Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Paul Arden's switched publishers, from Phaidon to Penguin for his new book: Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite.

Known for art and photography books, Phaidon's book designs tend to be better and more slick. That was part of the appeal of his first book It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be.

That book is great for raising downtrodden spirits, and I picked up the second based on the strength of the first. Yes, even though Penguin chose to publish the covers in unfinished heavy paper, which looks dull and stains easily. The paper used in the book also smells awful, and the book's a lot more expensive than his first one.

Once you get past the physical flaws, Whatever You Think has an even stronger rah-rah effect than its predecessor, part of which is probably because it's a more internally consistent work. I thought one of the (very) minor flaws of It's Not How Good You Are was that the little snippets that comprise the book were a bit disjointed, ranging from abstract inspirational bites to tidbits of practical advertising advice. The stories in Whatever You Think have a more evenly irreverent, defiant tone.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

My life is turning into a Woody Allen movie, one of his earlier ones. If only I could be as prolific as he.

Monday, February 20, 2006

New Murakami Haruki short story in the New Yorker: A Shinagawa Monkey

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Museum Shop has a line of coasters based on the old Early Ship series of stamps issued here in 1980. These stamps were a ubiquitous sight on almost all mail during the 80's, particularly the Fujian Junk one (15c) because that was how much it cost to send a standard letter back then.

The coasters are simple: the stamp design enlarged and printed on a plain white tile, with a sheet of cork stuck on the bottom. At $5 a piece, they're affordable.

I've always thought the designs were very appealing. Clean, crisp line drawings with minimal colouring and Helvetica typeface. The photo taken with my dinky Palm doesn't do it justice at all.

The Banyan Tree should consider selling a set of coasters containing each stamp from the Ship series.