages (ISBN 9781780672960)
Comment Comment | Permalink


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5.0 out of 5 stars Give them a pull, June 23, 2015
I thought maybe these small cylinder magnets might work on our glass magnetic board but apparently not. The nice lady at the marketing company who handles the sellers account said they are N35 and not the top grade N52 type. Of course, use them anywhere else and they work a treat though being quite small two side by side are best to hold cardboard or several sheets of paper to a magnetic wall board or refrigerator.

I did discover an additional use for them: as a toy. The packet rightly says keep them away from the under fives but my eight year old grandson enjoyed playing with them on a table, making various shapes and watching them automatically swing back into a straight line. A simple but effective plaything.


The Color Black (German and English Edition)
The Color Black (German and English Edition)
by Katrin Trautwein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $88.64
31 used & new from $28.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take it black, June 2, 2015
Color expert Katrin Trautwin has written an intriguing book (actually two sections in a slipcase) about black and color, it's primarily aimed at architects and interior designers. She writes about the different blacks and in particular Ivory Black made from charred animal bones. Because this is expensive the commercial mixing industry uses carbon black for paints, printing inks, plastics et cetera but this can't offer a really solid velvety black.

The nine essays and lists in the book analyse color used by architects, especially Le Corbusier who, with Amedee Ozenfant in the 1920s, used their theories for colors inside Modernist houses. They thought specific pigment mixtures, always natural ones, could influence how space is perceived. Color could help in four functional ways: Atmospheric; Constructive; Dynamic; Decorative. The book quotes the Decorative function using glazes, patterned wallpapers, mural and tapestries as helping to modify the appearances of surfaces within three-dimensional structures.

I mentioned that the book is in two parts. One has the essays (in English and German) and the other has twenty-four color samples which fit inside the second book's pocket. These samples, roughly 10.75 by 9 inches, are very impressive to look at and feel. To get really solid, deep color they have been screen printed on white card. There are sixteen shades of black only using Ivory Black for printing. Sheet eight is just called Black, a lovely solid, velvety color, the other fifteen are equally strong and powerful but have tinges of red, blue, purple, green and brown yet compared to the other color sample sheets anyone would say they are all black. Ultramarine blue, Champagne white, Deep red and Gold bronze plus four greys make up the eight other sheets in the set. Incidentally because these sample sheets are screened with rich, solid colors they need to be handled carefully because they will show up any marks made on the surface.

The first book has some interesting color theories and their practical uses but it was the richness of the screen-printed samples in the second book that made it all come alive for me.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2015 10:19 AM PDT


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